Argy Pub back in business and the COQUUN countdown begins | Food Bites

The new-look Argenton Hotel has opened and it looks the goods.

There will be live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and the menu has been tweaked to offer, well, a bit of everything – think tapas, pasta and risotto, pizzas, burgers, salads, mains, meals from the grill and seafood.

Children and families are always warmly welcomed – and catered for – at hotels owned and run by Clare and Campbell Rogers and the Argy is no exception. The playground will impress and children’s menu has been given some thought.

SNEAK PEEK: The Argenton Hotel has re-opened with a new look and a menu with someone for everyone. Picture: Supplied

SNEAK PEEK: The Argenton Hotel has re-opened with a new look and a menu with someone for everyone. Picture: Supplied

Also, there are $12 lunch specials Monday to Friday plus weekly specials, and a courtesy bus will be up and running soon. 

Hippo expands

Warners Bay staple Hippo Espresso has branched out to Salamander Bay and can be found in the suburb’s new medical centre. It’s open 7.30am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, and 7.30am to 2pm on Saturday and will be pouring Toby’s Estate Coffee. 

Clock is ticking

The countdown is well and truly on for nervous but excited friends and business partners Daniel O’Leary and Anthony Ford. They are opening COQUUN in their home town of Maitland on September 12 at The Riverlink Building.

O’Leary sounds cool, calm and collected on the telephone but likens himself to a duck on a pond with busy feet working overtime beneath the surface. So far, though, everything is going to plan. COQUUN is a deli, small bar, cafe and bistro which O’Leary describes as “casual refined dining” and with a focus on the Hunter’s own “native food bowl”. Think finger limes, Davidson plums and blood limes, to name a few, most sourced within 200 kilometres of the venue itself. 

The chef charged with crafting the menu is also Hunter Valley born and bred: Bryce Reynolds.

O’Leary attended Linuwel School at East Maitland and for the past seven years has called Sydney home, owning and operating a small bar in Redfern called The Dock. He said he’d had enough of the hustle and bustle, though, and wanted a more relaxed upbringing for his daughter, 7, closer to family. 

The business name is a nod to the traditional Wonnarua language.

“Coquun is one of the Hunter River’s first known names and basically translates to ‘clear water’ or ‘fresh water’,” O’Leary explained. 

COQUUN will be open six days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. O’Leary is not competing against established cafes and espresso bars in town – he feels they already do a great job. Instead, he will offer a continental breakfast, charcuterie lunch options and a more formal dinner experience upstairs with entrees, mains and desserts. 

Tinnie time

Young Henrys is making the trip north up the M1 from Sydney to Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows for a day of Brews, Burgers and Street Art this Saturday, September 8, from noon. There will be $5 tinnies of Newtowner and Cloudy Cider, plus free samples. Joe Quilter will be doing a live street art display of Caves Beach on the deck and a one-off burger has been added to the menu for the occasion. 

Fond farewell

Frank & Ollie’s Cafe & Pizzeria in Cardiff is changing hands. Pop in to say hello to the new owners – and goodbye to the previous owners – at 199 Main Road from 2pm this Sunday.

Korean cooking

Speaking of Cardiff, Newcastle S-Mart is hosting a Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables) cooking class on September 22, 11am to 1pm. Pre-book with a $5 deposit by September 8 to secure your place. The cost is $10 to cover ingredients. Phone 4954 5646.

Long table lunch

The Stonehurst Cedar Creek Long Table Lunch is on this Saturday, September, 8, from noon. Guests will enjoy five courses with matching Stonehurst wines and live music in the poplar grove. Tickets at

Village buzzing

Designer Delights opened next to Star Anise restaurant at Valentine last weekend. A steady stream of people filed in both days, keen to see what the shop had to offer. Cake orders were already being taken when Food & Wine popped in for a stickybeak.

Mums Day Out

Newcastle Hunter Mums is hosting an official fundraiser for Friends with Dignity – A Mum’s Day Out – on Saturday, September 15. The fun kicks off at 1pm at Helloworld’s Explorer Lounge, 144 Hannell Street, Wickham. The cost is $55 which includes food, champagne, DJ Mumma, Mumma trivia and more. 

Kahibah fete

The Kahibah community is coming together on Saturday, September 15, for a fete and picnic day at Kahibah Memorial Park. Tea and scones will be served in St Martin’s Church and there will be a range of food and market stalls, entertainment, a sausage sizzle and meals on offer from Kahibah’s various food outlets. Glebe and Hexham Street shops will be open and offering specials on the day.

Seafood night

Scottie’s at Newcastle East is hosting a seafood degustation dinner with matching wines on September 22. Tickets cost $130 per person. If you haven’t dined at Scotties before, this is your chance.

Sunday Brunch

The Little Nel, at The Nelson Resort, Nelson Bay, is hosting a special Sunday Brunch on September 16. Rock up from 11am onwards and enjoy all-day breakfast, cocktails and tunes. The breakfast menu is worth the trip – from American waffle stacks to Mexican baked eggs and sambal chilli scrambled eggs. 

Barcito closes

The splash of colour on Hamilton Street that is Barcito is closing, much to our dismay. But Teighan and Leandro Laino have a good reason: family first. The team had this to say in a statement online: “We love Barcito but we don’t love it more than our family. We’re missing out on time together, we’ve missed too many important events. We’ve even missed two of our family members funerals, and we fear there may be more of those before our daughter has the chance to meet her family overseas. For these reasons we’ve decided to say goodbye to Barcito.”