The Wild Flower Bar & Dining at Bells at Killcare is the newest incarnation for the Italian restaurant at Bells at Killcare. It's the hotel's main restaurant and has a Mediterranean focus with food with food director Sean Connolly.
The restaurant has had a few names and incarnations and this one, like previous ones makes use of the property's 500 square metre kitchen garden as well as local product with a particular emphasis on locally caught seafood from McMaster's Beach.
This is Laura's first time to Bells at Killcare. Mr NQN is back at our holiday house looking after Teddy so she and I are dining tonight. The last time I visited was in 2019 and now there is a shop in the lobby that sells local food, house baked bread and goodies to set up your own picnic in their grounds. They show us to our table in the enclosed patio area facing the manicured garden.
We nibble on the bread with creamy jersey butter while we read the menu. We are tempted by specials too which we usually don't order but the idea of fresh, local seafood is too alluring.
Steak tartare, Cape Grim, TAS, made tableside $29
A couple of dishes are done at the table. The steak tartare's ingredients come out on a wooden trolley and our lovely waitress mixes them up and presents them beautifully with some sourdough toasts and cos lettuce leaves. She also leaves a bottle of hot sauce and I add some more to the well seasoned meat. It's delicious and as Laura doesn't eat red meat I practically polish this all off.
Scallop crudo, chilli, coriander, finger lime $26
The scallop crudo is all about beautifully fresh flavours. There's chilli, coriander and finger lime with the raw scallops served on the shell.
Pizzetta with confit garlic & rosemary, house ricotta $21
Laura wants to try the pizzetta, a mini pizza with sweet confit of garlic and rosemary. On the side is a pot of house-made ricotta topped with toasted pine nuts. The garlic is noticeably sweet and it goes well with the ricotta but it also goes even better with the stracciatella below.
Stracciatella, salted egg yolk, grilled bread $19
I adore stracciatella, the creamy strands of cow's milk cheese aka the inside of a burrata. Here it is served with shaved salted egg yolk and grilled bread.
It's gorgeously milky, seasoned just by the egg yolk. I add a bit of acidity from the other dishes.
Rigatoni, Coffs Harbour king prawns, NSW, tomato, basil, chilli $29
We both love the rigatoni with plenty of Coffs Harbour prawns in a tomato, basil and chilli sauce. The rigatoni is house made and has a good texture to it, not too hard and not too soft. We end up adding a little stracciatella to it too.
Marron with wakame butter
We usually avoid specials but in this case it's an irresistible catch of marron served split and grilled with a divine wakame butter. The flesh is sweet and tender and blanketed in the tasty seaweed butter. We sweep a slice of bread through the delightful wakame butter sauce.
Roasted carrot, almond, kale, labne $13
We were intrigued by the roasted carrot side. They are roasted until soft and sweet but then paired with a crunchy almond butter, kale and labne. The result is a gorgeous and surprisingly attention getting side dish that we can't really stop eating.
What happens with the steak tartare and the vacherin for two is that once someone sees it coming out on the trolley, then everyone wants to order it. And we were just as suggestible as anyone else when we saw the vacherin for two glide past us on its way to another table.
Vacherin for two $22
It's one large meringue crushed up and paired with Cognac and stewed rhubarb and macerated strawberries and chantilly cream. It's a delightful dessert, simple but perfectly done especially with the slightly crisp rhubarb batons.
Basque Cheesecake $14
We both love cheesecake, especially if it isn't deconstructed which fills us both with such rage (why...why?). This is a classic cheesecake, not a particularly burnt Basque one but creamy with a citrus syrup and flavour and a scoop of vanilla gelato on the side.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you usually go for the specials of the day or do you stick to the main menu? Are you highly suggestible when it comes to ordering dishes when you see something being prepared in front of you?
NQN and Laura were guests of The Wildflower but all opinions remain her own.
The Wild Flower Bar & Dining at Bells at Killcare
07 The Scenic Rd, Killcare Heights NSW 2257
Phone: (02) 4349 7000