Newtown's Bloodwood team opens Popla in Bellingen

Wood-fired chicken with chestnut, rice cake and leek at Popla, from the Bloodwood team.
Wood-fired chicken with chestnut, rice cake and leek at Popla, from the Bloodwood team. 

Beer straight from the tin and food straight from the fireplace – look out Bellingen, there's a new culinary kid in town. Late last year Good Food broke the news that the team from Newtown's Bloodwood restaurant had taken the former site of Oak Street Food & Wine, in northern NSW, where they planned to open a new restaurant, Popla Bellingen.

Bloodwood-turned-Popla chef Mitch Grady has been in Bellingen since April. "I feel like I know half the town already," he says.

Grady, who opened Popla's doors this month, has already tapped into the area's excellent produce, using lamb from Dorrigo and locally grown oyster mushrooms on the opening menu. "There's a fireplace in the kitchen and one in the dining room. And we are making our own flour," he says.

Popla's cosy dining room has a fireplace.
Popla's cosy dining room has a fireplace. 

The tree-changing chef has been heartened by the local support, with Sunday lunch particularly popular in Popla's early weeks. "We offer glasses with our beers, but it is easier to drink out of the tin. People enjoy it, it's good for recycling and they get to enjoy the artwork," he says.

Open dinner Wed-Sat, lunch Sat-Sun.

2 Oak Street, Bellingen, 02 6655 9000, poplabellingen.com