Filipino flavours arrive in Newcastle West
Hunter Street welcomes a new restaurant offering a cuisine first for our city’s CBD. Welcome to The Palace in Newcastle – Newcastle’s home of Filipino cuisine.
Opened by Filipino-born, now Novocastrian, Vicky Fernandez, The Palace in Newcastle is here to bring a new tantalising flavour to our local foodies alongside their quirky South-East Asia-inspired interiors.
Officially launching (for the second time) earlier this year in January, The Palace in Newcastle has welcomed many a Filipino and the keen cuisine curious through their doors.
With Vicki at the helm, alongside the help of a dedicated team including her daughter, Lovely, a visit to The Palace is like being greeted with a warm hug.
“I’ve spent my whole life here since I was three years old, but our family is still very cultural and we’ve grown up still eating all the same food that we would have if we lived in The Philippines. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much of a Filipino food offering here in Newcastle, so it was a good place for us to start here,” Lovely said.
Situated in what some may remember as the former Bao Brothers After Dark venue, the Hunter Street space is almost unrecognisable. Enter through the front door into a casual high-top dining space before wandering down the hallway and into a cosy oasis complete with bamboo-lined walls, lush green accents, and fairy lights.
“When mum changed the aesthetic of the restaurant, she wanted it to be comfortable and didn’t want anything flashy. You’re supposed to come here and eat with your friends. That’s what Filipino food is, it’s supposed to be shared and enjoyed together.”
Enough about the space – what about the food?
For those new to Filipino cuisine (myself included), before you jump on in and order from the menu, there are a few things to note –
Firstly, they love their meat. Secondly, Filipino cuisine has developed through a range of different cultures. And thirdly, it offers a unique flavour profile of sweet, sour, and salty.
“It’s really hard to describe Filipino food. Think stewy and saucy flavours.”
The first dish to examine is the unofficial dish of The Philippines, the Chicken or Pork Adobo cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, onion, whole black pepper, bay leaf, and capsicum.
“The Adobo people will have most likely not seen before. It’s the unintentional national dish of The Philippines. They don’t necessarily blast that dish as the national dish, but it’s what we eat the most of there.”
The Beef Caldereta with tender savoury and tangy beef stew cooked with potatoes, capsicum, carrot, and green peas is another highly suggested dish to try for first-timers.
“Filipino cuisine is very much catered for sharing. That’s what our culture is about – wanting to share meals together.”
Officially open seven days a week, from 11am-3pm, 5.30pm-9pm, The Palace in Newcastle also offers BYO (no corkage) and has big plans to use the entirety of the building – if you experienced Bao Brothers After Dark you’ll know exactly what space we’re talking about.