Having been on both our hit lists for a while, Ms J and I headed to Belle’s Diner for a long overdue catch-up. Located on Gertrude St, it’s hard to miss the bright neon signage of this 1930s-styled American eatery. Arriving early on a weeknight, we secured one of the cute vintage booths along the front of the dining room (bar seating also available).
No malts on the menu unfortunately but the Mr Tommy Tromba Margarita received a thumbs up from Ms J.
Having consumed enough fried chicken burgers to last me a lifetime, I was convinced by our waitress to try a fried green tomato burger, served with a side of thin-cut fries dusted in Old Bay spice. The fried tomato was surprisingly tasty (and an American classic as I learned from Ms J); a thick slab of firm tomato coated in a thin, crispy crumb, the tart fruit rendered creamy by the cooking process but retaining some springiness that created an interesting texture overall. Topped with salad, cheese, caramelised onion and mayo, it was an appealing combination, although the brioche buns were too sweet for my liking.
For Ms J, the wagyu ‘Dinerr’ burger, also served with fries. The verdict; OK, but nothing amazing.
Several desserts were on offer that night, including a Rocky Road sundae and peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake, but we were keen for some good-old American pie. The sour cherry pie looked incredible, with a richly coloured filling, thin pastry and a pastry lattice top, served with vanilla ice cream. However, it was slightly bland; the filling needed more sweetness and the pastry was chewy and lacked flavour.
Key lime pie, on the other hand, was delicious. The filling was creamy and zippy and the pie crust soft and crumbly.
Overall, what we tried at Belle’s Diner was good but not stand-out. Don’t go expecting a cheap diner food. Prices are quite steep considering the serving sizes, up to $17.50 for a burger and fries and menu prices up to $25. On the other hand, the retro space has a cool, relaxed atmosphere for a casual dinner. I would recommend giving the fried tomato burger a go if you haven’t tried it before.