Every now and again, even the most social spots with good food need a change. Bentley Kitchen’s fresh new look and revamped menu is the result of great ideas teamed with a vision to please both loyal and new guests. FACT’s Shabana Adam revisits an old favourite to see if it still lives up to the hype…

Here’s a little fun fact for you; Bentley Kitchen – formerly known as Bentley Bistro & Bar – was THE first dining venue that FACT magazine reviewed way back in 2014. They didn’t do things by half then, and they certainly aren’t doing it now. Forever taking pedestrian ingredients to a whole new level of flamboyant, Bentley Kitchen’s food is still at the heart of its epicurean success, however, the venue and location have a lot to do with the restaurant’s popularity. Walk into the stylish interiors and you’ll find a chic, social space with cosy booth seating, large tables and even an inviting bar area – hello, after-work chills! There’s a beautiful al fresco veranda outdoors – the ideal place to soak in the winter sunshine and admire the waterfront setting.

We’re told that the brand new name, Bentley Kitchen, is more reflective of the restaurant’s sociable vibe, focus on great quality cuisine and contemporary venue. And in all honesty, it does feel a lot more laid-back and less intimidating. Admittedly, like many of our friends, we found the old menu to be a tad overpriced – delicious, but not very pocket-friendly. Hands up if you only came to Bentley for the burger? We’re guilty. The burger was the only REAL affordable daily grub that filled our tummies but didn’t break the bank, so it’s great to see that this is one area that was given attention. The new menu is still packed with the same famous Bentley Burger, and so many classic favourites alongside new delicacies, but there’s a difference; you now get the same quality food at a more reasonable price – what’s not to love?

The innovative new dishes come courtesy of talented Group Executive Chef Praba Manickam and feature a perfectly prepared selection of international flavours. On first view, the menu looks cleaner and more focused, split into small sections including To Start, Salads, Burgers & Homemade Pies, The Main Event, Sliders, Bao Buns & Tacos, Butcher To Grill, and Sides & Sauces. The blackboard highlights the daily specials and there’s a separate dessert menu.

We’d highly recommend to start off with the Wagyu Beef Cheek Croquette – pockets of slow braised wagyu cheek and mushroom with smoked sriracha mayo and compressed cucumber –it’s the perfect introduction to the creative approach the new menu offers. Equally satisfying is the Truffle Fried Mac-n- Cheese Arancini and Spanish Style Garlic Prawns – both crowd-pleasers at the table.  The Burrata Salad is deliciously creamy and comes on a bed of slow cooked puy lentils, heirloom baby tomatoes and a lush tomato and basil jam. Two mains tie for first place; the incredibly tender, fall-off-your-fork Wagyu Beef Cheek and every seafood lover’s dream, the Classic Lobster Thermidor.

Perhaps, the biggest surprise of all are the new sharing dishes that come in the form of lip-licking Bao Buns (the crispy chicken is divine), the sliders (the fried halloumi is palate-awakening) and the tacos (spicy shrimps all day, every day). Presentation points are sky high too as every dish that comes out to the table is fought over to capture the perfect picture for the ‘gram. For steak fans, we’d recommend the Rangers Valley 300 Days Black Onyx Rib Eye – cooked medium, it’s rich and juicy, and fills all of our carnivorous cravings. If you’re passing by just for drinks, you won’t be disappointed. Led by expert mixologist Iva, the beverage team has put together a sensational new drinks menu. Expect classic selections with a twist and vibrant cocktails inspired by global flavours and modern trends. The revival of Bentley Kitchen is testament to the saying: “Change is good” – well done, team!