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Published July 17th 2020
Is it hip or hippie?
Japanese chefs have settled into Bellingen to make some real magic in this unique cafe and bar housed in a beautiful old wooden-clad two-storey building. Once a Freemason building with a long history, Qudo sits at the top end of Hyde Street as it becomes Waterfall Way. As you'll see, Qudo is beautiful, rustic, and peaceful. The delicious food and drink make it even more magical.
There's fresh and delicious sushi rolls like hosomaki and medium rolls. There's nigiri and sashimi for the raw fish fans, beautiful salads, and hot dishes like beef curry, teriyaki, tempura bowls and burgers. There's also plenty of tofu selections for vegans and vegetarians.
On our visit, we arrived early – around 5pm – and the place was already nearly packed! It's outside dining only at the moment, so it's best to get in before sunset to enjoy the views. We ordered cooked tuna sushi and a bowl of chips for the kids and miso soup, edamame, chicken karaage and sashimi for us adults.
The cooked tuna sushi is served inside out style and it's rich with an almost smoky flavour. The kid's chips come with a large serve of yummy aioli on the side and will keep them happy, so you can enjoy the more interesting dishes.
The sashimi salmon nigiri and seared salmon nigiri are both excellent morsels. Temperature and presentation are everything with sashimi and nigiri; the selection and presentation of sashimi at Qudo is close to perfect. The karaage chicken is juicy and oh so crispy - the best I've ever tasted. The side salad is doused in zingy sesame dressing and the white rice is the perfect foil to the rich chicken. Lovely dollops of wasabi and flakes of ginger adorn the sushi plates to liven things up if you like.
There's a limited selection of drinks at Qudo but enough for everyone to find something suitable. Obviously there's a focus on sake (you can get a tasting paddle of three different kinds of sake for a reasonable price) and there's Japanese beer alongside some Australian beers and wines. There's also soft drinks, water, and organic juices.
The menu might be a little limited as is the drinks list, but that's not what Qudo is about. It's about living up to a sustainable local gourmet ethos and focusing on what it does best. The service is fast and the staff are very friendly and authentic.