Bells at Killcare Restaurant & Bar, NSW Central Coast

With its seasonal Italian menu, award-winning wine list, local ingredients, and the expertise of a passionate team, Bells at Killcare Restaurant continues to shine as one of regional NSW’s best dining destinations.

After nine years under the direction of renowned chef Stefano Manfredi, Michelin-experienced Dean Jones, who came from London’s prestigious River Café before joining Manfredi for several years, has assumed the position of executive chef.

Thanks to solid relationships with local providores, Jones works with premium quality, seasonal ingredients and takes great pride in showcasing local produce, particularly that which he and his team grow in the onsite veggie garden. Understanding that the key to Italian food is allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves, Jones knows how to bring out the best in them.

There is a wine-matched degustation menu, but we go à la carte, starting with chargrilled king prawns, garnished with fried capers and caper leaves, followed by sea urchin-buttered spaghetti with bottarga (cured fish roe) and breadcrumbs. The taste is strong and sharp like the sea, but the side of fresh, peppery arugula salad balances it out well.

My dining partner has the lamb rack with smoky eggplant, cavalo nero and pine nuts, with a side of garden-grown carrots, glazed with honey from Bell’s own beehive and topped with house-made ricotta.

In between meals, Jones surprises us with a deliciously creamy risotto of scallops, roe, asparagus and crispy snowpeas.

Even if you’re not staying at Bells at Killcare, this restaurant is well worth the journey.

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