Bacon is one of those strange foods that is often placed on a heavenly pedestal; basically an edible form of happiness. To clarify, I would class it in with those other life forces of all that is good and holy (that is, chocolate and coffee), that get us through the daily grind and comfort us in our times of need.
While I do enjoy bacon as much as the next person, I always thought that maybe it was one of those slightly overrated foods. Think about the aroma of fresh, sizzling, bacon and then the taste. Do they measure up? Similarly with fresh ground coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE coffee. But the taste isn’t quite the same as the aroma. But I digress. And I think I’ve changed my mind in this case. Bacon’s gonna bac-bac-bac-bacon.
To pay homage to that wonderful, magical animal that gives us bacon, pork, ham and more, Cuckoo Callay in Newtown have launched their inaugural Bacon Festival. The Festival is bringing home ALL of the bacon, in ways you might not have even dreamed about.
And the best part? Local piggies! It is amazing to think that around two thirds of the pig we dig here in Australia is imported pork. And why import when we have such high quality hog right here in our own pastures? Cuckoo Callay are proudly supporting local, teaming up with Marrickville-based Black Forest Smokehouse to bring the fresh Aussie produce to their customers.
And I have to say that you can certainly taste the difference. When I found out I would be getting the chance to go taste the spoils of the Bacon Festival, I was pretty excited but also thought there might be the chance I would bring on a bacon-induced heart attack (in a good way). And despite consuming more bacon than is possibly recommended in one sitting, I was surprised to discover I felt fine and not too much like a little piggy afterwards.
If you love a little chicken and bacon action like me, I’d definitely recommend the Don’t Go Bacon My Heart ($19) burger. The tender, crispy popcorn chicken, beer candied bacon, tangy slaw and aioli all mesh together on a sweet brioche bun, a succulent mix that just works. While it may seem slightly steep considering it doesn’t come with chips, I’m of the opinion that you don’t need them in this case.
Another standout for me was Ya Bacon Me Crazy ($20), otherwise known as the deliciously salty-sweet culmination of buttermilk waffles, house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup, and chocolate-coated bourbon bacon (Stop it. Seriously.) To the uninitiated, it may seem strange, but it was pretty dang amazing. The ice cream had little chunks of bacon in it and was deliciously creamy and more-ish. Pair that with thick, fluffy waffles and more salty bacon and you’re in a mouth-watering, heavenly place. Plus chocolate-covered bourbon bacon speaks for itself, really. And it’s saying, “Eat Me!!!”
The Bacon, Get in Ma Belly ($20), (basically the phrase that summed up my lunch time) also known as pork belly, came recommended. It was served with sticky sweet chilli and fennel seed sauce and bacon, caper, coriander, and lime salad. The salad was fresh and had some zing, which complemented the tender, sweet and sticky pork belly chunks.
Drinks are also available on the Bacon Menu, with options like a Bloody Bacon Cuckootail ($14) or Shake ‘n’ Bacon ($9). The bacon milkshake was a more subtle bacon flavour that was slightly odd but definitely not unpleasant. Just nice, different, unusual.
As a sucker for puns, much to my delight the menu managed to ham up the piggy puns as much as possible. Ya Bacon Me Crazy, Don’t Go Bacon My Heart (I couldn’t if I fried); bacon and wordplay were enough to keep this little piggy happy.
The location and layout of Cuckoo Callay couldn’t be more ideal, and though it is small, it makes the most of the space it has. Handily located in the alley adjacent to the train station, it is the perfect spot to people watch or grab a coffee on the run to the station. And the coffee is good!
The Bacon Festival began on the 9th of February and runs for 12 weeks. Before pigs fly you should get some pork on your fork, stat!Cuckoo Callay 324 B, Newtown Train Station, Newtown NSW 2042 Phone: (02) 9557 7006 Website: www.cuckoo-callay.com.au
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Cuckoo Callay