What's in a name? When it comes to Gamble & Brown, everything | FOOD BITES

FOND MEMORIES: There is a story behind Kotara cafe Gamble & Brown and the two family men who inspired it. Picture: Supplied

FOND MEMORIES: There is a story behind Kotara cafe Gamble & Brown and the two family men who inspired it. Picture: Supplied

Jack Gamble enlisted for duty in World War II at the age of 23. He served with the 24th Battalion of the NZ Army Corps between 1940 and 1945 and was captured by the Germans at Tobruk.

Ron Brown was a family man who loved ballroom dancing. 

Gamble & Brown is the cafe at Kotara Homemaker Centre named in their honour. 

The wartime contributions of Jack and his fellow servicemen are remembered in a photograph which has pride of place on the cafe’s wall.

Jack and Ron are the grandfathers of the husband-and-wife team behind Gamble & Brown, Michael and Sarah Boyd. The couple say they wanted the name of their cafe, which opened a year ago, to “mean something” to them. 

Gamble & Brown’s bar officially launched on May 12 and every Friday, from 5pm to 8pm, the cafe will offer drinks and live entertainment as well as a variety of dining options. The bar menu is available from 2pm daily.

And for something different, try the “coffee in a cone”. 

Charity dinner

Queens Wharf Brewery is hosting a fund-raiser for Alzheimers Australia on May 27 with all proceeds going to Hamilton Centre. Tickets cost $100 per person through stickytickets.com.au and include canapes, a three-hour drink package, live music, an auction and the opportunity to win prizes. 

Cafe closed

Spoonbill Cafe at Hunter Wetlands Centre has closed “for financial reasons”, the centre said on its Facebook page. Expressions of interest are being sought from an external party for the venue, which could be used for meetings, conferences and events. Spoonbill Cafe had been operated by the Wetlands Centre for the past four years. 

Cookery queens

Food & Wine tracked down champion baker Jo-Anne Wright with the help of preserve queen Janette Robertson’s detective skills, and she lives on the Central Coast.

“She is not from Maitland after all, it seems that she entered a fruit cake, or maybe several, at either the Newcastle or Maitland show and from there followed through to a particular fruit cake competition section of the Sydney Royal which involved cooking a particular cake using a set recipe from the Royal Agricultural Society,” Janette explained. 

“That’s why she had Hunter River on her winning entry – because she entered that particular class of competition by winning at a local Hunter show. She took out the overall trophy for non-perishable cookery at the Sydney Royal this year and last year she took out the perishable cookery trophy.

“Also, she told me that another lovely Central Coast lady – Leeanne Dyer – actually took out the trophy for the perishable cookery this year. This means that we three girls wiped Sydney off the map by winning all the cookery trophies and taking them away from the Sydney region.”

Way to go, girls.  

Cherry on Top

The Cherry On Top Coffee Shop is now open at Eleebana’s Cherry Road Nursery serving coffee, cake and other baked goods from 9am to 2.30pm daily. There is even an enclosed play area for the little ones.

Family first

The husband and wife team behind Terminus On Darby are taking some time out following the birth of their first child, Darcy. Joel Syme hinted at a business move to the suburbs in the future but for now it’s family first. He was tight-lipped as to who will take over the venue and what it will be used for – but tongues are wagging among business owners along the Darby Street strip. Food & Wine heard the word “dumplings” mentioned once but for now that’s all it is – a rumour.

Chuck Rules

Nagisa and The Cambridge have joined forces for a free hot-dog event on Thursday (May 18). From 6pm to 8pm you can pick up a free “Cult” hot dog – one per person – but only if you’ve liked The Cambridge’s Instagram or Facebook page. And if there’s any left. Just 1000 hot dogs are being served. 

Chef moves on

Matt Dillow has finished up at Calais Estate’s The Verandah Restaurant after 10 years at the helm. Chefs Timothy and Amanda Suffell are taking over the reins and it is believed tapas will still be the focus.

Burgers please

Newy Burger Co is branching out to Maitland, opening a second restaurant in the Junkyard Hotel. Co-owner Ben Neil told Food & Wine: “It’s a really classic live music pub so it’s looking like a good fit to test out the Maitland market. The social media interest has been solid as has the interest in locals coming to work with us (just over 500 applicants). We’re looking to open on June 1.” 

Awabakal dinner

Aboriginal organisation Awabakal will celebrate its 40th anniversary dinner on July 7 at Wests New Lambton’s Starlight Room. Awabakal has been providing health care, aged care and children and family services to communities across Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens since 1977. For ticket information visit awabakal.org.

Dine up high

The Deck and Luna Park Sydney have again joined forces to host the iconic Ferris Wheel Dining experience from October 15 to March 26. Guests are taken on a three-course degustation journey on Luna Park’s iconic Ferris Wheel as the sun sets over Sydney Harbour. The evening starts and ends at The Deck restaurant, under the Harbour Bridge in Milsons Point. Early-bird carriages for two cost $399.