Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cuckoo Callay: Don’t Go Bacon My Heart

When you hear Bacon Festival at Cuckoo Callay, you’d be foolish to think it’s anything like the traditional ‘bacon and eggs’. Dining at Cuckoo Callay is like a dream, a kookie one where chocolate coated bourbon bacon on waffles with ice cream is served. You heard me right. Ya Bacon My Crazy!

With a kookie name to match, “How did you come up with ‘Cuckoo Callay’?” I asked blue haired Ela, one of the co-owners of this establishment located along the walkway as you exit Newtown Station so you can’t miss it if you are a train commuter. Ela says, “It’s inspired by Alice in Wonderland and the reference to ‘callooh callay’ in a poem in that story”. It’s reference comes up in a verse of a nonsensical and puzzling poem as if you are living a dream…

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy."

Or is it really nonsense or just a distortion of sense? Is it possible to infer a meaning and engage in the verse’s narrative to comprehend the lexical allusion that underlies the surface of this poem? ‘Callooh Callay’ sounds like an expression, a nonsensical one of celebration and joy, like ‘hooray’ or ‘hurrah’!

Ice cream with bacon bits nonsense or just distortion of sense for a few hours?

The wackiness of this poem reflects the menu at Cuckoo Callay’s Bacon Festival. Bacon, chocolate covered on waffles with ice cream? What? That’s nonsense! Yep, ‘What a Croque of Bacon’! I’m dining there on Valentine’s Day so ‘Don’t Go Bacon My Heart’.  These names are indeed on the menu. It may be nonsense, but get over this mind hurdle and welcome to the new normal when you take a few minutes to look at Cuckoo Callay’s menu.

Cafe owners Ibrahim Moubadder (‘Ibby’) and Eleanor Harris (‘Ela’) with a passion and a vision for food and bringing something different to Newtown, have had Cuckoo Callay for just over a year that is bringing in the crowds. I was there are 230pm, a time normally outside lunch hours, but Ibby says to me, “I’ve been here since 7.30am and there have been huge queues since then.” The Newtown crowd and people outside the area are catching on Cuckoo Callay's quirkiness and ability deliver 'different' to you and me. There's something good going for them.

"We love food. I love baking” Ela tells me. I actually have to go home tonight to finish my “Snickers Parfait which I learnt from a Masterchef recipe as we’re serving that for Valentine’s Day tonight. Takes 5 hours to make. We’re booked out tonight!”

The day I visited was on Valentine’s Day  and also it so happens to be the 9th year that Ibby is in Australia after leaving his home country of the beautiful Lebanon.

Food on this menu is not for the faint hearted, but perfect for as day after hangover food.

This celebration of the Bacon Festival and the humble hog includes a partnership with Black Forest Smokehouse in Marrickville, who are supplying Cuckoo with meat from local NSW pig farms. 

Need I say more? Here are some of my food photography of what we tried. Some of the dishes may raise a few eyebrows but go on, give it go. It’s something different and you’ll love the menu, Ibby and Ela’s passion as much as I did.

Cuckoo Callay
324 B, Newtown Railway station, Newtown NSW 2042

Opening hours:
Monday - Friday | 6am - 4pm
Saturday | 8am - 4pm
Sunday | 8am - 3pm

Cuckoo Callay on Urbanspoon

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