02 February 2011

Manfredi at Bells: Sneaky Sunday Package, Bells at Killcare (16 Jan 2011)

107 The Scenic Road, Box Head NSW 2257

Escape and relax in style

A very special birthday treat brings me to Bells at Killcare situated about 2 hours north from Sydney for a Sneaky Sunday package ($500) which includes one night King Spa Suite accommodation, a gourmet breakfast hamper and a VIP restaurant reservation inclusive of a 3 course meal. Arriving at the large property near Bouddi National Park you’re welcomed by trees all around, well kept garden areas, a pond with ducks and most importantly a decent sized swimming pool to catch up on your vitamin D. Our room has its own private car spot, private balcony, nice furnishings and even a shower with 5 shower heads to wash your body in all the right spots. It felt more like a nice cosy beach home rather than a confined hotel room and my only finicky criticisms would be for a larger TV, extra shelving space around the bathroom sink for personal toiletries and a slightly larger balcony table. Also the breakfast hamper is a nice idea and has its advantages of eating it when you want but unfortunately that also means you have to actually cook it yourself and I would have preferred dining in the restaurant.

Arriving during the day meant there was time to check out the nice local beaches but surf was quite rough which limited where you could swim. I’m not sure what the VIP meant for the restaurant reservation but being a guest entitled us to a Complimentary bellini cocktail between 5 and 6 pm. Hoping not to miss out I raced back from the beach clad in board shorts and took them back to the room to enjoy on the private balcony before our 7 pm dinner reservation. Dinner time was filled with predominately couples sitting on the balcony overlooking the large well kept garden. It was a very pleasant seating arrangement and service although young were friendly and welcoming. Keep in mind once the sun goes down it’s mosquito frenzy time and it would have been nice to know in advance that insect repellent was available to use if required — it’s recommended you put it on before getting bitten alive or move inside before sunset.

Complimentary olives and crackers were good although I’m not a huge fan of those really little ones — I think what’s the point. Started with a 2009 Maude Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($12) and reasonably priced yet very quaffable 2009 A. Mano Fiano Greco ($10). The Crayfish cannelloni ($30 menu special) had thankfully noticeable pieces of crayfish and wasn’t too heavy. My 2 types of Oysters ($4.50 each) supposedly freshly shucked weren’t particularly the best I’ve had. They looked a bit too roughly opened showing a fair amount of shell cracking, not much prized brine and unfortunately one of them was served with a greenish slime which I’ve never come across before and perhaps should have never made it to the plate. A slice of lemon would have been nice and I much preferred the ones recently served at CafĂ© Sydney. Bold flavours to be had in the pricey Grilled grass-fed beef loin ($44) and included the unusual purple carrot. Crumbed veal involtini ($42) comes at a premium price like most of the mains but had nice flavours.

A side of tasty Roast rosemary potatoes ($12) was a good choice although I would have preferred it with some more outer crunch. I really enjoyed the Green beans with parsley and garlic ($14) as a side. Both the 2005 Lengs & Cooter 'Swinton' McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon ($12) and 2008 A. Mano Primitivo ($10) hit the right notes. For dessert the smallish Raspberry, pistachio and vanilla cassata ($18.50) and Tartufo di Amedei chocolate ($18.50) were enjoyed with a lovely drop of 2008 Margan Family Botrytis Semillon ($10). Cappuccino ($6) was good and non bitter as hoped. After a filling dinner it was nice to be able to simply pick up a couple of free DVDs from the guest library collection and walk back to the quiet accommodation. For a special home away from home experience I think Bells at Killcare have done a good job at creating it for those who need a bit of chill out time in their lives.

