Fine Food Café…
There is a grandeur to the arrival when you pull into the driveway at Kew Dining, emphasised by it sharing a premise with the Ken Duncan gallery.
The large establishment is surrounded by towering gums and sandstone accents the entry. Large bi-fold doors and light interiors give the café a sense of space and a feeling that you are not in a regular café. The name Kew Dining conjures images of the great Kew Gardens in London and the reference is close to the inspiration for the English-born owner and Head Chef Lawry Gordon who, with his wife Wendy, has created one of the busiest and most desirable cafes on the Central Coast.
Honestly, I feel as though I should stop calling it a café; in the traditional sense, it serves breakfast and lunch daily, however that is just the start as Lawry explains “the attraction to the venue is that we could create multi dining experiences here”.
Example of this include the venue having a theatre viewing room, traditional high tea, private functions, catering for the gallery, and Lawry being able to indulge in his passion for Fine Dining.
Lawry and Wendy moved to the Central Coast from Sydney, where Lawry worked on Channel 7’s The Morning Shift as the resident Chef to opening a little restaurant called ‘Flair’. Situated on a corner of Erina Heights shops, Flair went on to win Best Restaurant NSW and multiple Good Food Guide Hats over the years and was the Central Coast’s introduction to this power couple.
Wanting nights with family, Flare was closed on a high note and they gave their hand to opening a café in Wamberal – Lotus which became a beloved venue for the neighbourhood and tourists alike. So, you see, Kew Dining is the balance for Lawry and Wendy in café meets fine dining and a space that can grow and move with the vision.
Many flock to Kew Dining on the weekends for High Tea in the conservatory. The offering is decadent, quintessentially British and is as twee and pretty as anyone who is after a traditional high tea could ask desire. The High Tea includes sparkling on arrival, a selection of four savoury tastes, interlude, house-made fluffy scone and two sweet treats.
Knowing he cannot do it all, Lawry’s number #2 Chef, Jess Catania, is behind all the pastries, cakes, and the organic vegetable garden at Kew Dining. She was quite a coup for Lawry and Wendy who, like many other cafes on the Coast, were selling Jess’s cakes through her business ‘Just a Piece of Cake’. The transition was small with Jess working part-time as a waitress then Lawry suggesting she move into the kitchen and exclusively supply Kew Dining with her wonderful sweets.
Her talents don’t lay just there, with the support of Lawry in the vision to “move to having a full menu that is supported with 100% sustainability”. The heart of this sustainability is situated at the back of the building, where you will find a vegetable patch that is now blossoming on plates in the café with seasonal produce such as baby carrots, radishes, brussel sprouts, and the delicate edible flowers.
You see this produce comes to life in the Bao Buns with lemongrass and ginger panko-crumbed chicken, served with yuzu and chipotle mayo and Asia style salad. The Calamari is a spectacle in appearance and the chilli and lime dusting gives a balanced tang against the refreshing cucumber, sprouts and Chinese cabbage with crisp noodles.
Even for those without a sweet tooth, you must try the Blueberry Bagel – this surprising showstopper is beautiful to look at and delivers on flavour and with cream cheese, fresh strawberries, and raspberry coulis. Not to be outdone are the Pancakes, I wrote that plainly as these are not your average pancake, these are Japanese style pancakes; they are fluffy and tall and not overly sweet, which balances the blueberry stew and whipped cultured maple butter they are served with.
To partner the food Kew Dining is serving Toby’s Estate coffee (the Woolloomooloo blend) and is one of those brands a coffee snob… sorry I mean connoisseur will seek out.
It was one of the many learnings they took from Lotus – people love Toby’s Estate. The juices are made fresh and you are more than welcome to order a bottle of bubbles for brunch or settle in for a wine at lunch.
We recommend planning ahead and making a reservation as they do get exceptionally busy, especially on the weekends. It is easy to see why as it’s a rare day you get amazing food, informed and friendly service and the chance to sit amongst gum trees whilst being in a super convenient location.