Newcastle is one of our favourite spots to go for a weekend away. The city is full of fabulous places to eat and drink coffee, great playgrounds, as well as beautiful beaches and a thriving arts scene. We normally stay in the city centre to be close to all of the action, but on our last visit we couldn't find an affordable room. So we headed out to the burbs, and stayed in New Lambton. And I'm so glad we did, because not only did we discover a delightful village atmosphere, but we also found the hip and happening The Locale!
The Locale occupies a prime position on busy Alma Rd, and has its very own car park. There is indoor, outdoor and verandah seating available. When we dined at breakfast time, we opted for an inside table as the weather was quite chilly. However the best place for dining with kidlets is definitely on the semi enclosed verandah where they have their own table set up with a bucket of toys to play with (there is also colouring in next to the front counter inside too). Blankets are available to wrap around you out here if you decide to brave the elements in winter. All of the seating areas have space for prams and access is also relatively easy. There are high chairs for little bums and the loos are located on the outside of the building, but do not contain a baby change table.
The interior and atmosphere of The Locale is what I would call retro quirky. There are loads of recycled elements including the furniture, the walls and the doors! And a cool old teaspoon collection takes centre stage on a wall on the inside of the cafe. Even their menus are both retro and quirky at The Locale and kidlets may mistake them for story books, like my boys did!
There is full table service at The Locale. Service was attentive but our meals did take quite a while to leave the kitchen and hit our table. There are definitely a swag of hipster barista types amongst the staff, yet they were all quite charming, unlike some of their Sydney counterparts who just act a bit too cool for school. And yes they most certainly know how to a brew a brilliant cup of coffee. And for you non caffeine addicts, you will love their delicious selection of freshly squeezed juices! The Pink Panther has watermelon, apple & mint in it; the Ginger Megs is full of carrot, ginger & orange; and the Lady Pam is a combination of pear, apple & mint.
The kids menu is called the Locale Rascals and it includes The Little Pig ($10) for breakfast, which is a rasher of bacon & a fried egg on toast. We added a hash brown to this dish and the boys shared it. If this doesn't appeal to your piglets then there are quite a few options on the main menu that they would probably like - ham & cheese croissants, toast & spreads, banana bread etc. At lunch the menu for the Locale Rascals includes either chicken or steak with chips & tomato sauce ($9.50). Babycinos are $2.00 and both kid size shakes and juices are also on the menu. Our dudes had hot chocolates and the staff kindly served them luke warm and in take away cups!
So the kidlets are sorted, so lets move on to us big people. The chefs at The Locale certainly know how to poach an egg.....it amazes me how many don't! The eggs in both of our dishes were perfectly cooked - firm whites on the outside and perfectly runny yellow on the inside - and none of that foul vinegar liquid residue that makes your toast soggy was to be found. My Spicy Mexican breakfast was the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day. It had juicy corn fritters, bacon , guacamole, poached eggs & relish and it was the sort of dish that could be easily eaten at any time of day. Next time we visit I want to try the wicjed sounding Bread & Butter French Toast that comes with peanut butter ice cream, chocolate, banana and pop corn!!! Just to let you know most of the breakfast items hover just under the $20.00 mark.
At lunch time you can fill your big bellies with salads, burgers, fish n chips as well as a whole host of other cafe favourites. The Locale also opens Thursday - Saturday evening, serving up delicious sounding tapas and cocktails. Either go for an early dinner with the kidlets, or hire a baby sitter and make a night of it!
So Little Munchers, do you know of any hidden suburban kid friendly cafes in Newcastle?
28 Alma Rd, New Lambton NSW
02 4957 9998
Mon - Wed: 6.30am - 5.00pm
Thu - Sat: 6.30am - 10.00pm
Sun: 6.30am - 4.00pm