Manfredi at Bells (Killcare – NSW Central Coast)

Coffee: 15/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): /40

Good coffee and fine dining are not a normal combination of words you put in a sentence when talking about the NSW Central Coast. In fact just thinking about it good coffee and fine dining at hotels are a rare combination to start with…

A long weekend away finds Nerd2 and I at Manfridis, the restaurant of the very fancy hotel Bells at Killcare on the NSW Central Coast, about an hour and half north of Sydney.

Typically when you walk into a hotel restaurant at breakfast you expect to find chaos, food everywhere and stressed staff, etc. However, and prepare to be shocked. We found neither.

While this was amazing to find a super flash restaurant in a Zen like ninja state. Actually finding the staff to seat us was a bit of a challenge. Lucky Nerd2 and I are skilled at stealing the choice seats at cafes; we quickly acquired a large bench seat near the fireplace.

Once a staff member found us she was a little surprised but very pleasant (we had after all just appeared apparently out of nowhere), coffee was on the agenda we ordered two long blacks.

Not long in their creation, the long blacks from initial impressions looked good. With both a nice heat and a good crema.

The aroma of the coffee was that of something initially quite smoky followed through by a fruit sweetness balanced against some wood spices. I’d call say it is a radical Italian roast.

Food wise, because I know you’re interested, I got this great baked eggs thing and Nerd2 went for this nice looking mushroom ricotta meal. I stole some of her mushrooms.

Drinking the coffee, I found the smokiness, sweetness (of something like a dried raisin) and some woodie flavours, following through from the aroma. Overall an enjoyable coffee experience.

Breakfast was good. Thanks for asking. I ate far too many handmade pastries.

As I read the paper I allowed the coffee cool and steep. Disappointingly, the flavours fell down leaving the drink a little too acidic. (It can so easily happen in places that don’t churn through coffee enough due to demand). But I’m on holidays and likely being a bit of a dick.

Overall, it was a good and peaceful meal. Staff on this weekday occasion were over the top friendly and the food solid. The coffee was top notch for a hotel’s restaurant and very solid for a drink outside of it in Sydney. It is easy to recommend the experience and coffee, if for some reason you’re in the Killcare region like Nerd2 and I were, go check it out.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 6/10
Coffee total: 13/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): English manor house
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Cafe: 14/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 28/40

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