Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) and its in-house dining destination, Bellbird Dining + Bar has extended its food offerings by opening its doors on Friday and Saturday evenings for an intimate dining experience.
Enter the arts centre, and what is normally a day time brunch and lunch space, has been set up for dinner with a dimly lit dining space, a classy table set up, complete with candle light perfect for a date night or catch up with friends and family.
After your dinner, you can take a walk around and basque in the artworks in the gallery’s exhibition spaces with creative and colourful displays. They’re currently showcasing the 66th Blake Prize Finalists in an exhibition, which engages local and international contemporary artists in topics of spirituality, religion, and beliefs, and has over 80 artworks on display.
We’ve dined at Bellbird many times before and especially love that they use locally sourced ingredients, many of which come from their sustainable garden on site. The chefs here, led by Head Chef Federico Rekowski, Stephen Pham and team, are highly skilled and have produced visually appealing, super tasty and intricate dishes.
For the Friday and Saturday service, two options are available; a two-course menu with shared entrees – carnivore or vegetarian and your choice of main for $49pp, with the option of adding dessert $10pp. Otherwise there is a 6 course tasting menu or degustation for $69, which is what we opted for. We found this to be an extremely reasonable price for the quality and quantity of food.
Before we eat, we begin with a few drinks, some spritzers; alcoholic and non alcoholic versions. Staff ask your flavour preference and recommend a few options. There’s also a great wine list, beers and soft drinks available.
As at most fine dining establishments, there is bread, a quality slice of artisan prepared bread, served with olive oil, balsamic and butter.
Then the tasting menu began. Our first dish was served on a glazed black plate – Bonito cured King Fish, served warm, a Japanese inspired offering with a wasabi mayo and the kale crisp adding some earthiness, and the picked fennel adding some sweetness and tartness, the flavours carefully considered and work very well.
This was promptly followed by a huge white bowl, which added to the effect, the Sous vide Fremantle Octopus, with fried enoki, radish and a chilli jam sauce. The octopus had a lovely texture and char, but the flavour from the chilli jam was phenomenal, giving the dish a real flavour kick, not overly spicy and a good balance of sweet and sour.
This was followed up with some local produce from up the road, Leppington Valley Figs. Why not highlight this spectacular fruit in season, sauced nicely with blue cheese, along with Serrano ham and truffle honey, all quality ingredients, you cannot go wrong.
We thoroughly enjoyed the North Queensland Snapper Fillet, nicely cooked with crisp skin, the charred skull island prawn accompanying was so delicious we could have ate a plate of those! This came with a pea puree and salty prawn crumbs for texture.
Our favourite dish for the evening was the final main, a herb crusted Cowra lamb, which was blushing pink and absolutely perfect. The cherry tomatoes were sweet with a nice hint of rosemary flavour to them. We loved the olive salt too. The pumpkin puree was a great complement and worked well with the other ingredients.
The meal ended on a good note with a Kahlua Parfait. A light creamy portion of parfait, the coffee gel further emphasising coffee in little spontaneous turbo charged hits. The caramelised white chocolate crumb, adding to the texture and the sprigs of dill are also unique.
The service here is also a standout, friendly, efficient and very welcoming. Meals were served in a timely manner, with staff explaining each dish as it was presented. We can thoroughly recommend a visit to Bellbird for a high quality experience all round.
Friday and Saturday nights at CPAC and Bellbird Dining + Bar
6pm every Friday and Saturday (starting Friday 19 February)
Bookings: (02) 8711 7077