Restaurant review: Bellbird Dining + Bar
This is my second visit to Bellbird Dining + Bar located on the ground floor of the imposing Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Casula, South West of Sydney, since it was launched earlier this month, link here. It is fascinating to see how luscious the vegetable garden has become, some veggies have sprays of white and coloured flowers attracting hardworking bees which are vital for plant pollination. The surrounding foliage is denser and you can hear birds singing, oh yes, the abundance of bellbirds populating the riverside which the restaurant takes its name.
Hamish Ta-Mé, the CPAC Marketing Officer welcomed us and talked us through the historical background of CPAC, showed us some of the different exhibition spaces, the 321-seat theatre, graffiti towers, artists accommodation, and also talked about the exciting future plans for the Centre. Our tour culminated in the open dining space where we were introduced to Head Chef Federico Rekowski, who talked us through their day to day operation in the prep area of his kitchen. He showed us a basket full of newly picked vegetables, herbs and flowers from the garden, Bellbird currently harvest up to 65% of the menu ingredients, everything is prepared here including bread, pasta, sweets to name just a few. He also explained their growing partnership with local artisan food, wine and beer suppliers and the wider NSW regions creating a sustainable, environmentally friendly relationship.
The highlight of our visit to Bellbird Dining + Bar was to try some of the amazing creations by Federico. Looking at the 2 page menu, all dishes are under $18. You’ll find a great selection of Brekky, Lunch, Sides, Home Made Sweets and a Vegetarian Menu showcasing a blend of French, modern Asian and South American influences.
We started with a mixed of white and dark brown sourdough bread with accompanying soft butter, warm bread is always a nice touch to start a meal with.
Federico said, ‘we harvest these zucchini flowers every morning, if you leave them later in the day, they become soggy’, referring to the Zucchini flowers, filled with Willowbrae Goat cheese – $15. The plating definitely tempts all the senses, the zucchini flowers were beautifully arranged on top of pureed beetroot paint, they were delicate with a light crisp coating, preserving the structure of the flower and stem. The cheese stuffing maintains that individual taste only goat cheese can deliver, accentuate by the flavours of the edible flowers and contrasting beetroot.
If you love octopus or just curious about this particular seafood, make sure to try the WA octopus, cucumber, chimichurri with lime and ginger dressing – $18. Federico explains that some of the best octopus in Australia comes from Fremantle in Western Australia. The octopus is sous vide for 2 1/2 hours then chargrilled. This dish hits all the right spots, the octopus was glossy, tender and succulent, a dish that you will come back for more. The smooth consistency of the chimichurri sauce with lime and ginger was flavoursome, a perfect dressing for the greens, including the slightly seared apple cucumber which maintained its refreshing juices.
The final dish was the smoked Black Angus Sirloin from the Riverina District of NSW – $18. After a further 2-hrs of slow cooking, the meat drew a gasp as it arrived, neatly sliced and maintaining a subtle pink centre, it was so tender that it just melted in the mouth, best to eat it slowly, so you can savour the layers of flavours that come through. Served with horseradish, grilled asparagus and pickled onions. This dish was elegantly presented with all the elements carefully chosen to work together to make this dish a meat lovers delight.
Teas, Coffees and cold drinks are also available to order, and a selection of house made sweets to satisfy those end of meal cravings, double chocolate, orange almond and poppy seed muffins are $4, and everyone’s favourite, the custard tart for $3.
Bellbird Dining + Bar gives the option to sit inside or outside, the big window panels are foldable, increasing the outdoor feel and airiness, yet giving shade as we move on to the warmer months. We thoroughly enjoyed our superb meal, with the excellent presentation and outstanding value, CPAC well and truly deserves a visit.
Last words, this is very interesting and well worth sharing from the Bellbird Dining + Bar menu;
‘ Food choices have a big impact on our carbon footprint. At Bellbird we want to limit this impact. To design our menu, we only use Australian ingredients and most of them are sourced locally. This philosophy assures you that only consume food that is all at its peak and hasn’t travel for days before it gets to your plate. This would reduce our greenhouse emissions and provide us with the freshest ingredients.’
Bellbird Dining + Bar
Casula Power House, 1 Powerhouse Rd, Casula NSW 2170
Tel 02 9824 1121 9-3 pm Monday to Friday, 9-2.30 pm on Weekends |
Closed on public holidays | No reservations required
E_deliciou_S dined as guests.
*Image used with permission