The Bellbowrie Tavern opened just a few weeks ago, filling a gap in the restaurant market in the area south west of the city.
The Graziers Steakhouse is a busy family restaurant with a kids play area to distract the under-10s and give them an appetite! Like many pub bistros, you order at the counter where signature steaks are displayed in a refrigerated cabinet.
The Bellbowrie is part of the ALH chain but each pub employs qualified chefs who prepare and cook all the dishes on-site fresh every day. A good range of starters include Lime and Chilli Calamari ($14.90) – a generous serve, marinated and flash fried, ours were a little tough but with a good spicy flavour. The Duck and Plum Spring Rolls are crisp with a smoky duck flavour.
The mains include salads, seafood and a range of chicken schnitzels with a selection of different toppings. But, of course, as a steakhouse, meat rules. The pick is the Dry Aged Rib Eye on the bone ($39). Dry aging is generally only offered at premium restaurants due to the time (eight weeks or more) and loss of weight (up to 40 per cent) – but the process is worth it, tenderising the meat and intensifying the flavour. My steak, cooked medium rare, was soft, juicy and very tender with a rich nutty beef flavour. All steaks come with a reasonable Caesar salad, a choice of sauces and a choice of chips or a Bell Spud – a hollowed-out potato filled with sour cream mashed potato and topped with cheese.
The Prime Rib is also a specialty – rubbed with spices and cooked slowly at a low temperature for 12 hours, this steak is incredibly tender although perhaps a little spongy but with a good light spicy flavour.
There are nine different ice creams offered for dessert (from $2.60) or a small range of cakes ($6.50 with coffee).
The menu includes a sensible kids menu and a great-value seniors menu. There is a good wine list, with most available by the glass, and there is a courtesy bus for locals. A great venue for families to get together over a hearty meal.
Declaration: Jeremy Ryland is employed by ALH, the owners of Bellbowrie Tavern, but his visit for this review was taken before his employment.