Cuckoo Callay (Revisited), Newtown

Let’s take the Delorean back to 2002 for a second.

I was in love with this girl. Ok, maybe I didn’t fully comprehend what being in love meant. All I know is that there wasn’t anyone else I wanted to share a bag of chips with more than this girl in particular. You have to keep in mind that this is a big deal because I was a big deal (translation: I was fat).

Every week, she’d call me during the Simpsons and we’d talk about life and other nonsensical stuff. It was the highlight of my week.

One week, my parents forced me to go and visit an old family friend on Simpsons night. D’oh.

I got home and my sister told me that I had missed a call from a girl.

I was sad but I was sure she’d call me back next week.

She never call(ay)ed me back.

….oh well, she’s cuckoo to let me slip through her hands anyway.

Speaking of, I was invited to visit Cuckoo Callay’s new menu and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip through my hands:

(Disclaimer: Brunch was taken care of by the fine folks at Cuckoo Callay. However, all opinions are still my own).

Cuckoo Callay, Newtown
Long time iFat readers will know I’m reusing this photo from my old post

Still located inside the Newtown station complex, Cuckoo Callay has become a  force in the Sydney brunch scene having conducted a bacon festival that lasted months on months on months. Now that it’s over, they’re keen to show that they’re more than just a one pig pony.

I wanted to try as many dishes as possible so I called my buddy, Miguel from I’m Still Hungry to help hold down the fork.

Let’s get it started:

cuckoo callay ramen
Everybody loves ramen: bacon and egg ramen noodles with a 63c egg, speck, shitake mushrooms, bacon dashi and shallots

I’m still kicking myself about the fact that I didn’t think of the “Everybody Loves Ramen” joke. I post about ramen roughly once a week and it just never occurred to me. I’m going to ramen-ber this missed opportunity for a long time.

After enjoying the breakfast ramen at Hammer & Tong during my weekend in Melbourne, I was extremely curious about Cuckoo’s take. The ingredient list appeared to be exactly the same so I had already made up my mind about this being a replica.

Never ever forget that I’m an idiot. It doesn’t matter if the ingredients are the same, every restaurant/cafe can still use them differently. It’s like how I would always draw stick figures in art class when everyone around me would come up with portraits ready to be affixed to the family fridge. We all had the same brushes but I had a..err…different vision.

The presentation for this ramen is awesome. A bowl of ramen and all the fixings is brought to your table and the staff pours the dashi into the bowl. Cuckoo Callay’s version of breakfast ramen offers softer noodles, thicker bacon and some chilli as well. The chilli is an awesome addition to the breakfast ramen. Imagine crawling out of bed in the morning, going to cuckoo for breakfast then being brought back to life with the heat from this ramen.

Definitely a dish you’ll ramen-ber long after you’ve left.

cuckoo callay new menu
Purple Rain: Beetroot cured salmon, organic quiona, chargrilled brocollini, sugar snap peas, avocado, kale, chili, feta, toasted almonds and a 63c egg

Finally, some rain that Sydneysiders won’t complain about. This the best version of Purple Rain I’ve had the pleasure of laying my eyes on since Dami Im belted this out on X-Factor. Which is ironic cause this dish had a number of x-factors going for it.

Let’s start with the salmon. I’m not a big fan of beetroot but the way it was infused into this salmon was nothing short of magical. It nuked any hint of fishy flavour in the dish. The creamy avocado was also an all star in this bowl of deliciousness as it took on the flavours of everything else in the bowl. It was like unleashing an Animorph in a zoo and letting them absorb the DNA of every animal in there.

cuckoo callay porked
Porked: Pressed pork, chargrilled broccolini, manchego and mustard sauce and a 63c egg on sourdough

Let’s grab some pork like we’re Helen real quick.

I’ve talked about a lot of my loves on this blog (quick summary: Hearthstone, Dragon Ball Z, Power Rangers, your mother,  fried chicken, burgers, ramen) but I don’t think I’ve ever elaborated on how much I love broccolini. Yes, the pork patty is nice and the egg is cooked beautifully but the broccolini is what stood out for me.

I sound like one of those guys that visits KFC for the first time and leaves raving about the coleslaw but hey…it was slawesome.

cuckoo callay chicken burger
Pop Goes the Chicken: Popcorn chicken burger with speck, manchego and sauerkraut on brioche

When it comes to food, I always try to look past the obvious components and figure out what makes a dish delicious. This is quite difficult since I know absolutely nothing about food. I know what tastes good to me and that’s about it. What jumped out at me about this burger was the manchego cheese that coated the crunchy chicken. You always need the condiments to complement the contents and the cheese did just that.

Oh and I’ve had a lot of brioche buns but this was right up there in terms of being soft and sturdy at the same time.

cuckoo callay trout pout
Trout Pout: seasoned trout fillet; potato, leek and fennel cake; grilled fennel, horseradish cream; somei and a 63c egg

Let me tell you apout this dish real quick.

There was a delightful contrast between the crispy fennel that laced the bottom of the dish and the fluffy potato/leek cake that sat right below the trout. The fish was very tender and soaked up the horseradish cream with aplomb. The yolk didn’t ooze out with a prod but was gooey and the egg white was very soft.

cuckoo callay wedges
Sweet potato wedges with chili aioli

I’m not a very sophisticated guy. I like the simple things in life like an empty parking spot right outside my final destination. What I’m trying to say is that; good wedges just add a little bit of extra joy to my day.

These wedges drowned me in euphoria.

Chunks of sweet potato that were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with some spicy sauce on the side.

Simple but effective.

cuckoo callay rice rice baby
Rice, Rice Baby: Warm red rice pudding, spiced baked pear, rhubarb sorbet, rose water mascarpone and nutty crumble

There is no joy greater than pudding good food in your mouth. As you can see, I did that quite a bit on this day. With that being said, I couldn’t help but eat some more once dessert was placed in front of me. The rose water mascarpone brought everything together with its creamy texture and just made everything else better. I also enjoyed the sour nature of the rhubarb sorbet and how refreshing it was.

cuckoo callay banana bread
Cap’n Jack: House made banana bread, bruleed banana, coffee toffee sauce, rum mascarpone, berries and toasted hazelnuts

Full disclosure: I was beyond stuffed at this point so I just nibbled away at the banana bread. It was extremely dense which was unexpected. I’m very accustomed to soft banana bread that sort of crumbles away but Cuckoo Callay’s take was unprecedented. I wasn’t a huge fan of the rum mascarpone but I have a very unsophisticated take on anything alcohol related.

Please beer with me, I’m still learning about the adult world.


Here’s the TL;DR for everyone else who never called me back

– Confirmed; I still ramen-isce about primary school romances.

– Few things can beet that Purple Rain dish or the collective awesomeness of the Cuckoo Callay menu.

– Don’t let this breakfast establishment fly over the cuckoo’s nest

Cuckoo Callay, Newtown
Yep, still recycling photos

Cuckoo Callay, Newtown

Inside Newtown train station.

Mon – Fri: 6:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

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