A little over a year ago, Cuckoo Callay opened in an empty lot next to Newtown Station where an old tram depot used to be. Now, they’re busy preparing bacon every way you can imagine for their inaugural Bacon Festival, starting February 9.
Cafe owners Ibrahim Moubadder and Eleanor Harris seem to have the kind of relationship with their suppliers that many would aspire to; friendly, honest and supportive. In fact we have their bacon supplier, the Marrickville-based Black Forest Smokehouse, to thank for the Bacon Festival.
Seeing the pressure his supplier and Australian pig farmers are facing from cheaper overseas imports, Moubadder was inspired to help. “Everybody loves bacon,” he says, and for the most part we’d have to agree. “At the same time [as celebrating this] we can let people know about an issue they weren’t aware of.”
When it came to creating the menu, “We did loads of research,” Harris says. They spent hours trawling Instagram feeds and reading up on bacon festivals held overseas in, you guessed it, America and Canada. “Even just by speaking to people and telling our friends about it,” Moubadder adds. “My friend suggested we do a bacon hotdog, and I thought it was a good idea. Then we decided to put crackling on it.” Which arguably, was an even better one. “Andy [Cumming] is our chef, so we’d come up with all these crazy ideas and come to him and be like, ‘What can we actually make? In reality?’” Harris laughs.
Of the eight dishes, the buttermilk waffles with bacon ice cream, and the bacon and cheddar croquettes are standouts. There are also a couple of bacon-based beverages, including a bacon Bloody Mary and a bacon milkshake, which, trust us, is just the right amount of wrong.
The Bacon Festival will run alongside the regular cafe menu all day fro February 9 for 12 weeks, so there’s ample time to try it all.