Within a bustling collection of cafes, bars and restaurants, Newtown can understandably be a challenging place to find parking. So staying true to the three golden rules of property investment – Location, Location, Location, Cuckoo Callay, has selected a prime location opposite Newtown Station, positioned close enough to the busy King St while also capturing the lucrative traffic flow of caffeine starved train commuters.
Cuckoo Callay is the collaborative project of owners, Ibby and Ella, who in themselves, have an interesting story to tell. Both immigrants to Australia, Ibby from Lebanon, came to Oz to study nursing and Ella, from the UK, landed in the country as part of a world wide trip. The two met, fell in love and conceived what we know today as Cuckoo Callay.
Starting off with the caffeine, Single Origin is the bean of choice and they offer a choice of several different methods of brewing. Chemex (pictured above right) “uses the infusion method resulting in a slower brew and a richer cup of coffee”. Not my cup of tea so to speak but I’m not usually a fan of slow drip and prefer the creamier boost that milk provides.
Moving on to the food, Cuckoo Callay change their menus bi annually and in the last few months, the cycle has ticked over to a new one. This menu is full of fun names like YOLO Granola and ROFL Waffle and interesting creations like the House made Bacon Ice Cream or the Yogurt & Honey Pannacotta. The menu is so creative, they accommodate for dogs by having house made dog treats and even a pupacino (puppy cappuccino). This would be what I would call, to steal Brandon’s term, a “Grand Slam of menus“, minus the dog treats. I struggle to make a decision. I want everything this menu has to offer but in the end, we settle for these three dishes:
“Rolling with my Homies” – This was a bacon overload but exactly what I was in the mood for. It was the first time I’d seen a sausage cooked this way; sliced at intervals and shaped in a U, allowing for several charred, crispy ends while being appropriately contoured for a burger bun. The double smoked bacon was extremely crispy as it should be, the brioche, sweet and there was a spicy dressing that resonated on my tongue for a few minutes after I finished.
Yogurta be kidding – Beautifully presented, the standout here was the rich, creaminess of the cauliflower shining through a deep Arabic flavour of the dukkah.
ROFL Waffle – It’s not everyday you see pulled duck on a menu or a sweet potato waffle for that matter. The pulled duck suited the waffle well, which although not overly crunchy, held enough shape to complement the tender texture of the meat while building on the flavour. I’ve been cooking with sweet potato a lot recently so I understand the difficulty of getting a crunchy coating. This was a stand out dish and my personal favourite.
Cuckoo Callay also serves Nutella shakes. We were in a hurry so had to get one takeaway (hence the lousy photo) but if you get a chance, order the dine in version, it looks far more impressive. It tasted, surprise, surprise, like Nutella, in liquid form. It would have been better if the consistency was more thick shake than milk shake but it still tasted great nonetheless. Word of warning though, it is very rich so I’d say, best shared between two or three people.
We visited on a Sunday morning and the service was noticeably slow, although admittedly, it was a packed house. As a consolation, the waitresses were friendly, making the long wait times more bearable. They checked in on us from time to time and assured us our food was coming soon.
Overall, I loved the fun and exciting brunch menu, the vibrant and enthusiastic environment and the relaxing atmosphere. If you can get a seat outside, it makes a great place for people watching. I’ve shortlisted Cuckoo Callay as one of my favourite brunch venues in Sydney and am making it a point to return to “Grand Slam” this menu before they change it.
Newtown Railway station, 324A King St, Newtown
Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney