1 Beach Street, Port Melbourne, VIC

Dani Valent, Reviewer


I've done a lot of dinners for one because I used to work as a guidebook writer, darting around the world, stopping only to check bus timetables and stuff my face.

Mostly, it was good. I enjoyed the Russian salad on a Bulgarian mountain. I wolfed the vegetarian thali in a Calcutta train station. I loved the pork po'boy in New Orleans, until I saw my barbecue sauce moustache two hours later. The conch fritters in the Caribbean were ace, but I wasn't so comfortable being the scungy spinster in a sea of pointing, whispering honeymooners. Turkey was also challenging: I couldn't order soup without it somehow translating into, "Yes, young man, I probably will go home with you if you ogle me long enough.".

Back home in Melbourne, I enjoy the odd meal out on my lonesome. A paperback makes fine conversation and it can be relaxing not having anyone you know bear witness to your order ("extra bearnaise, please"), your behaviour (spaghetti slurp-a-rama) or take the coveted last dumpling.

BelleZain is a good place to come as Scott Nofriends: it's relaxed and the food is pretty good. The restaurant is in the base of a flash apartment block, with the concrete and glass to prove it, but it's softened by cushions, linen and a dramatic flower arrangement. There's a staunch regular crowd, but ring-ins won't feel as if they're interrupting a clubby pow-wow. Tables are snug which makes for better eavesdropping and prevents solo diners from feeling marooned on a dining desert island. The best loner-friendly restaurants have something to look at: here it's the bay, the boat to Tassie and, in summer, beachy moochers and their pooches.

The menu is one of those easygoing all-day affairs with a mostly Italian skew: expect things such as whitebait, eggplant pizza, chicken saltimbocca and affogato. I started with a couple of oysters, causing something of a discombobulation when I asked what sort they were. The waiter asked a kitchen worker who looked taken aback then checked with the chef. "Tasmanian," was the eventual reply.

Anyway, the (Pacific) oysters I received were good, served with a citrus salsa. The lamb cutlets were prettily pink, but lacked flavour; cold onion jam piled on top battled with a flat-tasting dukkah. Much better was the layered pasta, a joyous loose lasagne with grilled eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and heaps of tomato sauce slathered over nice, thick pasta sheets. A bit of oven crispiness and crumbled cheese topped the dish off. I was very happy not to have to share it. The cinnamon chocolate mousse was properly fluffy and creamy; the berry compote that came with it was so fruity I could pretend it was healthy.

Apart from the oyster incident, service was fine. The waiter didn't raise an eyebrow when I asked for a table for one. My food came quickly, though not so fast that I thought they were trying to get rid of me.

I think I did notice a flicker in the brow region when I ordered tiramisu to take home and I almost blurted out that it was for somebody else, that they mustn't imagine me gobbling it in front of Australia's Next Top Model. But I bit my tongue. Part of the joy of eating alone is that you don't have to answer to anyone, especially when their questions are imaginary.

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

1 Beach Street, Port Melbourne, VIC

  • 03 9646 6706
  • Cuisine - Modern Australian
  • Prices - Entrees $7-$13, pizzas $12-$22, mains $17-$34, desserts $9-$11
  • Cards accepted - Visa, EFTPOS, AMEX, Mastercard, Diners Club
  • Opening Hours - Tuesday to Friday, 11.30am-10pm Saturday and Sunday, 9am-10.30pm
  • Author - Dani Valent, Reviewer
Close map

Similar Restaurants

The Graham

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (16)
City Tiler

City Tiler

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (30)


Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants in Sydney

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:


SMEG's induction cooktops feature progressive technology with pure white style.