Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bella Gelateria @ Yaletown

August 27, 2014

Brief Note from J
A huge thank you to James and Yvonne for the invite to cover the Bella Yaletown media grand opening tonight. The newest branch to the Bella family is for sure a hottie (pics on the location below the pics of the food). I was most pleased to try the HUGE variety of pizza, gelatinis, gelato and desserts, and despite my best efforts, had to let some go; I can assure y'all it was not for the lack of trying. 

Also, a big thank you to all the Bella staff who were most pleasant and well-organized, ensuring that there was always food and drink at the ready for everyone in the house, whilst cleaning up all the dirty napkins and dishes, Bella Yaletown was spotless from beginning to end of the event - hats off to the management on their training.

And a few numbers just to get us on the right mind set of what's on the review menu, I tried:

7 gelatinis 
7 pizzas
8 desserts
4 diff scoops of gelato

which all summed up into one fab night!

Yup, this is going to be a really long post.

James and the pizza crew

Thin crust pizzas, insanely thin, non-soggy in the least; individual assessments on flavor below, but all the crusts were the same. Bonus: for further details on the menu, eg. what DOP stands for, etc., check out the spec sheet after the pizza reviews - lots of quality ingredients used.

Bella: San Marzano (DOP) tomato filet, stracciatella, fresh arugula, EVOO oil & parmigiano-reggiano - 2

J's comment > not bad; admittedly, this one made it to the top of my list purely because of the chunk of stracciatella (AKA burrata, my absolute fav soft cheese) that was divinely soft and subtle, but flavorful at the same time, and either the pizza chef went easy on the parm or the burrata was that good that I didn't get much of the parm underneath it; mmm.... burrata.... :D; personally, I would love more burrata to just spread across the pizza completely; named 'Bella', this is definitely the signature of the house on just the burrata alone

Quattro Formaggi: Fior di latte, ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano & gorgonzola - 2

J's comment > not bad; very cheesy as the name suggests; definitely got the pungent flavors of the gorgonzola in harmony w the sharpness of the parmigiano, w the blended texture of the fior di latte & ricotta; FYI, in case this isn't obvious, this is a tomato-less pizza, which somehow fares better for me than a cheese-less pizza (see below)

Margherita: San Marzano (DOP) tomatoes, fior di latte, parmigiano-reggiano, EVOO & fresh basil - 2

J's comment > personally, would have liked more cheese, but a decent margherita

Ripieno: San Marzano (DOP) tomatoes, fresh ricotta, salame Napoli, peppers, parmigiano-reggiano, fior di latte, EVOO & basil - 2

J's comment > salami flavors present, not too strong actually, but slightly overshadows the cheese flavors; FYI, I got a piece without the basil, hence the MIA

Completa: Fior di latte, prosciutto crudo, arugula, parmigiano-reggiano & EVOO - 2

J's comment > surprisingly cheesier than it looks, would have liked a tad more prosciutto though; thankfully (for me), arugula wasn't too much; another tomato-less pizza

Marinara: San Marzano (DOP) tomatoes, fresh oregano, fresh garlic & EVOO - 2

J's comment > a cheese-less pizza; sorry, it just sounds wrong and there was definitely 'something' missing like, I dunno, cheese?; crust just as good, but I'm leaving this one for the lactose-intolerant folks

Diavola: San Marzano (DOP) tomatoes, spicy salami, fior di latte, EVOO, piccante, fresh basil & parmigiano-reggiano - 2

J's comment > OK, this one had cheese and meat but was spicy as advertised 
(tad too spicy for me), hence my least fav of the bunch

Nods to wearing the 'cafeteria-lady cap'. Food safety is serious business here!

Flip, flip, flip. Seriously, pizza after pizza came out of the oven non-stop!

Whee... let's toss some pizza dough cause, well, why not? It's a party isn't it?

The pizza 'dressing room'

Pizza Menu

Chocolate crunch cookie w earl grey gelato - 2

J's comment > not bad; 'crunch' is the key word here, this was almost too hard of a cookie, but I like my cookies crunchy, and earl grey being one of my fav flavors, this was a no brainer win of the bunch

Peanut butter cookie w black sesame gelato - 2

J's comment > this cookie's texture was the softest of the three sampled, and as per above, the softer the cookie, the lower the score on my sheet, but the flavors were decent; pb was there as advertised, and almost melded w the black sesame seamlessly; a surprisingly good combo

Ginger snap cookie w chocolate gelato - 2

J's comment > not a fan of the ginger, and boy did this cookie have ginger in abundance!

Mango semi-freddo - 2

J's comment > creamy w a hint of the icicle-ness that is expected of a semi-freddo, top marks on the texture front; flavor though, could definitely use more mango for a bolder flavor

Sampling of the Vintner's Choice: Cassis port mousse w dark chocolate - 2

J's comment > very chocolate-y, ratio of the chocolate to the port mousse slightly off (in the pic of the pastry case you can see that proportionately there's a lot more mousse than chocolate, but it's almost double the amt of what the right portion of chocolate on this spoon should be)

Gelato macarons - 2

J's comment > slightly hard macarons (well they are frozen after all to keep the gelato in solid form) and slightly chewy, but advertised flavors were present

A pretty chocolate decorated plate. For practice. Seriously.

