Mister P's knows burgers and Blacksmiths tapas bar opens

TASTY: Mister P's is a family owned and operated burger bar at Charlestown.

TASTY: Mister P's is a family owned and operated burger bar at Charlestown.

Blink and you might miss it travelling along the Pacific Highway at Charlestown, but Mister P’s Burger Bar is well worth a look. Food & Wine took the young ’uns to the former Das Hund Haus site on Saturday night and was pleasantly surprised.

To start with, the burgers were great and the prices very reasonable – think $5 to $7 for a starter and about $12 or $13 for a burger, a little more if you want to build your own. Desserts are under $10. Mister P’s is also child friendly, caters for groups, offers takeaway and is licensed.

The business is a family affair owned and operated by Katrina and Mark Phillips, who is a chef. 

“My father passed away unexpectedly two years ago and it was always his wish for my husband and I to open a restaurant,” Katrina told Food & Wine.  

“With the little savings we had and the inherited money from my father, we decided to move our three young children from Sydney to Newcastle last November.”

They found the ideal site, or so they thought, in Charlestown and started renovating however a week before opening were told they could no longer continue. The couple lost everything. Fortunately, 215-217 Pacific Highway beneath the Kingston building became available and, thanks to the generosity of a family member, they opened Mister P’s in February.

Just quietly, the chargrilled brisket burger was delicious. Most ingredients are made fresh, on site, by “Mister P” including the hand-cut chips, the sauces and even the pickled beetroots.  

Tapas bar opens

Aaron Stobbs has opened a cafe/restaurant in Blacksmiths – Te Aroha Place. Word is spreading quickly even though it has only been open three weeks, and Aaron told Food & Wine the menu was “simple, traditional Spanish-style tapas”. 

He has spent the past two years as an executive chef on the Canary Islands, having previously catered for weddings at Wandin Valley Estate.  His fiance is a Spanish tapas chef and his son, who also works at Te Aroha Place, translates the menu from Spanish to English for customers.

It is a cafe by day, serving all-day breakfast with lots of healthy options, and a tapas wine bar by night. Sharing of plates is encouraged and there are only 24 seats so bookings are advised. Open Tuesday to Sunday, Te Aroha Place is at 6 Mitti Street. More to come in an upcoming Food & Wine. 

Winter Warmer

The Edwards is the place to be on August 19 if you’re in the mood for wine tasting, good food, a roaring fire and some tunes. True to form, though, the team are adding a sprinkle of “quirk” to the intimate Winter Wine Warmer event. 

Scott and Missy Comyn from Comyns & Co  will provide the wine and expertly pair it with a range of canapes prepared by head chef Paul Niddrie. Scott’s younger brother Angus, a talented artist, will be displaying (and perhaps selling) original stencilled and screen-printed pieces of his, many of which are used on Comyns & Co wine bottles. The cherry on top is live jazz from Newcastle band The Dew Cats. Tickets are $100 per person at comynsandco.com.au.

Fresh face

Joel Phyland.

Joel Phyland.

Noah’s on the Beach has a new head chef, Joel Phyland. Food & Wine was told Joel, who grew up in Byron Bay, studied under Theodore Kyriakou at More in London. The 28-year-old’s cooking has a strong Adriatic and Mediterranean influence and in his first few weeks at Noah’s he has changed the menu to put an increased focus on local seafood, introduced the seafood tower, insisted desserts and ice creams were made in-house, and introduced a new range of entrees and mains showcasing Hunter meats.

Native & Natural

Reserve’s Native & Natural dining event last week looked amazing, if the photographs on social media are anything to go by. Owner Patrick Haddock has just returned from a wining and dining Tasmanian holiday and kindly gave Food & Wine a copy of the menu: emu tartare, cornichons, radish, egg yolk, wattle seed lavosh; salted crocodile tortellini, buttered mussels, wild garlic emulsion; local and foraged mushrooms; mountain pepperberry-braised wallaby tail, pumpkin puree, herbs; and lemonade syrup cake, chocolate, davidson plum powder, lemon myrtle gelato. Chefs Sam Alexander, Dylan Abdoo and Phil Harrison did well.

Sausage King

The 2017 AMIC NSW/ACT Sausage King and Best Butcher Burgers Competition was held at Hamilton TAFE last week and the following first-place winners have made it through to the state final in Tamworth on September 23: Brown’s Quality Meats Raymond Terrace; Dunn’s Butchers New Lambton; Jarrett’s Quality Meats Lambton; and Terrace Meats Raymond Terrace.

A fine art

David Hook. Picture: Dominique Cherry

David Hook. Picture: Dominique Cherry

All are invited to learn the art of wine tasting at an exclusive Riedel sensory masterclass with Hunter Valley winemaker David Hook on Saturday, September 30, 4pm to 6pm. Guests will discover how the shape and size of the glass can affect the aroma and take home a set of four Riedel glasses valued at $240. Tickets cost $135 per person at wineclub.davidhookwines.com.au. 

Italian festival

The Cutaway at Barangaroo is hosting the Italian Wine + Food Festival on Sunday, August 27. You can explore more than 200 Italian wines, meet winemakers and importers and learn more about grape varieties. There will also be cooking demonstrations, pop-up restaurants, a marketplace with Italian specialties and local produce, and live music. Tickets at italianwinefoodfestival.com.au.