At Belle's, timber tones give a retro feel to the space, which includes original 1950s Coles cafeteria booth seating. Large open windows make the venue almost at one with the street.
Helping personally redesign and build the former Dante’s site, with the aid of business partner Bridget Absalom-Wong and her husband, Pontonio aspires to create warmth and longevity.
The pair have a strong team, with Catriona Freeman (ex-Grace Darling and Panama Dining Room) running the kitchen and previous Madame Brussels front of house John-Anthony Chalker looking after the bar.
Offering a touch of old-school America, the menu is inspired by Freeman’s trips to New York and serves diner classics on top of fun specials.
The all-day eatery churns out bagels, clam chowder, southern fried chicken and a Wagyu beef Dinerr Burger (fans of Twin Peaks will get the reference). A host of salads, sides and a fried green tomato burger make this a vegetarian-friendly destination.
A small drinks list emphasises local wine and beer (including NZ), with boutique cocktails to be made alongside contemporary takes on the classics. The barista will work with Coffee Supreme’s South Blend.
With strong musical backgrounds amongst the team, staff will have input into what tunes are played.