Eat & Drink

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. Happy eating!

Alicia, Newcastle & Central Coast Editor

Chipotle chicken taco – Charlies Rooftop

Thought this place was just a big watering hole? Well, turns out the food is just as top-notch as the cocktail menu. Charlies have got their main menu, as well as an elevated set menu, but it’s their four taco offerings (in particular the chipotle chicken) that will have me returning time and time again.

Southern Fried Chicken Benny – Xtraction Espresso

For a place that’s often pegged as one of the best coffee spots in Newcastle’s CBD, Xtraction Espresso also packs a punch with its food menu. Offering weekly specials, my recent favourite was the Southern Fried Chicken Benny – served on a croissant. Ooft!

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The Toum Raider sandwich – Chiefly West

Known as one of the top spots in town for a sandwich, Chiefly West has won my heart with their Toum Raider classic sandwich, served on a fresh baguette. It’s loaded with house-made pea falafel, pickled daikon, cucumber, toum sauce, cabbage salad, and chilli sauce. A warning: expect things to get a little messy!

Alissa, Director

Oyster Bar – Thermidor

I used to hate oysters – I never understood how anyone could swallow one, let alone chew on them. I’m not sure what happened, but now they’re one of the first things I look for on a menu, so it was a treat to go to Thermidor and try out their Oyster Bar. There’s a lineup of four different flavours and we couldn’t go past the zingy natural oyster option with a white pepper and finger lime mignonette. It was, however, the Bloody Mary oyster with Grey Goose on the rocks that gave us that oyster buzz we love.

Cashew nut and chilli jam stir fry with pork belly – The Curve Thai Restaurant

Thai food is my absolute favourite and The Curve Thai Restaurant, which just opened on Hunter Street, is my new go-to. I’ve already been twice – it’s that good. On my first visit, the cashew nut and chilli jam stir fry with pork belly and vegetables blew me away, while on my second, the stewed lamb shank massaman curry was a winner. I’m eyeing off the panang curry for my next visit!

Amy, Hunter Valley & Port Stephens Editor

Vegan miso ramen – Menya Makoto

A friend and I made a beeline for Hunter Street’s Menya Makoto one recent wet, dreary Friday evening. This unassuming Japanese restaurant packs a punch, and the vegan miso ramen was the flavourful, warming, comfort dish I needed. Piping hot house-made broth, slurp-worthy noodles, and plenty of veggies on top – I now get cravings for it whenever the weather takes a turn.

Woodfired panini – Local Customs

Local Customs has created quite the buzz since opening this March. One menu item in particular has been the talk of the town, and I knew I had to try it as soon as I heard about it – the woodfired panini. The OG comes with fried eggs and black forest bacon sandwiched in a 48-hour fermented pizza dough panini, plus smoked cheddar, house-made chilli jam, pickled onions, rocket, and herbs. I put my own vegetarian spin on it by subbing the bacon for haloumi (which the cafe suggests) and added the crispy, fluffy house hash. It’s the scrummiest lunch I’ve had in a long while, and I’m already plotting when I can eat it again.

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Sweet potato gnocchi – Parry Street Garage

I’ve eaten at Parry Street Garage many times over the years, and while there’s a lot to love across the extensive menu, I always come back to the sweet potato gnocchi. In fact, I think about it often in between visits. On a recent outing, I didn’t stray, and was greeted with hefty yet pillowy pan-fried sweet potato gnocchi, creamy feta, fresh cavolo nero, and crunchy walnuts – a combination of ingredients that works so well. Let the dreaming about my next bowl of this knock-out gnocchi commence.

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Erica, Advertising and Partnerships Manager

Baked saganaki cheese – Blanca

Since opening in December 2023, Blanca has been delighting diners with its winning combination of excellent Mediterranean food, delicious cocktails, and interiors to match. If you’ve had the baked saganaki cheese, you’ll know why I’m still thinking about this dish! Brought out sizzling in its pan, the crispy yet melty cheese is complemented by spicy harissa, oregano, chilli, and Malfroy’s honey. Scoop it up with the coal fired flatbread (sprinkled with sesame seeds, dukkah, and hazelnuts) and you’ll feel like you’re in Greece.

Margarita with ham toastie – Albie’s Coffee Bar

I couldn’t write up my recent faves without a mention of my local go-to, Albie’s Coffee Bar at The Entrance. This hole-in-the-wall spot serves up a cracking coffee, but it’s the margarita with ham toastie that I’m still thinking about. Perfectly cheesy with plenty of flavour and that satisfying crunch – everything a good toastie should have!

Kingfish ceviche – 8 at Trinity

If you haven’t yet been to 8 at Trinity, what are you waiting for? This stunning lakeside restaurant has garnered plenty of hype since opening, and for good reason. I recently ate the kingfish ceviche, which features avocado mousse, yuzu, green apple, finger lime, and avruga caviar. It might be a big call, but I reckon it’s the restaurant’s yummiest and prettiest dish.

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Jas, Sub-Editor and Accounts Manager

Prawn tostada and corn ribs – The Del

When I heard there was a new menu at The Del, I knew it was time to take the family for a visit. It was hard to decide what to eat, but in the end I went for two sharing dishes (which I most certainly did not share): the prawn cocktail tostada, with iceberg lettuce, avocado, and salmon caviar mary rose sauce, and fried corn ribs with manchego and smoked chilli mayo. Both of them were delicious. In hindsight, I should have shared with my family so I could sample their dishes as well. Next time.

Yangnyeom chicken – Jjindakk

Beaumont Street’s Korean fried chicken restaurant has been on my list to try since it opened late last year. Jjindakk definitely lived up to my expectations! I tried a few of the chicken flavours, and my favourite was the peanutty Yangnyeom chicken – a generous serving of succulent, boneless, crunchy fried chicken that’s a tiny bit spicy and full of flavour.

best things HUNTERhunter team have eaten recently newcastle