Food Safari 3: The Happy Wombat

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When most Novocastrians think about the West End they rarely equate it with innovative dining and an eclectic eating – in short, great food. A group of West Enders who love to eat, talk and socialise over a table of goodies have formed a Food Safari and we are prowling the neighbourhood shining a light on some of our dining treasures.

You can read about our previous culinary adventures here:

On a recent Tuesday night we arrived en masse at The Happy Wombat, curious to see what was on offer. The Wombat let us pull together a couple of their tables for six to make one long feasting table. And this is where The Happy Wombat comes into its own. It’s the kind of place perfect for after work get togethers, group celebrations, birthdays and parties. At our table were old friends, new friends, acquaintances and “hello, who are you?” brand new acquaintances.

Picking up the Wombat’s main menu I was impressed; it announced ‘All Day Menu. 12 til Close’. If they are open and it’s on the menu you can order it. At last, an exercise in culinary common sense.

We began with garlic sourdough from local supremo Baked Uprising, a trio of house made dips and some beer battered chips. These were lifted from the usual pub fare realm with the optional addition of truffle oil – Whoa! For the veggos a pizza of braised fennel, artichoke hearts, bocconcini and caramelised onion got the thumbs up. Meaties dug into the prosciutto, glazed pears, blue cheese and snow pea pizza and likewise it didn’t disappoint.

We ordered a lip-smacking salad which soared above the standard pub offering with a zingy combination of: crab, mango, roquette, fresh chilli and fried shallots with a coriander and sweet chilli dressing. I advocate shared plates on a shared table and the Wombat’s menu has a mouth-watering list, we dug into: coconut crumbed prawns, pork belly bites, warm olives and arancini and there were many more to choose from, but we were sated.

Food brings people together. It’s good like that. Are you stepping out to eat? Don’t just automatically head east – go west. The West End; it’s not just eclectic, quirky and edgy, but delicious as well. Hey, we’ve got it all. Welcome!

The Happy Wombat, 575 Hunter Street, Newcastle West is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours: Monday 7.00am to 5.00pm, Tuesday to Friday 7.00am to late, Saturday 8.00am to late, Sunday 8.00am to 8.00pm. Phone: 0406 995 033 Email: Web:

Kimberly O’Sullivan

Have you chosen the West End as your home or as the perfect place to run your business? Do you have a West End tale which deserves a wider audience? What inspires and infuriates you about the West End? If you have a story to tell I would love to talk to you! Here’s how to find me:; 0413 250155


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