Soul Foods, Newcastle NSW

A couple of weekends back, we took a quick weekend trip up to Newcastle to visit the Bear’s new baby nephew. Our efforts to arrive super early were apparently in vain – when we got to the airport, there were no shuttle buses for over an hour. We sat at the airport drinking big old mugs of coffee wondering why exactly we had taken the 6am flight.

The shuttle bus took us into Newcastle, where we desperately needed some breakfast after already being up without food for over five hours. Harnessing the power of the internet, we found our target – Natural Tucker Health Food and Cafe on Darby St. We started making our way there, when we stumbled upon this sign:

newie3

Vegan options? Count us in!

newie2Soul Foods was closer than our destination, and conveniently right across from the train station we needed to get to to scoot out to Cardiff afterwards.

The cafe had high ceilings and a quirky interior – lots of mismatched coloured chairs and pretty teacups. I liked it. I was a bit jealous of two ladies to my left who had what looked like the most royal thrones of the room, but I stopped giving them greasies to look at the menu.

The bubbly lady explained the vegan options – I went with the zucchini fritters/pancakes? Usually served with haloumi, but could be replaced with tofu to be made vegan. Sounded great.

newie1 When my meal came out, I was impressed by the vibrant colours – I like to eat with my eyes and I like rainbow plates. However unfortunately this dish just didn’t quite come together. The zucchini fritters were semi-sweet pancakes with blueberries in them, but then topped with savouries. It was great that they could substitute the haloumi instead of just take it away, however the tofu was raw and I could not taste any marinade. Tomato and avo are always good brekkie additions, and everybody knows I am a dip fanatic, however the hommus tasted distinctly of one I have bought at the supermarket, as did the pesto – which tasted very cheesy (like those little oily cashew ‘chunky’ dips you can buy). When I asked afterwards, the lady assured me that it was vegan and house-made, but I was still a little skeptical. It tasted EXACTLY how I remember that non-vegan store bought dip to taste. But hey, if they tell me so I gotta believe it.

The bear went with a bean dish, though he had it with feta so I didn’t snap it. He really enjoyed it and I tried some of the beans which were tasty. I think they came with some pumpkin toast.

Soul Foods had a bunch of tasty looking vegan sweets, but I wasn’t really feeling it on the day. I was a little disappointed with the breakfast, but wouldn’t discount them entirely without having another go. Maybe next time!

Afterwards, we bumbled with buying train tickets (confusing machines), missed our train (and also forced an innocent man to miss the train too with our inability to navigate the ticket machine) and ultimately had to wait another hour and a half for the next one. When we complained of our plight, we were told “but it’s Saturday” as if that explained the lack of transport options. Oh us Melbourners with our frequent departing Saturday trains, what were we thinking? We arrived at Billy’s sister’s place at about 2pm. Good thing we got that 6am flight! Ha!

Soul Foods
227 Hunter st, Newcastle NSW
Tues – Fri – 7.30am – 5pm
Sat – Sun – 8am – 3.30pm

Bibina

I’m kind of behind in terms of posts I’ve been wanting to do, as the lack of access to computers makes it a bit difficult sometimes. I’m determined to catch up though! The order of some of these will be a bit out of wack, but hopefully over the next couple of days I can get back up to speed with where I actually am now…real time.

Firstly, I wanted to do a quick post about this amazing place that Billy’s sister told us about called Bibina, because every vegan needs to know about this place. Bibina is a warehouse in Warners Bay – not too far from Newcastle – that imports a large range of international foods. There are aisles upon aisles of wonders, well organised by their country of origin.
You wouldn’t guess by just looking at it, but this place is a little slice of vegan paradise! While they do stock various animal products, they have an almost abnormally large amount of vegan (and gluten-free) stock. We spent over an hour inside, wandering up and down all the aisles and oohing and aahhing over all the foreign items. Here’s a picture of my bounty (NOTE: this was us being very reserved with out impulse buying).
Image
The incredible part is the price of a lot of this stuff. Some of these items I’ve seen in health food shops for more than double what they were charging here. I had never tried any of the Linda McCartney range because at around $8-12 a pop, it seemed like a rip off. Enter Bibina: $3.50 – how could I not?! I had tried Sheese once before but paid a ridonkulous $11 for it (and was not overly impressed by it anyway), but at a far more reasonable $5, I decided to give it a second chance. Also in this photo are; fairtrade soy cacao milk, GF self saucing choc pudding mix, Moo Free choc with banana chips, organic spinach noodles, GF chili pasta spirals, Massel stock cubes, Byron Bay habanero chili and mango hot sauce, tin of hummus (awesome stock to keep on hand in the van for when we need a quick snack), soy pepper pate, chili and lime peanuts, and speculoos biscuit spread (amazing…I had only heard the rumours about this magical stuff, having no idea it was available in Australia. We ate a whole jar with a spoon and had to go back for more..)
Image
This was our second time to Bibina, the first I didn’t take snaps but we got some similar bits as well as different items, like pepper tapenade, wholemeal roti breads and more. Seriously, this place is amazing. I really don’t think that I need to sell it any more than I already have, but if you need more incentive to get your butt down there, check this out – they have an ENTIRE ROOM OF CHOCOLATE. Yep.
Bibina
355 HIllsborough Rd, Warners Bay
Monday to Friday 8am-5pm
Saturday 8.30am-4pm