Newcastle is one of my favourite places to go for a wee weekend getaway. The reasons I love it so much are that it is a short drive from Sydney (so you don't hear "are we there yet" that often); it has beautiful beaches; there are loads of groovy shops; and last but not least there are so many gorgeous cafes to be eaten at! Just like Three Bean Espresso in a suburb of Newcastle called Hamilton. Three Bean (not to be confused with the three beans chain in Sydney) is located on trendy Beaumont St. This street is home to all sorts of places to eat but in my humble opinion Three Bean Espresso is definitely the best. It may not be the most child friendly, but their food, coffee and service certainly make up for any Little Munch prerequisites that are lacking.
The exterior of the cafe is quite unassuming and you really have to look to find it, there's no loud fancy pants signage here. When you walk through the front door you can be forgiven for thinking that it is a smallish cafe with only a few table and chairs up the front but if you walk down the back past the open kitchen you will find quite a few tables spilling out into the atrium of the next door building. This is the best place to sit with kids as their is some room for them to run around and also room for your prams. You will also find down here the toilet and high chairs - oh and a seriously good looking cake table which will draw your little ones in likes bees to a honey pot, especially if Three Bean have their meringues with smarties on that day.
When we took our seat, gorgeous young wait staff promptly bought menus and water to the table. We had arrived in time for lunch and we were presented with quite a small but delicious sounding menu. (There isn't a kids menu for lunch but they do have a kids egg dish for breakfast). The menu at Three Bean changes regularly and on the day that we dined our options were cabbage soup (we decided collectively that this wasn't a sensible option as there were going to be 7 of us sharing a cabin for the evening); lentil & beetroot salad (see previous comment); braised pork open sandwich, duck confit, chicken and pistachio terrine; croque monsieur & vintage cheddar toastie.
We decided on the vintage cheddar toastie and croque monsieur for the boys and the adults all had terrines. The toastie/monsieur were oozing with cheesy goodness and served with cute wee cornichons on the top, which I am a bit embarrassed to say ended up on the floor as my little men thought they were the food that aliens ate and flicked them down there before we knew what was happening! If you are a terrine lover then I think you will swoon over the combination of the chicken and pistachio with a quinoa and sweet potato salad - it was the ideal light lunch.
The coffee brewed at Three Bean Espresso is outstanding and a perfect accompaniment to one of the sweet treats from the cake table. The boys had nagged us the whole meal for a smartie meringue and of course we gave in and ordered them one each - they were just so darn cute (the meringues, not my nagging children)! If I had spied them earlier I would have seen the cups of colouring pencils on the shelf near the kitchen and perhaps if the boys had those to use, we may have not been nagged so much. Oh well, on our next escape to Newcastle I will know to ask for them, as I'm sure we will back to sample some more of Three Bean's mighty fine cafe fare - and you too should put it on your radar next time you are up that way x
103 Tudor St (but enter thru beaumont st) Hamiltons NSW
Open from early (6amish) for breakfast & lunch: Mon - Sat