To be honest I’m a little surprised at how much I enjoyed our beach side stay in Newcastle last weekend. Whilst wandering around the area near our hotel (The Sebel) on my way to the beach I was struck by what a lovely area this is – beautiful weatherboard cottages are interspersed with terraces that wouldn’t look out of place in Paddington. These jut up against a huddle of new apartment blocks and cafes all vying for a prime view of the glorious coast line. The area feels a little like a beach side suburb of Melbourne, or Balmain by the sea...I like it.
We were in Newcastle as The Boy had a weekend of refereeing water polo. I thought I’d tag along for the ride and maybe work on my tan, relax, read a book and see what this city has to offer.
Before The Boy dashed off to be sporty for the weekend we grabbed a quick lunch near our hotel . Not knowing anything about the area we settled on the cafe that was the most busy and right near our hotel – Elements Cafe Deli – which had ocean glimpses. If we’d walked another 50 meters and turned the corner we would’ve
found a cafe with a full-frontal ocean view. Oh well, next time.
We started things off will a cool drink - we were visiting Newcastle on one of the first sunny weekends all summer. My inner-child couldn't resist the Raspberry Slushie ($4.00) and The Boy fell in love with the wickedly naughty (but oh so tasty) Chunky Monkey ($6.50) - a divine concoction of Banana, Coffee, Chocolate Syrup and Choc Chips. The Chunky Monkey has got to be the best thing on offer at this cafe - trust me, I had enough "little sips" to know.
The Boy choose the BLAT Sandwich ($14.50) for his lunch - toasted brioche sandwiching bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado with a side of Beer Battered Fries. Judging from the silence at his end of the table whilst eating this I'd guess it was pretty good.
Because I really wanted Beer Battered Fries myself I ordered the Falafel Burger ($15.50) which comes with a healthy (or hefty depending on which way you look at it) serving of these awesomely fluffy-on-the-inside-yet-crunch-on-the-outside fries.
After lunch The Boy headed off to the local pool to do his thing and I wandered down to the Ocean Baths to bob around in the water for a few hours. I can say without a doubt that this was one of the most blissfully relaxing afternoons I've had in a long while which was much needed after we started the morning with a beyond HORRIBLE nasty Body Corporate meeting. The sky was blue and cloudless, and the water clear and heartstoppingly refreshing. The pool wasn't very crowded, just filled with people happy to bob around and enjoy themselves too.
Initially I was going to order a room-service dinner in my room as I just find eating dinner alone in a restaurant a really....lonely experience. I'll happily chow down a bowl of noodles at Mappen by myself or visit a Sushi Train as I don't feel so conspicuous being alone, but put me in a restaurant by myself and I feel like I want to cry. When I was walking by Elements on my way back from the beach they were fairly quiet so I grabbed a table outside and embarked on a solo dinner.
Their dinner menu is quite small, just a few entrees and mains. I wasn't feeling like a heavy meal so I ordered the Smoked Salmon Stack with Wontons ($12.00) from the entree menu and a side of Garlic Bread ($6.50). When I asked was was "in" the wontons the chef came out to have a chat to me and assure me no pork, just the wonton skin on its lonesome. I thought it was nice to see the chef come out of the kitchen and answer a customers questions. The salad was great, a zesty mix of capers and Spanish onion really complimented the smoked salmon.
The next morning I was ready to explore a new cafe...one with a beach side view perhaps however The Boy had his little heart set on having another Chunky Monkey - he's become an addict as he got one to take away for the drive home later that same day. I decided on an Iced Coffee without the ice-cream and just a wee dollop of cream on top - it was a great cup of coffee, really got the heart started for the day. I also enjoyed drinking most of The Boy's Chunky Monkey.
The Boy had eaten his own weight in room service the night before so kept things simple with Scrambled Eggs on Toast ($10.50). For breakfast I chose the Breakfast Bruschetta ($11.00) which was a really enjoyable meal - loved it. The grilled bread was topped with a creamy feta, tomatoes, avocado, rocket and a balsamic reduction. Really really nice way to start the day.
After breakfast it was back to the local pool for The Boy and back to the Ocean Baths for me for more...bobbing and relaxing.
Elements Cafe Deli is at 3 King Street Newcastle. Phone them on (02) 4929 1588.