Burleigh’s beautiful speakeasy La Bella Cellar back with fine dining focus

When La Bella Cellar first opened in 2020, nabbing a seat was quite the challenge – the tiny 26-seater was booked to capacity almost nightly. For the last little while, however, La Bella Cellar’s beautiful timber door remained closed, providing nothing more than a pretty backdrop for photos as people passed by.

Oct 06, 2023, updated Oct 06, 2023

Now, at long last, the quaint venue has reopened with a fresh new culinary team at the helm which has reimagined the wine-centric bar to deliver a focus on elevated dining. From crab and caviar to melt-in-your-mouth beef short ribs, here’s what you can expect at the new La Bella Cellar.

Those who previously ventured through the striking entryway at La Bella Cellar will be pleased to know that visually, the venue remains the same. Venetian rendered walls are still  framed by a narrow cacti garden running the length of the space alongside a scattering of high and low tables, but that’s where the similarities end.

While the original iteration focused on fare that didn’t require extensive cooking equipment (think charcuterie and light bites), the venue’s new owner has invested in furnishing the tiny kitchen space with all of the gear necessary to deliver an elevated dining experience.

Although the term ‘fine dining’ can conjure notions of stuffiness, let’s get one thing clear – La Bella Cellar is the antithesis of that. Spirited and lively, the cavernous space reverberates with music and animated conversations. Logan (Justin Lane, Garden Kitchen & Bar and La Luna Dining), who helms the front of house, personally presides over the booze list, which opens with a clutch of signature cocktails such as a peanut butter espresso martini (laced with peanut butter whisky), and the dramatic Hazy Hibiscus, which arrives at your table under a smokey cloche.

Wine lovers will be tempted with a selection of drops from Australia, Italy and France, while those who prefer spirits are equally as well catered for with a selection of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whisky and bourbon.

When it comes to the menu, La Bella Cellar’s new culinary direction is spearheaded by hatted-chef Raffaele. The succinct offering spans the globe, with light bites of K’Gari spanner crab and caviar sitting pretty next to tuna yakitori bathed in a soy-mirin glaze and Jamaican-inspired jerk chicken with corn zabaglione and roast okra. The beef short ribs with burnt-butter gnocchi has been an early stand-out, which is not at all surprising when you discover they’ve been braised for 12-hours, taken off the bone, pressed overnight and reconstructed back on the bone.

What you’re left with, Raff tells us, is pure beef rib with no mess. Underpinning (almost) the entire menu is a natural lumpwood charcoal hibachi, which infuses the fare with a seductive hint of smokiness. The menu is entirely seasonal, so there will always be something new and exciting to try. Raff has big plans for the menu, including a supper club as well as themed nights, where diners will enjoy a five to seven-course feast from a designated country.

La Bella Cellar is now open! Head to our Stumble Guide for booking details and opening times.

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