Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet talks us through the current menu at the restaurant and her favourite summer ingredients.
What are the eats at Bellota all about, Danielle?
It's pretty classic bistro-style food. The restaurant is attached to the Prince Wine Store, one of the biggest importers of European and Californian fine wines in Australia, so it's definitely about food-and-wine matching. We serve a fairly simple seasonal produce-driven menu, and we have a charcuterie cabinet stocked with artisanal salumi and cheese.
Is there a standout dish on the menu at the moment?
The grilled octopus and longaniza oscura, made by La Boqueria, a Sydney artisanal Spanish charcutería. The longaniza is a sausage made with pork and squid ink; it's black and sweet and delicious. We serve it thinly sliced with kipfler potatoes, pickled Spanish chillies called guindillas, and a little pounded fennel and parsley dressing. It's one of my davourite things on the menu and everyone loves it.
Do you have a favourite summer ingredient?
Summer is definitely about seafood. We have things like marron, scampi, yabbies - they're always amazing - and Batemans Bay oysters. I also love cooking whole fish. At the moment there are some pretty amazing sea bream and flounder around that are perfect for this.
You spent a few years working in Spain - how has this influenced your cooking?
I love Bellota because it reminds me of little Spanish bars. I remember going to the Boquería market in Barcelona and being amazed by the seafood and the jamóns hanging everywhere. In Spain they focus on really simple, classic food where the produce speaks for itself, and that's what we try to do at Bellota.
What's your go-to dish for a barbecue?
A really great fresh chorizo and a bottle of rosé from Ochota Barrels.
Bellota, 181 Bank St, South Melbourne, Vic, **(03) 9078 8381, bellota.com.au