Eat & Drink

Eat Local: The Best Of Newcastle’s Foodie Scene

Steel, coal and timber may have once been the lifeblood of Newcastle, but these days a visit to Sydney’s sister city is more likely to be about good food – and lots of it. In the past 15 years, the port city two hours from Sydney has transformed into one of the most liveable and sustainable cities in the world. On the Newcastle food scene, healthy eating is on the rise, and with it a good dose of wholefood and plant-based cafés and restaurants.

Foodies will also find their share of cosy tapas dens, pizza joints and dessert bars to strike the right balance on a trip to the city. Here are our top Newcastle food picks.

#1 Baked Uprising

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Baked Uprising is reason enough to cycle Newcastle’s foreshore to Maryville. The inner-city micro bakery and café boasts single-origin sourdough, pastries, tarts and one of the best whole-wheat croissants you’ll try – packed with Near River nitrate-free ham, Gruyère cheese and a mustard bechamel that sings.

Everything is low-impact, from the syrups in the sodas to the house-made kimchi and cultured butter. Organic coffee beans come courtesy of Pablo and Rusty. Order a macadamia milk latte for a taste sensation.

Where: Baked Uprising, 21/25 Downie Street, Maryville


#2 The Autumn Rooms

Chic newcomer The Autumn Rooms adds a touch of luxe to Darby Street – with French bubbles and cocktails at breakfast. The food menu focuses on fresh, seasonal flavours and local produce where possible. Buttermilk waffles are drizzled in Fair Trade dark chocolate. The mushroom toasty is crowned with a Cornucopia biodynamic egg. Lunch bowls are packed with fresh flavours.

The Tea Collective’s Bec Fowler is a co-owner and her award-winning teas arrive with a timer set to perfectly brew.

Where: The Autumn Rooms, 127 Darby Street, Cooks Hill


#3 Pickled and Pressed

Pickled and Pressed leads the charge when it comes to plant-based eating done well. The breakfast and lunch menu is brimming with gut-happy sprouted grains, pickled vegetables, activated nuts and cultured nut butters.

Find a sunny spot in the courtyard and try the chef’s tasting menu at lunch – a sample of bites that can include beet burgers, sprouted chickpea humus and fermented dosa flatbread. Juices are cold-pressed and there are tempting raw desserts, too.

Where: Pickled and Pressed, 98 Glebe Road, The Junction


#4 Momo Wholefood

A short walk from Newcastle Art Gallery is Momo Wholefood. The light-filled interior is as pretty as the food – a seasonal vegan menu inspired by Indian and Asian flavours. That could mean zucchini pakora fritters with pickled cucumber or a hearty plate of steamed Tibetan dumplings filled with tofu and vegetables. Zest kombucha is on tap with refreshing flavours like lime and mint. Look out for the weekly specials board.

Where: Momo Wholefood, 227 Hunter Street, Newcastle


#5 Parry St Garage

Local favourite Parry St Garage is cavernous in size – with a menu of Italian food that’s just as extensive. Novocastrians flock to Parry St on weekends for the hand-made pasta and pizza dough leavened for 24 hours – the bianco base topped with porcini, smoked provolone and truffle oil is bellissimo.

For the best seat in the house, sit up at the marble-topped bar where you can order a wine and antipasto or dive into the full menu.

Where: Parry St Garage, 106 Parry Street, Newcastle West


#6 Talulah Bar

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Share plates and Mediterranean flavours drive the tapas menu at Talulah Bar. Locals come here for the Israeli couscous, a satisfying eggplant, haloumi, and roasted pumpkin dish with lots of sweet crunch and bite.

The seasonal menu makes the most of local and ethical produce – like blackened corn on the cob served with a smear of romesco sauce and Parmesan. Be sure to order the gnocchi with chorizo and sautéed mushrooms. It’s made fresh each afternoon and melts in the mouth.

Where: Talulah Bar, 52 Glebe Road, The Junction


#7 The Milkbar

You’ll want to spam your Instagram account on a visit to The Hood Milkbar. The gelato-inspired desert bar doesn’t do things by halves – with over-the-top freakshakes, triple-scoop waffle cones and dessert tacos drizzled with Nutella (straight from a chocolate fountain tap, no less).

For a retro taste sensation, don’t go past the Spider, which features redskin gelato topped with Coke-bottle lollies, cream and sherbert. There are also sweet jaffles, cakes, slushies and smoothies.

Where: The Hood Milkbar, 188 Union Street, The Junction


#9 Blue Door

Newcastle food institution Blue Door shot to fame with a green breakfast bowl so Instagrammed, Channel 7’s Sydney Weekender came knocking. The Wheeler Place café continues to deliver simple dishes done well – with a focus on gluten-free meals and cold-pressed juices.

You can still order the green bowl – a health-packed mix of kale, asparagus and quinoa topped with a poached egg. But, there’s also fresh poke bowls and a heavenly salmon benny with kale mayo.

Where: Blue Door, 363–365 Hunter Street, Newcastle

It’s a foodie’s ideal on the NSW Central Coast, with the Newcastle food scene ready impress – and you can even hit the beach right afterwards.

(Lead image: The Autumn Rooms)