A round-up of our favourite feeds from eateries in Newcastle and surrounds
At HUNTERhunter, it’s no secret that we love food. It’s kind of our whole deal! So, naturally, we spend a lot of time eating our way around Newcastle and its surrounding regions.
These are some of the dishes we’ve eaten around town recently that really wowed us. Some are menu items we order on repeat, some are dishes that have surprised us and stuck with us, and the rest are just plain scrumptious.
We also asked you – our lovely readers – for the best dishes you’ve eaten around Newcastle recently. We loved hearing about the tastiest food you’ve devoured of late – keep reading for some of the highlights (hint: Novocastrians are seafood-obsessed!)
Amy, Hunter Valley & Port Stephens editor
Crumpets from Momo Wholefood
Momo Wholefood is one of my favourite cafes in Newcastle – the food is consistently delicious, the space is beautiful, and the staff are super friendly. I recently had the crumpets – not for the first time – and they were a delight. Think light and fluffy crumpets, fresh fruit, a lovely crunch from the sweet dukkah, a moreish berry jam, and whipped coconut yoghurt to cut through the sweetness. These taste like spring on a plate.
Eggplant, stracciatella, basil & pane carasau from Arno Deli
When you dine at Arno Deli on a Friday night, it’s easy to feel as if you’re in a little aperitivo hotspot in Italy. Order a bottle of sangiovese for the table, grab a selection of snacks to share, and you’re in for a treat of an evening. While I enjoyed everything I devoured when I dined at Arno Deli recently, this bite-sized eggplant dish was a favourite. The eggplant was tender, the carasau (a type of flatbread from Sardinia) crunchy and wafer thin, and the stracciatella creamy. Bellissimo.
Nobby’s Bowl from The Berry Brothers
At even the slightest hint of warm, sunny weather, I get intense cravings for smoothie bowls. Call me basic, but they’re the perfect serving of pick-me-up goodness. A recent favourite is the Nobby’s Bowl from The Berry Brothers. It’s made with maqui berries and topped with blueberries, strawberries, coconut, granola, plus a dollop of peanut butter for good measure.
Watermelon sashimi from Light Years Asian Diner
It sounds whacky, but watermelon that’s been cooked so that its texture resembles sashimi is a revelation. I first had a similar dish at 8 at Trinity, where watermelon was roasted and paired with aged balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, and burrata. The watermelon sashimi at Light Years Asian Diner obviously had an Asian bent (featuring soy and sesame), and it was delicious. I don’t claim to know how this witchcraft is achieved, I only know that it’s incredible. I don’t believe this dish is on the permanent menu yet, but keep an eye out so you can try it for yourself.
Alicia, Newcastle & Central Coast editor
Puff bread from Market St Basement
An absolute iconic venue in Newcastle, Market St Basement has recently launched its ‘build your own’ antipasto menu. If you’re anything like the carb-loving person I am, you are going to want the puff bread every night of the week. Pair it with some nduja, prosciutto crudo, and burrata, and buon appetito!
Charcuterie board from Good Nights at Good Brother
Good Brother Espresso officially brought Good Nights at Good Brother back this September and I haven’t stopped thinking about the charcuterie board. Loaded with juicy house-marinated olives, pickled vegetables, plus cheese, meat, and crackers, it was certainly the elevated version of girl dinner.
Lemon Slab from Slab Cheesecakes
If you’ve not tried Slab Cheesecakes yet, what on earth have you been doing? The little hole-in-the-wall joint in Islington has been slinging out its scrumptious treats and the lemon Slab has me still drooling just thinking about it. The only letdown? I NEED MORE!
Sea scallops from 8 at Trinity
8 at Trinity over in Morisset has taken not only the local dining scene by storm, but has pulled in keen foodies from all over the country to sample the extensive menu and delight in the venue’s fitout. If you’ve yet to visit, or are planning on heading back, do yourself a favour and order a plate of the sea scallops – delicate, fresh, and slightly sweet.
Corn ribs from Rooftop at QT
What on earth is a corn rib? This was what came directly out of my mouth when reading the Rooftop at QT menu. Unsurprisingly, it’s in the name. It's a corn… rib. Curling up when cooked, they look just like a meat rib. Drowned in yuzu kosho butter, the corn ribs from Rooftop at QT are a tasty snack or side dish. But are they tastier than a meat rib? I’ll let you decide.
Sweet corn fritters from The Village Newcastle
I’m not usually a going out for breakfast kind of person, so when I do I don’t like to be disappointed. Following a recent visit to The Village Newcastle on Beaumont Street my eating out at breakfast habits are going to become more regular. The Greek-influenced menu is a winner straight up, and the freshness of each dish made me wish I hadn’t eaten for a week so I could try more. The sweet corn fritters with tirokafteri, bacon, poached egg, and kefalotyri cheese were so satisfying. The flavours combined with the massive mural of Oia in Santorini made me want to jump on a plane to the Greek Islands ASAP.
