If you don't know Kamila McIntyre when you step inside her Islington cafe, you will by the time you leave.
The Brazilian-born Novocastrian has poured her heart and soul into The Wonder Mates Cafe. It's a little bit quirky, just like its owner, with comic superheroes on the walls, pop culture collectables and even a Friends-themed Central Perk corner where you can settle in with a cuppa and watch the world go by on Maitland Road.
"I'd say you'd get to know me more by looking at the cafe than by spending a whole day with me, or even a month. Most things in the shop are from my personal collection," McIntyre told Food & Wine.
"As well as being quirky I'm geeky, I'm an animal person and I love my comics.
"The Wonder Mates is actually inspired by Captain Marvel - from her colours to her persistence, determination and strength."
McIntyre moved to Australia from Brazil five years ago and studied hospitality at TAFE.
"I've never owned a cafe, but it's always been a dream," she said.
"They had a fully operational restaurant at my TAFE in Western Sydney so I had experience working in all positions. I then worked in a restaurant for a couple of months and went on to study a diploma in leadership and management and an advanced diploma in business.
"I am a very loving person and you will never leave my house empty handed. I have always shown love through food."
All are welcome at The Wonder Mates, and milkshakes are on special after 3pm to cater for the after-school crowd.
"It is created to be a safe space, not only for me but for everyone in the community to feel accepted and at home," McIntyre explained.
"I chose Islington because I lived near the area and I felt welcomed and in my zone, especially with the old comic book shop down the road, where myself and lots of other people with similar interests used to feel safe and hang out."
While the cafe's theme and styling reflects McIntyre's personality, the menu draws from her Brazilian heritage.
"I have some specialty, local and handmade Brazilian food as well as baked goods considered traditional here in Australia such as scones, bagels, lamingtons, croissants, slices and tarts," she said.
"We also have products for all different dietary requirements such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and so on. In addition, we have specialty drinks from places we have visited that you won't find anywhere else in Newcastle, like our cold brew. Our coffee beans are our own brand, also roasted here in Newcastle, but the beans are mainly from Colombia."
The Wonder Mates Cafe, 52 Maitland Rd, Islington. Tue to Fri, 7am to 4pm, Sat and Sun, 8am to 2pm. Ph 4049 7016.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Tiarne Gillespie and Sean Brocklesby among thousands of Australians who can't get home due to passengers caps on international flights
- Knights stars Kalyn Ponga, Mitch Barnett and Hymel Hunt rested as Knights set to make four changes for Roosters clash
- Coronavirus: NSW records nine new COVID-19 cases
- Miscibility Gaps Alloy blocks, will help accelerate the shift to renewable energy by providing clean, economic, and scalable storage of energy