The inner city area is having a resurgence and cafes and restaurants are opening in places that were previously known as a dead zone. There’s Spanish tapas, fine French cuisine, German beer houses and funky cafes.
Here are 4 places to eat in Newcastle that we recently discovered and love:
I love the story behind Sprocket Roasters, a bunch of really smart friends decided to get together and roast their own coffee beans.
They are a rogue collective – engineers, farmers, lawyers, teachers, winemakers and yoga instructors – who have quit our day jobs as we have a consuming passion for all things coffee.
We met the owner, Ross, and his father, who were busy building the new in-house roasting facilities on show for patrons to see how the magic works.
Sprocket Roasters aims to bring sustainability to the coffee roasting process and has one of the most environmentally-friendly roasters as it runs on biofuels and café waste.
We knew this was the place to be as locals did not stop filtering into the old heritage listed building that was once the bank in Newcastle’s CBD.
Dressed in running or cycling gear, or carrying surf boards on their way back from the beach, this is the place to grab a cup of fine black stuff as a reward. Others loafed around with the paper and a muffin, or like us, sat down to a home cooked brekkie.
Sprocket Roasters enhances the revitalization of the CBD area and Ross’s father told me their sister cafe, The Social Cuban Cafe, down the end of Hunter St is a place for a bit of coffee and domino lingering. The Social is on the list for next time.
“We work with chicken farmers, that let chickens be chickens. The girls that produce eggs for us are seekers and explorers-depending their days hustling around scratching at dirt to find grubs and insects.”
How could you not love a cafe with this philosophy? They did not disappoint with their guarantee that the food, especially the eggs, are delicious.
Estabar is opposite Newcastle Beach. It’s a relaxed cafe with beach views. It’s small and cosy and the wait staff, super friendly and accommodating. It was not a bother to them that the girls were climbing all over the seat demanding gelato.
Well, at least they didn’t say so! The food is fresh and seasonal, and they serve Single Origin coffee too!
Estabar did not let me down with plenty of gluten-free options.
In keeping with their philosophy that good food does not have to rape the earth, Estabar also turn their food scraps into compost and soil conditioner, halving their waste going into landfill and they source their produce from farmers who care about good soil!
Places like this just ramp up my the-world-is-freakin-amazing juices.
Half way through my meal I fessed up to Cathy Fren, the co-owner of Oma’s Kitchen in Newcastle. “You know before coming here, I’ve never liked sauerkraut, but this is really good and I think you have converted me.”
The I love Oma cafe was created somewhat as a tribute to Cathy’s German grandmother who came over as an immigrant in the 50’s. The traditional German recipes have been passed down from Oma to Cathy and her sisters, who also work in the kitchen, alongside her husband Mark.
The I love Oma cafe has a vibrant, prosting atmosphere, typical of what you would find in a German beirhouse. The German’s know how to have a good time. Their signature dish is the pork knuckles, which they slow cook for 6 hours. Their German hot dogs are also very popular.
Being vegetarian, we missed out on that but made up for it with vegetarian quark patties with red cabbage and tossed salad, vegetarian goulash, baked pretzels, and good German wheat beer – our favourite.
Mark and Cathy also have a stall in the Newcastle’s farmer’s market, the place where they source most of the local produce for their recipes.
Another fantastic German restaurant can be found in Ipswich Qld.
Darby St is where the bohemian is at.
The only problem with it is you may wander up and down for awhile trying to decide whether to sit on the sidewalk in front of an eclectic cafe, out the back in the small courtyard, upstairs in a cosy room, or perhaps in a pub, or fine restaurant.
At least while you are trying to decide you will have plenty of boutique stores to browse in.
On our latest visit to Newcastle, we enjoyed Frankie’s cafe, whose retro decor is playful comfortable. Kalyra and I sat and read a book from the shelf and I shared stories with her of how my mother had the same funky orange food storage containers when I was growing up.
We have previously devoured cake and coffee at The Grind Coffee Co and a delicious salt and pepper prawn and calamari salad at Zinc on Darby.
More ideas for NSW travel
What’s your hot tip for places to eat in Newcastle?