Kleftiko lamb shoulder from Rustica
A recent visit to Rustica on Newcastle Beach was long overdue – so overdue that I’d forgotten just how beautiful the space is. The mandatory study of the menu before arriving had my eyes on the Kleftiko lamb shoulder, which Rustica have had on the menu since they launched back in 2011, and are known best for. It’s a mammoth meal, even shared between two, but it’s hard to leave any behind. The lamb literally melts in your mouth and the crispy oregano potatoes, whilst delicious on their own, make for great tools to soak up any leftover sauce.
Lightly torched Port Lincoln sardine fillets from Nagisa
If you haven't been to a Nagisa dinner event, you're missing out. I recently went along to the Nagisa X Farmers Wife event and the food was next level. The highlight was the sardine fillet dish which was drizzled with warm oil of lemon myrtle juniper and finger lime, and accompanied by Japanese pickles, caramelised yuzu, and toasted shokupan milk bread which I lathered in umami butter. Don't miss the next one!
Jas, sub-editor and accounts manager
Miso squid from Urban Deli
Urban Deli has become one of my favourite places on Darby Street, and its menu is always changing. I’ve enjoyed lobster rolls, mussels, and the charcuterie boards, often with a wine or two. A few months ago, I tried the pan roasted squid. Marinated in miso overnight, it was served with citrus and soy glaze, sea spinach, olive crumb and black garlic aioli – a delicious flavour combination I couldn’t stop thinking about. Sadly, it is no longer on the menu but fingers crossed it will make another appearance in the future. The new menu includes other favourites like the beef carpaccio (with lemon emulsion, fried capers, grana padano, and rocket), as well as pierogi and burrata.
Goan prawn curry from Avatara
Another Darby Street favourite, Avatara is worth visiting a few times to try everything on the menu. One of the best curries I’ve had there recently is the Goan curry with prawns, served in a creamy spiced coconut sauce with tamarind. A close contender is the puff ball, stuffed with potato, onions, coriander, green capsicum and a trio of chutney, mint and yoghurt, date and tamarind and passionfruit syrup.
Duck roti from Eight Buns
I’ve loved Peking duck pancakes since eating them as a child with my family at yum cha. The dumplings at Eight Buns on Beaumont Street are delicious, but the duck roti needs a special mention. The Chinese roti with Beijing duck and cucumber is in the ‘must-try’ section of the menu and they’re not wrong. It’s now my repeat order there. With crisp roti and succulent duck, it’s great to get as takeaway, and even better when you dine in.
The best things our readers have eaten recently
Kingfish ceviche from Light Years Asian Diner
Our readers were singing the praises of the kingfish ceviche from Light Years Asian Diner, calling it "superb, always", "plate-lickingly good", and even going so far as to say they could live on it. Luckily for you, we got Executive Chef Robbie Oijvall to share the recipe with us, so you can recreate it at home.
Merguez and prawn spaghetti from Elementa
Elementa received a lot of love when we put the call out to our readers, but one reader loved this dish in particular.
"Merguez sausage and prawn spaghetti and the beef brisket. Absolutely sensational. Generous portions and 10/10 on the flavour scale."
Mushroom tartine from Equium Social
Our fabulous photographer Sophie Tyler put it best when it comes to the food at Equium Social.
"I'm pretty much the hype girl for the mushroom tartine from Equium Social. I'm never getting over it."
Nduja pasta from Humbug
Humbug is much-loved by Newcastle diners, and our readers are no exception.
"The nduja pasta from Humbug is literally the best pasta I have had in a long time. The stracciatella on top just made the spicy nduja dish so so delicious. Plus their housemade pasta was just to die for. Perfectly al dente."
Osso buco alla Milanese from Lock's Paddock
Lock's Paddock popped up among our readers as another Newcastle favourite, and the osso buco alla Milanese takes the cake for one reader.
"The perfect balance of flavours. Blew my mind. I might have loved it more than the cacio e pepe!"
Pan roasted scallops from The Wild Flower Bar & Dining
One reader loved everything on the menu at The Wild Flower Bar & Dining at Bells at Killcare, but the pan roasted scallops with cauliflower, currants, Pedro Ximenez, and pine nuts were "particularly amazing."
Prawn and scallop claypot from Newcastle & Port Stephens Game Fish Club
There's not much better than eating seafood that's been caught right on your doorstep. Several readers agreed that the prawn and scallop claypot from Newcastle & Port Stephens Game Fish Club in Shoal Bay was "absolutely delicious."
Spanner crab doughnut from Thermidor
"Mind blowing" is how one reader described the spanner crab doughnut from Thermidor, while another reader told us they could eat five of them. Why not go and do just that?
Spicy glazed cauliflower from The Lost Souls
"The spicy glazed cauliflower at The Lost Souls in Darby Street is to die for. If you think cauliflower is boring think again."
Szechuan spiced chicken wings from Leaves and Fishes
While there was plenty of praise for Leaves and Fishes on our socials, the szechuan spiced chicken wings with pepper caramel and roasted peanuts emerged as a favourite. Spicy yet sweet, crispy yet succulent – count us in.