I’m sorry for my absence, but I took a few weeks off to travel back to Australia and visit my family and friends. I am currently settling back into Indonesian life, but I wanted to share a little insight into my recent trip home.
When I arrived back home, everybody kept asking me what I wanted to do while I was here. I realised that my main response always involved food (what else is new!) I generally lead a very healthy and balanced lifestyle, so when I’m away I do like to stay somewhat active, whether it means walking around and checking out the sights, or jumping at the chance to do a boxing class with my besties. However, I definitely don’t stress about what type of foods I’ve eaten, or how many glasses of wine I’ve consumed. Because at the end of the day, holidays, and life in general are meant to be enjoyed.
Now don’t get me wrong, Indonesia is full of amazing exotic foods, but sometimes, there’s just no place like home. And let’s be honest, there’s no better way to spend time with your family and friends than over a delicious meal. I guess you never realise how good you have it until you move away. So, I decided that I MUST try to eat at as many places I could manage. That’s when ‘Project Eat My Way Through Newcastle’ was created.
Because I’m an avid believer that ‘life is all about balance’, I wanted to include a mixture of great health food cafe’s, along with hearty comfort foods. I couldn’t possibly write about every single place that I went to during my visit, so sadly I had to narrow it down to my absolute favourite places to eat around Newcastle, and the Hunter.
First up is Core Espresso, which is located on Darby Street in Newcastle. My friend Sam recommended this cafe to me so we decided to go there for brekkie after our BUF Girls Boxing Class. This cafe definitely delivered the goods! I ordered a Long Black with almond milk, followed by a Nutella Chia Pudding. Oh. My. God. It was amazing. Not only was the chia pudding itself delicious, it was topped with fresh strawberries, banana, granola, and the most important topping of all… Nutella! The menu at Core Espresso is every health foodies dream. They also accommodate to any dietary requirements, and offer almond, coconut, and macadamia milk as dairy replacements. It is a great little cafe right in the heart of Newcastle, and I can’t wait to go back and try more off their menu.
My Husband, Sister, and Brother-in-law ended up at Peterson House for an unplanned lunch one Sunday afternoon, after someone (me) left their handbag in Maitland so instead of heading out to Nelson Bay for lunch, we found ourselves in the Hunter Valley. Peterson House is located in the beautiful vineyards of the Hunter Valley, so you get an amazing view with your lunch. I have been to Peterson’s a few times in the past, and the food and service has always been outstanding. Not to mention, they also have a chocolate shop next to the restaurant. I ordered a Beetroot & Ricotta Gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, feta, and roasted almonds. I’m a sucker for any sort of pasta dish and always carry high expectations, this one did not disappoint. My sister also ordered the same meal, and was equally impressed. After lunch, we moved to their outside deck where they now have an oyster bar. Even though we were full from our lunch, we couldn’t not order a little seafood platter, and another cheeky glass of bubbly. The seafood was so fresh and tasty, we enjoyed it happily with our glass of champagne while listening to a local band play.
The Little Nel Cafe which is in Nelson Bay, was one of my favourite finds. Chris and I decided to have breakfast here one morning before we hiked up Tomaree Mountain. Similar to Core Espresso, The Little Nel offered loads of vegan and gluten-free options. I went with their Acai Plate, yes that’s right, not and Acai Bowl, an Acai PLATE. This was the most original take on the super trendy acai bowl that I’ve come across. The acai itself was in the form of a mousse, which was then topped with a coconut cloud, puffed black rice, quinoa, and nut granola. It was incredible! At first I thought that the rice was a weird extra, but it worked so well and added a nice crunchy texture. The coconut cloud was probably my favourite part, and I would love to know how they did this. It was icy and refreshing. With our bellies nice and satisfied, we were able to conquer Tomaree Mountain.
This next place I’m going to talk about is mine and Chris’ all time favourite place in Newcastle, and is located on Hunter Street. All of our friends and family will know exactly where I’m talking about… it’s The Happy Wombat. When Chris and I were living in Sydney, every time we could come back to Newcastle for a weekend we would always go to The Happy Wombat. For real, we would go to the Wombat before we went and saw our family. The love is real. This trip home was no exception. We both ordered our go-to’s – Veggie Tacos for me, Chicken Tacos for Chris. Of course we couldn’t eat our tacos without one of their amazing craft beers, which are always on tap. My other recommendations to try at The Happy Wombat, apart from the tacos of course, is the Pulled Pork Sliders, Pork Belly Bites (mouth-watering!), Arancini of the Day, Chilli Squid, and the Cuban Sandwich. It’s actually difficult for me to narrow the menu down, because honestly, it’s all too delicious. Between the food and the service at The Happy Wombat, it’s impossible not to be happy!
Another health foodies dream, and another favourite discovery of mine was Clean Eats and Healthy Treats which is located on Stockton Street in Nelson Bay. I was so excited to find this place because their main focus is creating healthy raw cakes and treats. They also offer smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, and loads of other healthy goodies. I tried their Raw Snickers Cake, I couldn’t believe how good it tasted and how similar it was to an actual Snickers bar. The cake was so good, I HAD to take two more home for later. The other two that I took home with me were a Gooey Caramel, and a Cookies and Cream cake. They were just as yummy. The best thing about these cakes is that they satisfy your sweet cravings without being too rich and leaving you feeling sick after. If you guys are ever in Nelson Bay, definitely check them out.
If you’re looking for a complete cultural experience look no further, because Habesha is where it’s at! Habesha specialises in traditional Ethiopian cuisine and it is a true experience the minute you walk through the door. Because Ethiopian food is traditionally eaten with your hands, Habesha perform a hand washing ceremony before you are served your dishes. Along with your meals, you receive a flat bread which is called Injera, it is a soft and spongy crepe-like bread that you tear off and use as your utensil. The dishes themselves were full of flavour, and packed a punch! Between the four of us, Chris, Sarah, Matt, and myself, we ordered the Miser Wot (Red Lentils), Siga Wot (Beef), Yesega Tibs (Beef), and Ye Beg Alicha (Lamb) – every dish was as delicious as the last. They also have an extensive vegetarian menu which I wished I could’ve eaten my way through. The whole experience was just a good time, and the four of us left with full and happy bellies.
No holiday back home is complete without a night out with your girls. Thankfully for me, my friends are avid foodies just like me. So when it came to decide where we would go, they knew just the right place, Barcito on Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Barcito serves Latin and South American inspired dishes, and also holds an Argentinian BBQ every Sunday. From the cocktails, to the wine, to the food, the girls were right, this place was amazing! Our table was full of Empanadas, Provoleta, Tostados, and Entrana, with delicious sides of Potatoes and Green’s with Puffed Quinoa. Nothing is better than catching up with your friends over some amazing wine and food.
Before I show you the photo from Barcito, I need to mention the lengths we went to in order to snap it. You don’t always have the best lighting in restaurants, but I knew I needed to write about Barcito on my blog, and NEEDED a good pic to accompany the story. So my friends, being the awesome friends that they are, took it upon themselves to help me get that ‘must needed photo’. Erin, Tanika, and Sam all held up their phone torches, while Morgan, who has much longer arms and reach than my little T-rex ones do, snapped the epic food pic. I can’t imagine how we looked to the other patrons and staff, but I must admit it was pretty hilarious how committed to getting the picture we were.
All in all, I would say that ‘Project Eat My Through Newcastle’ was a smashing success. I would highly recommend trying any of these places if you haven’t already. Not only did I discover great restaurants, but I also realised that great experiences generally are created by great company.
The Healthy Mermaid x