Bess Richmond

Note: Bess Richmond has closed and has been replaced by a branch of the Meatball and Wine bar.
Everyone needs a good local restaurant.  It needs to be the type of place that is a short walk or drive away and you can turn up without a reservation with a good chance of getting a table.  It can’t be too expensive so that it doesn’t have to be a special occasion to head there.  Since moving to Richmond two months ago that place for me has been Bess.

Angel hair pasta with seafood at Bess

The restaurant is housed in an old bank building on Swan street and the wicker chairs and blue awnings give it the air of a Parisian bistro.  Admittedly the view from the outside tables of Dimmey’s is not quite the same as The Avenue des Champs-Élysées  but the French would be quite happy with the food served up at Bess.

Like all good restaurants Bess uses produce that is locally and ethically sourced as much as possible and also has an emphasis on small producers.  To start, the oysters ($3.50 each) were spankingly fresh and served with a shallot sauce.  Croquettes made of salted cod ($9) were savoury but creamy at the same time and a dollop of sauce gribiche added some tang.

Blue eye fillet at Bess

Hand made angel hair pasta ($25) was doused with garlic and olive oil and came with generous amounts of crab and mussels.  It was a decadent but still delicious dish.   A little more virtuous a fillet of blue eye fillet ($27) was plump with a crisp skin and was served with carrots and baby fennel.

If you are looking for something more casual Bess also offers hotdogs out of its side window at $8.50 a pop.  The drinks list is brief but I was excited to find Veuve Ambal ($9) a truly lovely French sparkling wine.  Bess is a charming restaurant where the food is impressive but fuss free.  Lucky locals.

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Details: Bess, 105 Swan Street Richmond (Ph 03 9428 5999) Open Mon – Sun 12 midday – late.  
Damage: Pricey $110.50 for two.  

Bess Richmond on Urbanspoon


  1. Can’t beat good fresh seafood although getting into that crab between forkfuls of pasta looks a tad tricky!

  2. Andi – They were

    Helen – You had to work for it that’s for sure but it was worth it.

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