Toukley’s newest restaurant is reviving classic cosy cuisine
BLKbird Dining has endeared itself to Central Coast food lovers with its comfort cuisine, monthly wine gatherings, and live music. As The Beatles once sang, ‘You were only waiting for this moment to arrive,’ BLKbird indeed has arrived.
Toukley is swiftly establishing itself as a Coastie hot-spot, all thanks to BLKbird Dining – part of the ever-expanding Meraki Group – which boasts a full cocktail bar and modern European dishes.
Ah, Chicken Cordon Bleu – what a classic. At BLKbird, they stack it with smoked ham and cheddar, before frying. It’s served alongside broccolini, and duchess potato made with cream and a hint of nutmeg, then piped onto the plate and finished with a dollop of mustard.
One might argue that it’s a foolproof dish, easily prepared at home, but it's this belief that drives you to seek comfort food outside of your comfort zone. They’ll even do the washing up.
The fuss-free menu seamlessly merges with the interior at BLKbird.
"We wanted the space to feel like an old English bar”, assistant to the owner, Tara Senam, Rachel said.
The ambiance channels London's fancy 'Shoreditch House', without the exorbitant membership fees, and uptight service. BLKbird does however offer online gift cards, which, in their own way, provide a similar level of satisfaction.
The kitchen is led by Head Chef Melwyn Hubert, with his signature Parmesan Herb Crusted Pork Cutlet – a local favourite. Served with hand-cut chips offering a satisfying crunch, complemented by their house slaw.
Try it with a refreshing Lemongrass-Infused Mojito, muddled with Makrut lime and fresh ginger. Or perhaps, sample one of their eight – yes, eight – distinct gin and tonics, which is doubled, and served in a balloon glass. As they state on their menu – ‘we believe gin and tonic is more than just a drink, but a cocktail.’
“We recognised a gap in the market, with limited venues providing hearty portions of comfort food. Our aim is to open unique spaces that enrich the Central Coast's dining scene.”
Embracing openness seems to be the trend of the year for Meraki Group, as they've recently added another establishment to their collection, joining well-loved destinations such as Little Miss Mezza, The Pantry in Forresters Beach, and Pinocchio’s Wine & Pizza, their newest addition is the former Boathouse in Koolewong.
The waterfront venue is currently undergoing a complete refurb, and will soon re-open as Kefi – a Greek-inspired restaurant. I’m told it’s an ode to Tara's Greek background, and it’s certainly generating quite a buzz on the Peninsula.
“It was only a matter of time before Tara brought a spectacular venue, to celebrate her heritage, to the Central Coast.”
Amidst the flurry of recent restaurant closures and openings, the Coast warmly embraces fresh new concepts and venues. These success stories are created by passionate hospitality folk bringing dedication and focus to the region.
“The Meraki Group strives to create unforgettable experiences for those who appreciate fine dining on the Coast.”
Over the past decade, Tara has orchestrated the successful launch of numerous hospitality ventures, each marked by its distinct and unforgettable dining experiences. Quite the feat, especially given the industry's recent track record.
By the bar at BLKbird, a neon sign urges patrons to live full, die empty, hinting that a slice of Sticky Date Pudding, or some liquid dessert, could be the perfect finale. Either that, or we’re in a scene from ‘The Menu’.
BLKbird offers locals nights every Tuesday and Wednesday, with a two-course set menu at a very reasonable $40 per person.
With a Pommy chef hub, we love hunting down coastal joints that serve up Brit-style, gastro-pub grub. However, our ultimate decision often involves selecting the infamous Chicken Parmy, on a bed of soggy chips, or a grey T-Bone. I’ll pass on the side wobbly gravy that has an iridescent shine.
Good pub fare is rare on the Coast. But, when it’s done well, it’s well done – but always medium rare for us.
Now, picture yourself in a hip London bar, enjoying that Cordon Bleu whilst sipping on a G&T. Living life to the fullest. Not only is it easier on the wallet than a plane ticket, but the weather is certainly more delightful in Toukley, too.