A quick day trip turned delicious
The drive on the M1 from Sydney to Newcastle is largely an unremarkable one for a big stretch of the journey with punctuations of nature in between and the sudden shock of water near Brooklyn / Spectacle Island or the stretch of water just before Gosford if you’re going the other roads.
It’s about a 3 hour drive from Sydney or 1.5 hours from alcoholics anonymous hotspot also known as the Hunter Valley. It’s a city that many people in Sydney often forget is so relatively close to us and as a result it’s often overlooked a place to spend the weekend.
Newcastle, NSW, is famous for its industry and rich shipping history – and most people know it as the place where that giant ship, the Pasha Bulker, overturned, but there’s a new wave spreading through the town that’s seeing it become a new hotspot for food and culture. What I’ve noticed in my trips there in the past few months is that there’s more and more little foodie joints to check out.
A stroll down the main street of the CBD will find bits and bobs to browse through but I spent most of my time in Emporium Newcastle (185 Hunter St, Newcastle CBD). Left empty after David Jones closed its doors, The Emporium was born, featuring a rotating collection of pop-up stores. There’s jewellery, clothing, furniture and other great locally-made pieces to be found – it’s worth a browse just to support local business and maybe pick up a gift while you’re there.
My first food stop was my current instagram crush is Dougheads Donuts (Shop 3, 200-212 Hunter St Newcastle CBD) – I accidentally stumbled across the golden fried yeasty wonders on Instagram and immediately put them on to-chew list. And boy did they not disappoint. With flavours that change weekly but with appearances from such lovely flavours like Iced VoVo, Lemon Curd, Salted Caramel and Pecan and Potato Chip you’d be silly not to grab one or six. Last time I checked they were about $5 each but definitely worth it. Grab a doughie and head down to The Foreshore park and eat them while people jog past.
After firmly hitting my sweet spot, and after a local recommendation, I made my way to Goldberg’s Coffee House (137 Darby St, Newcastle/Cooks Hill) for a savoury bite to eat. The menu here is substantial and reminiscent of the old-school cafe menus that featured caesar salad and nachos alongside creative pasta dishes, fancy-sounding steak, duck and fish dishes too.
But the difference here is that the food is actually a pretty decent quality, the service is good and the outdoor courtyard is lovely. I arrived after 2pm to find the joint packed and it really didn’t slow down. I ate the Caesar Salad (naturally) and it was delicious – a huge serving with crunchy sourdough breadcrumbs and a generous serve of chicken. The coffee is good here too – roasted by Red Star Coffee for the cafe – it’s so refreshing to find both good food and good coffee in the same location. It’s worth having a walk down Darby St and stick your head into other stores, bars and cafes along the way. This is definitely a cool little part of town.
Other notable mentions include Rolador (1 Beaumont St, Hamilton / Newcastle) where I had the breakfast burrito – probably one of the best breakfast burritos in Australia. And I’ve eaten a lot of burritos. The coffee is nice here too and the setting, although tiny, is made up of vintage mismatched chairs and tables and screams authentic, eclectic hipster. Customer service is here is just as delicious as the breakfast.
And speaking of Burritos, you really should try and spot Antojitos (Various locations) a mobile street kitchen that serves up gluten free almost authentic mexican street food. And the very cool Newy Burger Co. (789 Hunter Street Newcastle) where I can attest to the deliciousness of the Newy Burger and the Susan Gilmore Burger and their crunchy herby chips.
Newcastle – I came, I ate, I conquered and I’ll definitely be back.