Sean Connolly shows his wild side by joining Bells at Killcare

Published on 27 Nov 2019

Bells at Killcare, the 5-star boutique resort on the NSW Central Coast, is excited to announce a new look and feel to its restaurant from December. The Restaurant will be named ‘the wild flower bar and dining’ with the new direction reflected in menu and interiors, while welcoming Sean Connolly to the Bells team to help oversee this creative culinary change.

Sean, alongside his right-hand man, Tony Gibson, will refresh the menu and dining experience, broadening the restaurant’s Italian dining style to a modern-European approach with the same focus on quality food and service, though in a casually-chic setting with a little “theatre” adding to the energy of the dining space.

Sean Connolly is currently a business partner with Bells at Killcare owners, Karina and Brian Barry, at their new Central Coast hot-spot, The Bon Pavilion at Gosford – a joint venture between the Barry’s, Sean and John Singleton. Already part of the ‘culinary family’ and Sean realising the potential of the Central Coast’s dining scene, he offered to help lead the exciting new culinary direction at Bells, a multi-award-winning tourism destination an hour north of Sydney.

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Bells’ dining room style will transition toward a casually-luxe aesthetic that complements its location - an exclusive oasis surrounded by the Bouddi National Park and the region’s vast coastal waterways. Owners, Karina and Brian Barry, engaged former Sydney media and image consultant, Mark Patrick, to oversee the design vision; Mark has a long history in design, starting his early career as an apprentice to Florence Broadhurst and working with clients as diverse as Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, Moschino, Belvedere Vodka, Rolls Royce, Mac,  Elizabeth Arden and the Packer family. 

The ‘Bouddi by the sea’ inspiration will include specially commissioned Kate Swinton wallpaper and screen-print cushions, with Kate renowned for her signature fine-art native landscape etchings. Many celebrated local artisans will also be incorporated to the setting, including ceramicist, Lisa Sanasi, artist Leah Bennetts and artist and weaver, Lee Cavendar, whose bespoke bell-shaped light fittings will adorn the dining room made from local Killcare grasses. 

“I have long been a fan of Bells at Killcare – it’s this beautifully Australian location surrounded by national park, beaches and waterways filled with high-quality seafood. And as a romantic at heart, I’m always searching for the perfect dining experience,” said Chef Sean Connolly. “Bells is the complete package. The juxtaposition of its natural location, though within a refined, luxurious boutique resort environment – the atmosphere lends itself to this beautifully uncomplicated, natural sophistication. So this has to be reflected in the menu.”

“We are going to unearth some of the incredible seafood from our local Hardy’s Bay fisherman. We’re also going to inject a little more life to the dining experience; the sights and sounds of a buzzing dining room will welcome diners, and we’ll be creating more theatre on the floor with trolley service and table-side cooking including salt-crusted fish cracked right there on the table and pasta tossed fresh in front of your very eyes – this is the life that we want to see at Bells, so the experience continues to evolve in the warm, friendly, local and engaging manner that it has built its reputation,” continued Sean.

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“Bells is committed to delivering a first-class experience for our guests, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have Sean Connolly join the team as the second business venture we are working on together, with the opening of The Bon Pavilion in Gosford earlier this year,” said Karina Barry, owner of Bells at Killcare. “We truly love working with Sean and were spurred by his creative vision for the Bells dining space, in taking our diners on a reinvigorated culinary journey.”

Located at the heart of the hotel, the wild flower bar and dining commands a prominent position in the Manor House with its elegant dining room, bar, private dining room, alfresco enclosed balcony overlooking the immaculate gardens and The Conservatory, a purpose-built event space capable of holding large scale events of up to 220 people for a cocktail function. 

The restaurant will continue to employ sustainable practices with more than 15% of the produce on its menu supplied from the 500 square metre kitchen garden on the grounds, with orchid, bee-hives and free range hens.

The restaurant’s excellent wine list has been named ‘Best Regional Wine List’ several times over for its impressive cellar and collection of both local and international, particularly Italian, wines.

Bells has been lauded for its luxurious accommodation, spa and dining offering since its launch in 2007. The restaurant itself has earned a reputation at the forefront of the New South Wales regional dining scene. The property’s uniquely private position surrounded by a bush landscape and with beautiful beaches only minutes away, has made it popular with returning guests and locals – all within 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney or 20-min ferry trip from Palm Beach.

Bells at Killcare is located at 107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights. For more, visit www.bellsatkillcare.com.au or on social media @bells_at_killcare.

Article written by:
@VisitCentralCoastNSW
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