PIMP MY PLATE is my weekly series of reviews of cafés and restaurants in city and regional areas. My food challenge to have my lunch-or-brunch plate pimped for $18 or less. *In November 2016 BUTTERCUP reopened as JB & SONS
I was on my way to review a different café in Dee Why when I drove past BUTTERCUP and spontaneously decided to find a park, and review it instead.
BUTTERCUP is a just short walk from Dee Why beach. Unlike the other cafes it doesn’t have a beach view, but it has a beachy colour scheme, and you are greeted with a sunny smile. Besides, today’s view of the beach offered a grey blur, with large clumps of seaweed marooned on the sand – a great day to be indoors.
Inside the café-bar-restaurant the vibe is friendly and welcoming and relaxing, and isn’t that what the beach experience is all about.
I scanned the menu and ordered two items from the range of Snacks: Smoked Cauliflower Nuggets, and Salt and Native Pepper Squid. Add a side of Salad Greens and you have a hearty meal.
Deep fried Cauliflower floret fritters (try saying that fast!) are a thing at the moment and for good reason.
Smoked? I must try them.
Smoked Cauliflower Nuggets with Lemon Pepper Mayo ($9) are pieces of cauliflower dipped in beer batter, using Baldwin & Simspons Lager from nearby microbrewery, Brookvale Brewery.
These ‘nuggets’ have a nice chewy mouth feel, and an intense smoky flavour.
‘Liquid smoke?’ I asked, ‘No, we smoke them ourselves’. With a smile, I’ll leave that there.
The reality is that BUTTERCUP do all their own pickling, curing, and smoking, with the aim of serving ‘hearty food inspired by country Australia’. A nice point of difference for an urban café. Yes, Dee Why is urban, and heading close to urbane.
Did someone say chilli? The little pot of vibrant red House Chilli on my plate of Salt and Native Pepper Squid ($12) is a standout. This ‘house’ chilli pickle is packed with plenty of flavour and fire – my kind of chilli condiment.
I find ordering squid is always a lottery. I’m glad to say that’s not the case here – the pieces of squid were so tender that my knife cut through them like butter, and it was a joy to eat. And their use of Native Pepper instead of black peppercorns was a nice variation. I want more of this, and I’ll be back!
Native Pepper is an Australian native shrub, also known as pepperberry, or mountain pepper. It typically grows in gullies and rainforests in Tasmania, Victoria, and some parts of NSW. The dried leaves and berries are used as a spice in food and drink recipes and it’s considered a ‘bushfood’.
I recommend pairing it with a plate of Salad Greens ($7) for a hearty and good value meal.
Another must-try-because-I-didn’t is the Charred Broccoli with Confit Salmon, Peas, Dill, and Chilli ($17), which would also make a nice lunch.
The bar is fully stocked, and some Thursday evenings the bar offers a $10 cocktail special.
There’s a lot to like about BUTTERCUP and as autumn leaves fall, and bikinis and beach towels are replaced by woolly jumpers – or wetsuits – it’s reassuring to know a place to hibernate indoors with some heart-warming food, and cocktails. Who needs a beach view in Winter?
RATED: Pimped! FOOD: 4/5
VALUE: 5/5 ATMOS: 4.5/5 VIBE: Talk.Eat.Drink.Relax.
BUTTERCUP – 154-158 Pacific Parade, Dee Why, NSW (7 days)
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