Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This might not be what you'd expect from a food post, or a restaurant review, or an interview with a chef. As it turns out, although I'd always very much enjoyed the food of Stefano Manfredi, my journey to Bells At Killcare and my stay at Pretty Beach House, was so much more than I had expected.
You see, it was a full moon last Saturday night. I had dropped off my things at the Pretty Beach House accommodation, then I trotted up the road for Stefano to show me around Bells' kitchen garden while there was still afternoon light. My dinner started at 7.30pm and for my primo (first course) I had selected the above-pictured white radish: with the fresh Bells' farm eggs, asparagus and salsa verde. Next came Sand Flathead one of the day's specials. Stefano explained that Italians make the most of flavours with simple cookery. This whole fish with lemon was the materialisation of his explanation. And, then it happened. Tears welled up in my eyes. So many emotions and yet none (I was not sad at all). I put it down to the full moon.
Brian Barry (host and proprietor) had another theory. Like flavour and Italian cookery, Brian explained that there was a simple explanation. He announced that it was Killcare Coincidence. According to Barry it's a well known phenomenom. There certainly is a spiritual air to the place. And even the restaurant has its own Killcare Coincidence story.
Originally Brian and Karina Barry had come to Killcare for a three month assignment to complete a business case. Once in Killcare, they knew they had to stay. In the meantime, they were in rented holiday accommodation for the three month period. As they worked a plan to bring a high profile chef to the properties, they considered their options. Stefano was one of a number they were considering to approach. And then the coincidence. Brian related the tale of how as he finished his coffee and considered which chef, he looked down and in the bottom of the cup the Manfredi name was displayed before him. The Barry's opened the kitchen cupboard which was stocked with Manfredi coffee.
Unknown to Brian and Stefano, I had my own coincidence, well more than one. The visit came at the pinnacle of a major change in my life. And, the tears, well, while the visit certainly invoked many wonderful memories of Manfredi restaurants in Sydney, it was also the Father's Day weekend. That perfect fish was just the same as the one I caught on my first fishing expedition at six years of age, and was cooked just the way I remembered my dad cooking that first catch. Simply! Perfect!
There were also other connections, coincidence, with the women of this weekend, but ... that's another story ...