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Bells at Killcare August 2, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Food, Travel.
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For some reason this post slipped my mind and I totally forgot about it over the last few months.  In March, we took a short vacation up to the Central Coast of New South Wales and stayed at a place called “Bells at Killcare.  It’s one of those places that offer boutique hotel accommodation and a one chef’s hat restaurant thanks to the scrumptious cuisine of Stefano Manfredi.  The prices aren’t particularly cheap (around $250-$300 a night) but they have several different types of packages that can help you save money if you bundle the accommodation with food and other services.

We had a great time at Bells.  Our intention was a relaxing, romantic getaway not too far from Sydney and Bells served that purpose well.  There’s not all that much to see around the Central Coast area so we spent only a few hours sightseeing and another half day bushwalking.  The rest of the time we just lazed around the hotel pool, read books and watched DVDs.  We stayed at one of the two Villas they had there (the rest were suites), which has a huge upstairs bedroom and balcony, plus a kitchen a outdoor verandah where you can cook the breakfast yourself (delivered fresh to your fridge the night before).  It was a perfect place to stay with only one minor complaint — the toilet was downstairs.

The exterior of our Villa

Downstairs

Upstairs

For me, the highlight of Bells is definitely the Stefano Manfredi restaurant.  It is, without a doubt, one of the best restaurants I have been to in Australia in terms of the all round brilliance of the food, from appetisers to desserts.  It has one chef’s hat but in my humble opinion trumps even some of the three hat restaurants I’ve been to.

(to read on and see the food pics click on ‘more…’)

When we booked to stay at the Bells, we weren’t sure whether there were many other places to eat around the area.  So to err on the side of caution, we booked for dinner at the restaurant for two consecutive nights.  As it turned out, it was the best decision we could have made!

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.  Remember we ate there twice, hence the large number of dishes.  Honestly, we did eat there twice!

I believe this was a special of the day, king prawns with garlic and veges

Veal meatball pasta

Duck with pea puree

Crisp pork cheek

Spatchcock

Spinach and ricotta gnocchi with burnt butter and parmesan

Wholegrilled fish with salsa verde

Slow cooked rabbit

This is actually a chocolate dome you crack open...(Tartufo di Amedei chocolate)... It's ridiculously good

Dessert...some sort of sweet and yet sour lemon cake

This was a sensational icecream with pistachio nuts...we had it on both days

As usual, I found the appetisers to be more appealing than the mains, though in this case the level of both were so high that it didn’t matter.  The standout for me was definitely the gnocchi.  I’m not normally a gnocchi guy, but this was outrageous.  The chocolate dome (Tartufo) and the icecream were also some of the best desserts I’ve tried.

A splendid experience!

10 out of 10

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