The second instalment in the ‘Area Guide’ series will be for another trendy inner-Sydney suburb, Newtown. As with Surrey Hills, Newtown is one of those sprawling neighbourhoods with no clear boundaries, so I have just listed a couple of my favourite go-to places on King St, and within a few blocks of the station. Enjoy xx
COFFEE/EAT: 212 Blu
It would be no surprise to anyone who knows me (even vaguely) to say that I love good food and even better coffee. 212 Blu provides both of these; tucked away behind the Town Hall, Court House and Fire Station, this isn’t the sort of place you are likely to stumble across, but is definitely worth the slight detour off King Street. It was here, sitting on one of the tall window stools drinking chai tea, that I was first introduced to Kinfolk Magazine (they have a lovely collection to browse through while you wait for your coffee), which provides a good indication for those who know the magazine or have read my earlier blog post as to the type of clientele who frequent this establishment.
For those with a slight sweet tooth, might I suggest a refreshing ice tea (think flavours like Egyptian hibiscus), while for those (such as myself) who are more coffee-oriented, the cold brew is a no-brainer. My recommendation for breakfast would be the smashed avo toast with dukkah encrusted poached eggs, but it is also worth checking out their online menu for lunch and dinner. With a lovely community feel, this little hideaway will soon become your home away from home.
(212 Australia St, Newtown)
SHOP: Vinnies Newtown
You can always judge an op-shop by an area’s demographic, and Newtown Vinnies is no exception; I’m not sure I have ever walked out empty handed, and some of my all-time favourite pre-loved pieces have been sourced there. As with all op-shops, there is a lot of garbage and average stuff to sift through, but there are often some real gems. Keep an eye on the designer racks (located near the checkout) for treasure pieces, as the turnover rate is so high it is even worth checking out multiple times during the one visit.
(187 King Street, Newtown)
SHOP: You, The Earth & Me
Now I know this is a big call, but if someone told me I had to choose just one shop as my absolute favourite (in all the world), You, The Earth & Me would be it. This gorgeous little hole-in-the-wall is carefully curated to showcase its small but beautiful range of ethical and sustainable lifestyle wares, clothing and products. With brands like Vege Threads and Zakkia, these guys definitely know their stuff, which makes it even harder to resist buying a jar of their homemade Nut Butter (soooo good). If anybody feels the need to buy me a present, You, The Earth & Me is definitely the place to go.
(345 King Street, Newtown)
EAT: Golden Lotus
Any eatery which has a neon sign saying ‘Veganism is Magic’ on their wall has to be onto a good thing. This contemporary Vietnamese restaurant boasts an entirely vegan menu, with fresh, plant-based ingredients and a welcoming vibe. I had the ‘Summer Rice Paper Rolls’ when I visited recently, which were huge, delicious and reasonably priced. Golden Lotus would be a good place to go with a small group, as the menu is conducive to sharing. Take-away is available, but note there is a small surcharge on all eftpos transactions, so it is probably a good idea to bring cash if possible. An ATM is located at the entrance to the gym directly across the road.
(341 King Street, Newtown)
EAT: Bourke St Bakery
I have already spoken of my love for Bourke St Bakery in the Surrey Hills Area Guide, so here I will limit myself to saying that despite my aesthetic preference for their Bourke Street premises, the sourdough on King Street tastes just as good!
(13/330 King Street, Newtown)
SHOP: U-Turn Recyled Vintage Fashion
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the U-Turn store at Newtown; hate, because a shop assistant was so rude and condescending to my little sister she almost cried, and love because I recently bought the most gorgeous blue jumpsuit there (oh-so comfy!) which I never want to take off. For those who survive the awful customer service, there are enough vintage jumpsuits, play suits and bodysuits to soothe your traumatised soul.
Just don’t go in when you’re having a bad day. Or, rather, do, but only if you’re in a mood which is conducive to stomping on rude shop assistants.
(305 King Street, Newtown)
Pentimento is one of those book shops you should only ever enter on payday; the range of beautiful hardcover books on offer makes it is just too depressing otherwise. If you are feeling rich (or are actually rich), however, I suggest putting aside a good half hour to select as many books as you think you can comfortably carry back to your car.
(249 King Street, Newtown)
SHOP: Better Read Than Dead
I could easily complete all of my Christmas shopping at Better Read Than Dead. I could also easily spend $500 on myself without blinking an eye, although I try very hard to not to each time I visit.
(265 King Street, Newtown)
SHOP: Elizabeth’s Bookstore
It was a sad day when I realised Elizabeth’s Bookstore on Pitt St in the CBD had closed. Thank goodness for their Newtown premises, therefore, which continues to provide second-hand book lovers with a calming oasis amid the rush and noise that is Newtown.
(257 King Street, Newtown)
EAT: Lentil As Anything
I first came across Lentil As Anything in Melbourne’s Abbortsford Convent while I was attending a makers market with my friend Amelia. I was understandably excited to learn, on my return to Sydney, that we have our very own here in Newtown.
This not-for-profit restaurant is based on the ‘pay what you feel’ model, so make sure you’re comfortable with how the donation system works (the average person should be paying about $15 for their meal in order to cover costs, as well as donate a little bit towards a meal for someone less fortunate). The food is all vegetarian or vegan (and delicious), and the serving portions are generous. Table service is welcoming and friendly despite the crush (they get very busy), with the seating all on communal tables, so be prepared to just slot in wherever you can, and then wave a bit to get the attention of passing staff. The noise level at Lentil As Anything does tend to inhibit conversation somewhat, but on the up-side, steaming cups of home-brewed chai are provided to tide you over while you wait for your food; so just sit and sip your tea as you soak up all the good vibes.
(391 King Street, Newtown)
SHOP: Eco Down Under Bedding
I am not normally the sort of person who enjoys spending time in a bedding/homewares store, but if I was to suddenly find myself in need of new bedding or towels, Eco Down Under is the place I would go. The waffle duvet covers, which come in a lovely soft palette (blues, greys, greens, white or stone), are certainly enough to make anyone want new bedding. And with a focus on materials and processes which are gentle on the earth, there’s no need to feel guilty for indulging in a little bit of bedtime luxury.
(310 King Street, Newtown)
COFFEE/SHOP: Dr Earth
I think it has got to the point where, if I am going to Newtown, I know I need to factor in at least three quarters of an hour (usually more) in Dr Earth. This health food store-cum-ethical grocer is worth a trip to Newtown all by itself. The floor staff are lovely and incredibly helpful, if sometimes a little over-attentive, and are always happy to give personal recommendations on products, which I love. They have also recently opened up a cafe at the front of the store (a welcome addition) although it is best to grab your Fair Trade coffee and homemade lentil/veggie roll to-go, as there is very limited seating. The real reason I just can’t get enough of Dr Earth, however, is the fact that they stock the ‘BC’ (Botanical Cuisine) brand of vegan dips and spreads; that is enough, in itself, to make me a loyal customer for life.
(287 King Street, Newtown)