Rad (one of the pastry chefs) in the midst of creation, so chill you'd think he wasn't being watched on by 100+ people.

Proud papa of a practice piece.
(/J pat's herself on the back for that alliteration she came up with on the spot)

Lemon Pimm's Isola: Lemon sorbetto in a chilled blend of Pimm's Number 1 Cup & ginger liqueur furiously stirred w cucumber & mint, then topped w a measure of Fentiman's Ginger Beer - 2+

J's comment > an excellent blend of flavors; the lemon paired seamlessly into the pimm's, neither striving to outshine the other, both working in perfect cohesion; as a bonus for me, I didn't get much of the ginger; definitely refreshing as suggested in the description

Black Sesame Chai: Infused fine bourbon w Indian chai spices w black sesame gelato - 2

J's comment > not bad; I liked this more when the gelato melts and is then mixed in well w the bourbon, although at this point, it becomes about 70% black sesame gelato & 30% bourbon instead of the 50/50 perfection I got from the Lemon Pimm's Isola; of course, you'd have to practice patience and wait for it to melt... or you could speed things up by stirring;

anyhoos, on the contrary, if you're not into waiting or stirring, the flavors are slightly contrasting, w the bourbon strong (wow, it sure packed a punch! Bella doesn't skimp on its booze I tell ya) and the black sesame flavor not quite infused yet

Buko Bird: Buko Pandan gelato flavored w coconut & screw-pine leaves, w Bird's Eye Chili-infused vodka, ginger liqueur, fresh lime juice, cilantro & a kaffir lime leaf - 2

J's comment > decent pandan flavor (an inherently subtle flavor, so James definitely tried hard on this one to get that flavor out) that worked well w the liqueur; liqueur flavors not too strong even without the gelato fully stirred in; not spicy at all even though the menu suggested otherwise

Saffron Persia: Akbar Mashti gelato w gin & apricot liqueur & garnished w saffron in syrup - 2

J's comment > not too sweet as I feared; stronger akbar mashti gelato flavor than the liqueur

Cherry Bomb: Amarena cherry gelato blended into Jameson's Irish whiskey & Disaronno Amaretto w reduction of Dubonnet & balsamic vinegar, w salted hazelnut gelato & a kirsh-soaked cherry - 2

J's comment > strong cherry notes w a dash of whiskey; actually got a trace of the balsamic vinegar which wasn't unpleasant as I thought it might be

Wild Evita: Salted caramel gelato w Auchentoshan scotch & a pinch of powdered espresso beans - 2

J's comment > like the black sesame gelato, you definitely needed to stir the entire gelato in to get the full impact, but unlike the black sesame version, this version just didn't meld as well; after stirring, it was still gelato and scotch, and not GsEcLoAtTcOh as wanted

Matcha Smash: Matcha green tea gelato w vodka & a touch of herbal Chartreuse - 1

J's comment > the saddest gelatini on my tray :(; really strong lemon flavor that overtook the matcha completely; no, it wasn't the Chartreuse I mistook this flavor for, the lemon was inside the matcha gelato (I made sure to try the gelatos before mixing); I think the bartender might have gotten a bit too happy squeezing lemons...; gelatini flavor before and after mixing in the gelato was both strongly lemon-scented

J's take on the Gelatinis
Except for the Lemon Pimm's Isola, the intended flavors of the gelatinis were best when all the gelato was thoroughly mixed in with the liqueur, but that required either a) waiting (so perfect if you're out to hang out and kill time), or b) stir it up and drink it on the spot if you're in a hurry (but then you really shouldn't). Unless you're like me, and had to down these in succession to get to the next item being passed around. j/k! well... ☺

Gelatini Menu

Gelato - 2

J's comment > not bad; as is Bella's signature, all gelatos were creamy yet not heavy nor too sweet, definitely hit the pozzetti mark bang on (see spec sheet below); flavors in my bowl (liked them all equally enough) were Banana Bread by Erin Ireland, Lavender & Earl Grey tea, Torroncino and Akbar Mashti; truly, all were of good quality, and the only difference in choice would be what you feel like licking up at the moment. ;)

Gelato menu board (changes all the time though)

The low-down on Bella's Gelato

The Location
"Noi lo facciamo davanti a tutti"


"We do it in front of everyone"
(according to Google Translate)

The Cattabriga Effe mixers (see the spec sheet under 'Gelato' above if you'd like more info)

The Bella Yaletown location can technically hold 80 seats. More if you stack your group. ;P

The pastry case and a group shot of all the gelatinis in the bottom row

Gelato bar (before the crowd swooped in)

Gelato bar (after the crowd sniffed out the source of the gelatinis)

What a full house looks like @ Bella Yaletown

More specs on the location

James' gelato resume (as if he needs one...) 

Bella Gelateria on Urbanspoon

Labels: event, gelato, yaletown

No comments: