New culinary direction for luxury getaway Bells at Killcare
It was a long-lived and hugely successful collaboration that lasted nine years; an eternity in the hospitality industry. But now the owners of Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, Brian and Karina Barry, and restaurateurs Stefano Manfredi and Julie Manfredi-Hughes, have mutually agreed to part ways. The Manfredis' restaurant at Bells of Killcare was one of the best in regional Australia but now the partners feel it is time to move on and pursue new challenges.
Executive chef Dean Jones, who has worked alongside Manfredi for several years, will continue with the core Manfredi values of simplicity, elegance and sustainability in the Bells kitchen, but has vowed to elevate the Italian dining experience. Jones gained Michelin experience at London's River Café and aims to introduce a fresh perspective to the menu.
"Passion and commitment took River Cafe to great heights, and I know it can here, too," he says.
While assuming the mantle of executive chef, Jones will also share the title of head chef with Jose Saulog (ex-Glass Brasserie and Tetsuya's). "River Cafe had five head chefs," says Jones, "and the extra respect and responsibility in the kitchen pays real dividends."
Re-energising the restaurant is the first of a number of upgrades and expansions planned by owners Karina and Brian Barry who bought Bells at Killcare from John Singleton's Coast and Country Properties in June, 2016. The Barry's have operated and hosted at the upmarket retreat since 2007. They, too, have an enormous affection for River Cafe which made founders Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray legends of the British culinary scene and which produced a host of talent including Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Jones (below) says the ethos of River Cafe should translate well to Bells at Killcare Restaurant & Bar with its coastal setting and extensive on-site produce gardens and orchards.
He says the menu will reflect the flavour and the spirit of the setting. Expect a comprehensive 'tidal pool' of seafood and a dish of sea urchin, butter, spaghetti and bottarga is already creating excitement among guests. Brian Barry says there will be no mistaking the Italian focus. Ssommelier Alessio Rubini and his team is doing a cellar stocktake of Italian wines. Bells at Killcare, 107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights, NSW. (02) 4349 7000. www.bellsatkillcare.com.au.