WHILE bossa nova tracks stream through the speakers, a gentle breeze makes the leaves in the trees quiver ever so slightly.
Before you is a view of Cebu City, its lights twinkling like jewels in the night sky.
Now Cebuanos can relax with a drink or two in a classy al fresco setting thanks to Bellini, a champagne and lounge bar nestled in Nivel Hills, Lahug.
No eardrum-splitting decibels here. Music at Bellini is moderated well enough for guests to hold a decent conversation.
“We want to introduce an alternative to (Cebu’s) existing night life. I want to offer something more elegant,” says owner and restaurateur Marco Anzani.
Rattan furniture by Dedon provides comfortable yet sophisticated seating.
The soft glow from planters with built-in lighting adds warmth to the place. To pay tribute to one of the bar’s namesakes, replicas of Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini are displayed on panels inside the bar.
First-time guests can take out the guesswork of what’s best to order from the drinks menu. Just leave it to their trusty bartenders to mix up a welcome drink for you, which depend on what they think the guest will like.
Fruit-based drinks are a go-to for the ladies, like the pineapple mocktail, a concoction made of watermelon, pineapple and grenadine. For a drink with stronger kick, try their mojito. But if you want their in-house specialty, go for their signature drink aptly named Bellini, a combination of peach juice and sparkling wine.
Former Shangri-La chef Marco Anzani owns the bar (as well as his eponymous Mediterranean restaurant nearby), so expect their food offering to step up to the plate. Bellini’s menu, described as “New World Cuisine,” consists of finger food like fried squid, samosas, pizzas and mini-burgers, to name a few.
Their samosas are like a study of contrasts, with the velvety texture of potatoes melding with the crunchiness of the golden brown crust.
Their flatbread pizza, on the other hand, is a unique take on a standard fare. Ribbon-thin slices of parma ham leave a delicate saltiness in the palate, its quaint savory mouth feel disappearing as soon as you taste it for the first time and alas, only piques your appetite for a second slice.
At Bellini, the elements of food, drinks and ambiance combine to make up one hang out that’s tres chic.