A new Asian inspired, and just a little bit hard to find, cocktail bar and restaurant arrives to King St
Ginger Meg's is all about people coming in to relax, enjoy the food, the cocktails and be taken away for a while.See our handpicked guides to Newcastle
Just when you thought Newcastle’s dining and drinking scene had hits its peak… in slides Ginger Meg's!
Whilst seeming to appear out of nowhere, the newest addition to King Street's ever-evolving dining precinct is a sophisticated Asian inspired cocktail
bar and restaurant that will blow-your-mind!
Brought to you by the team behind Parry St Garage and Merewether Surfhouse, owners Marc Allardice and Ryan Baird have pushed all the boundaries, both in design and flavours, with Ginger Meg's. Chatting with Marc and Ryan, their passion for Newcastle is evident with this almighty undertaking being the ultimate tribute to a city that’s growing up in a big way.
How long has Ginger Meg's been in the works?
Ryan - While we were working on Parry St Garage we always had this in the back of our minds, so it’s probably been around three or four years.
Marc - Parry St Garage was either going to be Italian or Asian, it was a bit of a toss-up between the two, but the space was a nice fit for wood-fired pizza so we put this one on the back burner and we thought if Parry St Garage was successful we would go again.
We’d always wanted to do a mod Chinese or a pan Asian something in Newcastle and we felt the market was ready for it, it just took a while to get there.
It’s a completely different feel to Parry St Garage and Surfhouse, what brought you to King St?
Marc – Finding the right space was a challenge, we like new spaces and bringing our own ambience and vibe, and we love King St. This precinct
is sensational, there’s a wide choice of food now and that’s why we want to be involved and help to bring more people into the area.The space is really unique, not your conventional bar/restaurant layout, was that what you liked about it?
Marc - What appealed to us about this building is that it doesn’t have windows, we liked the idea that as soon as you walk down that laneway you could really be taken away to anywhere in the world, and you’re not looking out onto King St or Hunter St.
Ryan – Totally, you’re just in a really beautiful restaurant, having really good food, enjoying yourself, and be taken away for two or three hours before heading back out onto King St.
We also want to encourage late night dining, so if you've been out and about having drinks or have been upstairs in the bar you can come in at nine or ten o'clock, so we're looking to have the restaurant open as late as possible of a night time. We think Newcastle people want this, there are other cities that have it, and we should have it as well.
The Bar area is huge, can people just come in for a drink?
Ryan - Absolutely, we wanted to create a Cocktail bar feel, we felt there is a good market for it. The area seats up to 100 – 120 people with table seating and booths to relax in which we think people want. The Asian theme runs throughout the bar as well with sweet and coconut flavours, lots of lychees and lemon grass and five spice spirits
and the menu, what can we expect?
Ryan – We’ve kept an Asian inspired theme throughout the restaurant, our Head chef Jordan was born in Jakarta and has spent a lot of time in Indonesia. We’ve both travelled throughout Asia a lot but Ginger Meg's wasn’t born from our travels, we just know we love it, a bit like Parry St Garage, it’s just what we want to do.
Marc - Jordan has had some great experience, he’s cut his teeth in some pretty good restaurants like Rockpool, Chin Chin in Melbourne and Spice Temple. I’ve known Jordan for a long time and when we started talking about doing an Asian inspired restaurant we went straight to him.
That’s such a great score for Newcastle
Ryan – We’re very lucky, that doesn’t happen every day - super lucky to have that in the back pocket and it’s helped amazingly to get Ginger Meg's
off the ground, and give the food that authenticity. Particularly with the curries, everything is made from the ground spices, old spices, the real
old school proper way, he won’t have it done any other way - let me tell you [Ryan laughs]. If it takes an extra hour or so to prepare the base of
the curry, that doesn’t matter, it is great and has helped with our point of difference.
Any specific Asian flavours or is the menu a bit of a mix?
Ryan - We’re a blend of Pan Asian, we don’t want to be anything in particular. We’re drawing from lots of different countries; China, South East Asian, and Malaysia, we’re touching on some Indonesian and Indian flavours as well. Possibly in the future we’ll tap into some Sri Lankan food, but we’re not going everywhere instead working with what’s not already available in the precinct.
The design and fit out is incredible, how did that all come together?
Marc - The artwork is by Melbourne artist Adnate. We’d seen some of his work around Newcastle, he was here with Hit the Bricks a few years ago,
and thought this is our guy. He was in France at the time and we emailed him and said mate any chance you’d be interested in doing some work in Newcastle
again and he was really keen to do something different. Then he sent back this mock-up and were like – done!
Ryan - He’s an incredible artist, everything is done by hand and spray cans and he just works off his phone, the result is amazing, the eyes follow you all over the room.
There’s no signage out the front, did you purposely want to make it difficult to find?
It’s a bit of fun the walkway down the laneway, you’ve kind of got to know about it and have the confidence to walk down it. We worked with Jason Elsley
from Derive Architecture, who did a great job with Parry St Garage, and visually what we wanted to do was design the space so that even when you
walked inside you didn’t know there was a restaurant around the corner or a bar upstairs, which all adds to the mystery.