Entice Bistro at Cessnock Leagues Club wins Newcastle/Hunter Valley Your Local Club Perfect Plate award

WINNER: Cessnock Leagues Club sous chef Ashleigh Hedger with the award-winning confit pork belly dish. Picture: Krystal Sellars
WINNER: Cessnock Leagues Club sous chef Ashleigh Hedger with the award-winning confit pork belly dish. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Entice Bistro at Cessnock Leagues Club has taken out the Newcastle and Hunter Valley division of the 2021 Your Local Club Perfect Plate award.

The bistro's confit pork belly was voted the best dish from the 14 Newcastle and Hunter venues that took part in the Clubs NSW competition.

Nearly 160 clubs across NSW entered the competition, with each venue creating its own special dish, and members and patrons invited to score the meals and cast their votes.

More than 50,000 Perfect Plate dishes were purchased during the voting period, which ran from April 29 to June 21.

The competition's ambassadors - celebrity chefs Manu Feildel and Colin Fassnidge - said they were blown away by the quality of club cuisine.

"I'll admit, before travelling around the state to sample Perfect Plate dishes, I hadn't spent very much time in clubs, but the calibre of food is incredible," Feildel said.

"It just goes to show that you don't need to go to a fine dining restaurant to experience fantastic food - it's right there at your local club."

Fassnidge said he was surprised by the variety of food on offer at clubs.

"During the competition I tasted everything from seared scallops to crispy pork belly, and the passion that the clubs' chefs have for their food was great to see," he said.

FIVE STARS: Celebrity chefs Manu Feildel and Colin Fassnidge were at Vincent Street Kitchen and Bar in May as ambassadors for the 2021 Your Local Club Perfect Plate Awards. Picture: ClubsNSW

FIVE STARS: Celebrity chefs Manu Feildel and Colin Fassnidge were at Vincent Street Kitchen and Bar in May as ambassadors for the 2021 Your Local Club Perfect Plate Awards. Picture: ClubsNSW

Lockdown prevented an awards ceremony from going ahead in July, and the winners were announced online in September.

Wenty Leagues Club (large club), The Fraternity Club (medium club) and Club Old Bar (small club) were the statewide winners, revealed along with 13 regional winners in the Zoom ceremony.

Cessnock Leagues Club CEO Paul Cousins said he was thrilled the club has been recognised for its high-quality food during what's been a difficult period for staff, patrons and the wider industry.

"Now that we've reopened I look forward to seeing the community return to the club and try our award-winning dish!" he added.

Fellow Cessnock Hospitality Group venue Vincent Street Kitchen and Bar placed second in the Newcastle-Hunter region with its slow-cooked beef cheek dish.