PROS: Quality and quiet accommodation, Relaxing, Pool, Good wines, Romantic, Nice dishes (although oysters could have been better), Nice garden view from restaurant outdoor seating (although expect mosquitoes at dusk), Friendly and accommodating service, Beaches and walking trails in National Park nearby
CONS: Expensive, Room TV could have been bigger, More shelving space in bathroom would have been appreciated, Have to cook your own breakfast, Quite a small balcony table so awkward to fit everything on top for breakfast, Some good yet mostly bad background music choices for the restaurant and at times a little too noticeable (please scrap the country music selection)
MUST TRY: Green beans with parsley and garlic, Bellini cocktail, Wines, Crayfish cannelloni, Swim in the pool, Enjoy the beaches, Smell the fresh air
House key — Number 5

Entrance to accommodation

Private balcony

Private car spot and surrounding privacy trees

Lounge and kitchen

Lounge and bed

Kitchen area


Bathroom and spa

Sink area — could do with some extra shelving for personal toiletries

Bells bathroom toiletries

5 shower head system — washing places I never knew I had

Manfredi at Bells Restaurant
Complimentary bellini cocktail for guests 5-6 pm

Complimentary olives and crackers

2009 Maude Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc NZ ($12), 2009 A. Mano Fiano Greco IGT Italy ($10)

Crayfish cannelloni ($30 menu special)

Oysters freshly shucked and served with aged wine vinegar and shallot ($4.50 each)

Although one of the oysters wasn't looking the most appetising and perhaps should have never been served (subsequently not charged once I alerted the kitchen). Also some oyster shells weren't particularly opened well and quite broken up around the rim.

Grilled grass-fed beef loin with roast garlic, red wine sauce ($44) - ordered medium rare

Crumbed veal involtini with provolone, green chard from our garden and cannellini beans ($42)

Roast rosemary potatoes ($12)

Green beans with parsley and garlic ($14)

2005 Lengs & Cooter 'Swinton' McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon ($12), 2008 A. Mano Primitivo IGT Italy ($10)

2008 Margan Family Hunter Valley Botrytis Semillon ($10)

Sugar and petit four

Cappuccino ($6)

Raspberry, pistachio and vanilla cassata ($18.50)

Tartufo di Amedei chocolate ($18.50)

Balcony seating — nice views of garden grounds, but once dusk comes be prepared for mosquitoes or sit inside

Inside dining

Bill $261.50 for 2 people — at check out only paid for extras like drinks and sides

Sneaky Sunday Package deal includes 3 course for lunch or dinner

Breakfast hamper
Breakfast hamper including jam, chutney, honey, granola, fruit and Sunzest Organic orange juice — some yoghurt would have gone nicely with the granola

Cooking up the eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms and tomato

Have breakfast on the balcony — but the table is quite small so a bit tight on space

Bells at Killcare property
Garden seating

Pool — nice size and clean

Restaurant balcony

Garden grounds

Lounge bar


Vegetable garden


Reception and restaurant reception

Entrance signage — Tuesdays has a restaurant special

Entrance to Bells at Killcare

Beaches nearby
Killcare Beach

MacMasters Beach

Copacabana Beach

Avoca Beach


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Nice looking spot; seems like a home away from home. I wish I had a spa like that! :-)

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Wow - more birthday treats! lol @ the shower :)

Jim said...

Great beach shots, Simon. I'm familiar with Avoca Beach and MacMasters Beach but not the others so much.

thang@noodlies said...

wow, look sooo fabulous, jealous :)!

Richard Elliot said...

What a fantastic birthday present! It looks like you had a great weekend.

How come you got a bill for dinner? I thought it was included in the package?

Simon Leong said...

hi joey, i wish i tried the spa actually but ran out of time and thought it might use too much water for the envirnoment.

hi tina, it's worth it just for the shower hehe

hi j bar, you've have to try the other beaches. so many in the one area.

hi thang, hope you get to try it one day.

hi richard, the meal is included but upon check out they just deduct the meal and you pay whatever is extra. i wanted to keep the bill as reference as well for pricing :-)

Simon Food Favourites Map

View Simon Food Favourites in a larger map Key: BLUE - Location visit and review PINK - Simon Favourites and places offering something special

Small Bars in Sydney map

View Small Bars in Sydney in a larger map