Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney
After discovering Cuckoo Callay last year and also attending the Cuckoo Callay hosted Bacon Brewfest earlier this year, it was time for another visit to the Newtown gem to see the latest offerings on their new menu.
Cuckoo Callay changes their menu four times a year, one of which happens to be dedicated to the wonderful thing we know as bacon. #cuckooforbacon. Perusing the new Bacon Festival menu, I see a mix of old and new. There are familiar faces like George’s Gorgeous cousin, YOLO Granola and Ruebes in the moo. And also new dishes like the Fooled Pork Burger, Respeck Burger, My sweet valenswine and Bacon all the rules. All sound delicious and all staying true to the fun theme of bacon and clever food puns. It’s an impressive line up but more on that later.
Apart from the new menu, another change I notice is the coffee art. These guys have upped their game! It was good last time but now it’s just impressive.
Now, back to the food. In my opinion, it’s almost cheating using bacon in dishes because it’s just so tasty, it makes everything taste good. Which makes having it in every dish on the menu a genius move! What makes this menu legitimate is the way bacon is skillfully and creatively integrated into dishes to transform just a crispy rasher into something far tastier.
The taste test – Spot the bacon
Glazed twice cooked pork belly, bacon potato rosti, sour cherry sauce and chargrilled brocollini. Sour is something that goes with with pork belly (take green apple sauce for example) and sour cherries are a great supporting act to break the heaviness of the pork. The bacon potato rosti has the crispy shell that all good rostis should have while simultaneously bringing a balanced bacon flavour to the palate. I could eat the rosti all by itself. The only shortcoming was the crackling which I preferred a little crunchier but the flavours overall were fantastic.
My sweet valenswine. Carrot cake waffle, house made bacon and cinnamon ice cream, maple bacon, caramelised walnuts, fresh blueberries & freeze dried mandarin.
Looking at the ingredients, this was always going to be a winning dish. The highlights: subtle carrot cake flavours from the waffle, combination of bacon and cinnamon in the ice cream (who would have thought!), the hot bacon/waffle against the cold ice cream and the mixture of textures with the crunchy nuts
House made bacon ice cream, double smoked bacon, peanut butter mousse and salted peanut caramel served in a ‘cafe ish’ cinnamon sugared doughnut. Timing is everything. Even though this was a sweet dish, I ate it first to ensure the ice cream wasn’t melted by the time I got to it. And it was a home run! The sweet and savoury flavours go so well together and to top it all off, the cinnamon and sugar granules give it a sweet finish that lingers on the fingers & lips. The three dishes were all great but this one took the cake.
Cuckoo Callay had a strong showing the first time I visited but after another stellar meal, it’s clear the standards here are held at a very high level. So I’m crowning it in my books. This place has found a place on my favourites brunch list and will be a place I’ll be taking out of towners when they come visit.
The Bacon Festival menu continues from March to May 2016.
Newtown Railway station, 324A King St, Newtown