Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
Are you ready to pig out at this year's Bacon Festival?
There's a Bacon Festival coming to Sydney, and it's brought to you by none other than the team behind Cuckoo Callay. For those who are frequent patrons of Newtown Station, I am sure you have noticed this quirky little cafe and perhaps been a customer yourself. For those who haven't heard of Cuckoo Callay, I am glad to tell you that you have now discovered a hidden gem. Just take a look at its menu and tell me if none of the creatively named dishes took your fancy.
Despite its name and logo of a bird, Cuckoo Callay stands out for its bacon-inspired dishes. Cuckoo Callay's 12-week Bacon Festival returns for the 3rd time this year to support and promote locally grown and cured bacon, with 9 amazingly crafted dishes. In a nod to film festivals, these limited edition dishes are cleverly named (with piggy twists) after iconic films.
We were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to sample these dishes at the pre-launch event. Below is a review of these dishes (try to guess which one is my favourite!):
Frankenswine These bacon mozzarella sticks with Dorito crumb were crunchy on the outside and cheesy on the inside. Pair it with the spicy dipping sauce for some extra kick and gherkins for contrast in flavour. This crowd pleaser will be a great plate to share amongst friends.
Black Swine Ooh la la! I know what you are thinking, mac and cheese for breakfast? This bowl of cheesy pasta goodness is not only topped with strips of bacon, it is also resting on a bed of fries. While it may appear heavy, it was highly raved around the table and everyone was going back for seconds or thirds.
Silence of the Hams I was first up impressed by how beautiful this dish looked. The silky pea puree, which was resting on top of the ham hock & vintage cheese croquette, was the highlight for me. Packed full of flavour, I was left desiring more. The mustard and cauliflower piccalilli was a nice touch for a meat-heavy dish, and the crispy bacon and 63° poached egg completed the breakfast experience for me.
Reservoir Hogs Another unconventional dish - bacon wrapped breakfast burrito with pork chilli, black beans, American cheese, avocado salsa and sour cream. Fans of burrito, this is one you should try and brag to friends about, especially if you love cheese oozing out the side of your burrito.
Slumhog Millionaire For those looking for a burger with a high meat to bun ratio, this is it! Between the charcoal brioche bun are onion rings, slaw, double smoked bacon and BBQ pulled pork drizzled with chipotle and cheddar cheese, served with a side of tortilla chips.
Technically bacon-less, this dish is great for those looking for a healthier and more balanced option. The tender pork belly takes centre stage in this dish, alongside a refreshing serve of apple pickle and fennel salad, complemented by some sticky chilli and fennel seed sauce and Granny Smith apple puree.
Some Like it Hog No meal is complete without dessert. Here we have some peanut butter and bacon stuffed French toast, topped with slices of bananas, bacon crumbs, served with a side of banana, bacon and bourbon ice cream. This dish can be eaten on its own for breakfast or brunch, but I think it's best shared among friends.
There are 2 other dishes on the Bacon Festival menu that we didn't sample but look equally amazing as the other dishes.
Close Encounters of the Bacon Rind
Bacon steak, maple bacon, double smoked bacon, bacon sausage and two poached eggs on sourdough - this sounds like bacon overload for me but I have no doubt a die-hard bacon fan would love this (and no one said calories can't be shared)!.
Bacon Mac Daddy
This was apparently last year's most popular dish! Definitely sounds like it's qualified for the foodie bucket list - double smoked bacon, bacon mac 'n' cheese, 63° poached egg, tomato relish & fried shallots in a croissant. Yum!
To top off this experience, we were privileged to sample 2 of the most mind blowing drinks I ever had (with bacon of course). They were too pretty to look at, let alone drink. The first one was a banana milkshake, with whipped cream on top and salted caramel around the side, finishing off with a bacon skewer and some divine cookies.
Then comes the most extraordinary hot chocolate I ever had - rich creamy hot chocolate, topped with a thick layer of foamy toasted marshmallow, cookie crumbs on the side, and the most amazing salted peanut butter as you sip through to the bottom of the glass. Who knew hot chocolate and peanut butter are such a match made in heaven?