With a soundscape of exotic birdcalls and water fountains flowing through a jungle setting in the towering atrium, Canterbury Leagues Club was a little bit more Las Vegas than I was expecting.
It would seem that while Mike Baird was busy shutting down late night Sydney, a quiet revolution was underway in Belmore. Joining three other restaurants inside this enormous Club, Bakehouse Cafe offers up a 24-hour diner-style experience.
Feel like a spot of late night brekky? Hanging for a burger? Need to replace all that lost calcium with a freak-shake? Bakehouse Cafe has got your back.
Well your back, and the backs of 349 other people, because it's a whopping 350-seater with a large, open-plan footprint that even includes al fresco tables if only our inclement weather would cooperate.
Bakehouse Cafe is the first part of the Club’s $120 million dollar renovation, and a good excuse to stick your nose in for a look at what late night dining in this city should include.
Available all hours, the Angus Burger ($16.70) is an honest and generously proportioned burger. It’s presented on a board with an appropriate amount of hot chips.
While I wouldn’t have minded a bit more char on my Angus beef patty, I did like the accompanying beetroot relish and Monterey Jack cheese, dressing up the burger’s more standard features – oak lettuce, sliced tomatoes and the (ever-present) lightly toasted brioche bun.
While our waitress warns us the Croque Monsieur ($14.50) is more polarising, we decide to hit it up anyway. Think of it as the ultimate grilled cheese. It’s a hearty meal of good quality, lightly grilled double smoked ham, Gruyere and Dijon mustard, sandwiched between two generous slabs of sourdough bread.
The menu also contains healthy options, like a Watermelon and Haloumi Salad ($16.70) or you can throw calories to the wind with a Bakehouse big shake. The Banana Freckle ($9.50), sensibly presented on a plate, was a fun and indulgent banana milkshake topped with whipped cream, banana lollies, and freckles, garnished with a wedge of waffle.
If you find the Bakehouse Cafe's main room’s lighting a bit bright, you can kick back in the genteel surrounds of the library with a schmiddy of Little Creatures Pilsner ($6.50) and a Charcuterie Share Plate ($16.70).
The latter dishes up three deli meats, three types of crackers or toast, the same good quality chunky beetroot relish you found on your burger, mixed olives and thick caramelised balsamic sitting in olive oil for dipping.
There’s also an extensive collection of bought-in cakes you can eat-in, or get their friendly staff to wrap up for you takeaway.
What I liked most about Canterbury Leagues Club was that gaming wasn't the first thing I cast eyes upon after walking past their light-up volcano and in through their rather grand front entrance.
The venue's sports bar is tucked away at the back of the venue, and the gaming floor is hidden upstairs, meaning the non-gambler, like myself, can stroll in and visit the Bakehouse Cafe without even being aware it's there.
Canterbury Leagues Club
26 Bridge Road, Belmore
Ph: (02) 9704 7777