The Novel Novocastrian Pt.3 by Kian West


The Novel Novocastrian

The Random Ramblings of a Temporary Resident

By Tara Brady


How “Where do you want to go for dinner?” has become a whole new experience since we’ve moved to Newcastle.


By the end of September, the husband and I will have been married for four years (hooray!) One of the patterns we fell into fairly early on in our relationship was to succumb to a regular attack of the “midweek lazies”. You all know what I’m talking about: you come home and, despite a fully stocked fridge providing a myriad fine dining possibilities (like stir fry or spaggy bol), neither of you seems capable of even coming up with an idea for dinner, let alone the energy to cook it, so you decide to go out instead. Back in the UK there is a lane around the corner that has a particularly fine Turkish BBQ, so when the “midweek lazies” are upon us, we inevitably find ourselves there, and the question of “Where do you want to go for dinner?” is essentially redundant. Well, here in Newcastle it has become infinitely more complicated.

The first task is agreeing on what type of cuisine we’re after: pub grub? Fine French dining? fried chicken and beer? Spanish tapas? seafood with a sea view? The possibilities seem endless. So you’d think the restaurateurs of Newcastle would do us a favour by having one or two obvious frontrunners conveniently located within a ten minute walk and in a price range that’s just right…but no, instead there are more than half a dozen I can think of just off the top of my head and that’s only the ones in the East End…I haven’t even gotten to Darby Street.Novel-Novocastrian-web

So here, in no particular order, are my top 5 on the East Side

  1. Cafe Zeytoon (43 Bolton St): for when you’re craving middle-eastern food but want something a bit more refined than a kebab. The atmosphere in this cafe at night is great with dark tablecloths embroidered with gold, reflecting the candles and lanterns. I can personally recommend any of the lamb dishes; the meat is so tender it falls right off the bone!
  2. Bocados Spanish Kitchen (27 King St): this place serves excellent tapas at a reasonable price and with a great wine menu too. We regularly wind up here without having planned ahead and so wind up in the smaller bar area which is actually quite cozy.
  3. The Grain Store (64 – 66 Scott St): if you’re looking for pub food done to a high standard as well as an impressive list of beers to wash it all down with, then look no further than The Grain Store. The fact that you can play old-school board games while you wait for your food to arrive is an added bonus.
  4. Bistro Sandbar (1 Moroney Ave): this little bistro is a great spot for a romantic dinner for two overlooking the beach. The seafood here is fabulous!
  5. Casa de Loco (10 Pacific St): any restaurant/bar that advertises itself with the words: we love to eat/we love to drink has got to be worth a visit and this tequila bar/Mexican restaurant most definitely is. The food is much closer to authentic Mexican than the usual Tex-Mex stuff you find and the ambience here is always upbeat with really friendly bartenders and waiting staff. I’ve recently become obsessed with their Taco Tuesdays: each Tuesday has a different theme with a special taco on offer and accompanying music from their extensive vinyl collection. Make sure you save room for their Tres Leche Cake which is just amazing.

Happy eating Newcastle!





60 seconds with... Doughheads by Kian West


60 seconds with Doughheads

Interview with Anna

By Kian West


Hey Anna, tell us what Doughheads is all about, you make donuts right? I heard someone describe them as coming “Straight from heaven”. Is there a secret?

Doughheads is the story of the humble doughnut, reinvented to be extraordinary. We wanted to bring something fun and unique to Newcastle; something people didn’t expect that would surprise and delight them, something they could rave about to their friends.

There’s no real secret to what we do; it’s just the way things should be, it’s ‘slow, fast-food’ at its best. We take the time to handcraft our doughnuts because we think that is what makes them amazing, from making the dough fresh every morning, hand rolling and cutting the doughnuts, frying off in small batches, making all of our icings and toppings from scratch and then hand dipping each one at the bidding of our customers. We always use real, fresh ingredients to achieve the best flavors possible and there are no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives in our doughnuts. Yep, it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s so much fun to see people enjoying what we do, it makes every minute worth it. We’re not just in the doughnut business, rather, we’re in the business of making people happy and bringing an experience which creates anticipation and delight, we just happen to make doughnuts at this point in time J

Why donuts? Have you got a history with them?dough5

No history with doughnuts at all. However, I do love food and have a passion to bring back the pleasure that it should be to experience good food to people of our generation. We all have to eat, so I think sometimes it can become this mundane thing we do, but it should be a highlight, something we look forward to and enjoy!

What sorts do you make?

Our base is a yeasted doughnut, which people have described as a hybrid of a brioche and a choux pastry. It’s a recipe we’ve spent a lot of time developing and although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, we love it! From there, we create a multitude of flavours with our icing and topping combinations. Our flavours are only limited by our inspiration and the time we have to create them, so at the moment we have a list of about 50 possibilities we’re working from and that grows every day! We like to rotate our flavours and add new ones on a seasonal basis so that people can try something new and fun each time they find us. Some of our most popular flavours are our Stikki Rikki - a peanut butter/choc/pretzel combo, Salty Nut – salted caramel and crushed peanuts, and our Maple Bacon – maple syrup icing topped with double smoked bacon. At the moment we are working on a few winter inspired ideas, including a Sticky Date version and a custard and poached pear inspiration. Really, there are endless possibilities!

 Who is involved with the business? Is it all you or are there partners in crime?

Doughheads started as a small idea in the back of my mind, whilst working on some other projects. It was only recently that I finally decided to act on it and thus far, it has been a bit of a family affair, roping in my husband and my brother and his wife to help me with markets stalls! However, we are on the cusp of some very exciting opportunities, which means we have recently put on some staff and are looking to expand our team further as we grow.

 Where can people find Doughheads?

At this point we have a pop up stall at the little farmers market in the Hunter Street Mall every Friday, we are also at The Olive Tree Market at The Junction on the 1st Saturday of each month and the Hunt & Gather Markets at Pacific Park on the 3rd Saturday of each month. However, this looks set to increase over the coming months, so the best way to stay in touch with us is via social media, .

If you could only eat one flavor donut for the rest of your life what would it be?

Pretty sure it would be Maple Bacon, for several reasons; bacon makes everything taste better, the bacon we use is naturally double smoked and sourced from a small German butcher up on the mid-north coast and it is completely amazing, and I love the sweet-salty combination, it rocks my world!

Anything else the people of Newcastle should know?

Yep, we want them to know they have blown us away with their enthusiasm for Doughheads! You guys are the reason we exist and because of your support, we have the amazing opportunity to do something we love and in turn, bring happiness to the people of Newcastle, it’s pretty surreal. Cheers guys!