First Look: Cuckoo Callay’s Bacon Festival returns to Newtown for 2017 (Sydney)

Bacon Festival returns for its third instalment from 14 March at Newtown’s Cuckoo Callay. Running for 12 weeks, the festival features nine bacon-focused dishes alongside the usual menu. Paying homage to film festivals, the naming of the dishes has been inspired by iconic films. Cuckoo Callay sources produce from NSW farms that follow sustainable and ethical methods, supporting local pork once more at this year’s Bacon Fest.

If mozzarella sticks on their own aren’t quite cutting it, take it to another level with Frankenswine: bacon wrapped mozzarella and a crunchy Dorito crumb that are deep fried to golden perfection. Dip these oozy sticks into a spicy sauce and offset them with a couple of pickles.

We demolish the bacon mac ‘n’ cheese chips entitled Black Swine in record time. At first, I’m concerned about the over the top nature of this dish. Do you really need to throw mac ‘n’ cheese over fries? The simple answer is yes, sometimes you do. I stand corrected. It’s surprisingly tasty and especially the mac ‘n’ cheese is the star. I’m detecting some spices within the cheesy sauce, adding extra complexity.

While the chips almost take the crown, it’s the Silence of the Hams that wins in my books. The ham hock & vintage cheese croquette with pea purée, bacon jam, and a 63° egg shines with a brilliant balance of flavours and textures. A minor qualm I have is that the pea purée is too sweet for my liking, but otherwise, this is a stellar breakfast dish.

The bacon wrapped breakfast burrito with pork chilli, black beans, American cheese, avocado salsa and sour cream also knows as Reservoir Hogs is a flavoursome number, flaunting a cheesy interior countered by tasty pulled pork. Added oomph and freshness come in the form of a smooth avocado salsa and a spoonful of sour cream.

Burger lovers will be pleased to find the Slumhog Millionaire on the Bacon Fest menu. Sky-high and almost toppling over, the BBQ pulled pork served on a black bun with double smoked bacon, onion rings, slaw, chipotle and cheddar cheese will no doubt be a crowd pleaser. The heat in the slaw gives a bonus kick to the burger.

We’re left wondering where the bacon is in the Jurassic Pork dish, but it’s delicious regardless. Though bacon-less, the hero is absolutely pork. It’s the most experimental of the lot, giving off a restaurant vibe more than a brunch staple. Pork belly is paired with cherries, Granny Smith apple puree, apple pickle and fennel salad.

We finish with Some Like it Hog, a plate of peanut butter and bacon stuffed French toast, banana, bacon crumb, banana, and topped with bacon and bourbon ice cream. There’s a fine balance of sweet and savoury flavours in this dish. Wash it down with a bacon banoffee shake adorned with spicy gingerbread biscuits.

A couple more dishes on the menu that we didn’t try at our preview night include Close Encounters of the Bacon Rind, a medley of bacon steak, maple bacon, double smoked bacon, bacon sausage, and two poached eggs on sourdough. The ever-popular Bacon Mac Daddy from last year is making a comeback – that croissant you’ve probably seen on Instagram, spilling out with bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, double smoked bacon, 63° egg, tomato relish and fried shallots.

Bacon Festival is launching on 14 March 2017 and will run for 12 weeks.

Cuckoo Callay

Address: 324a King Street, Newtown NSW 2042
Website: http://www.cuckoo-callay.com.au/

Original photos by Sarah Han with the exception of the featured image and Bacon MacDaddy image, which were supplied.