LITTLE details are sometimes all it takes to make a dish unforgettable.
Extra attention to detail and putting in the time is the way chef Bec Greedy likes to cook. After years spent working at cafes around the region, Greedy has opened her own eatery, ink., in Newcastle East where the focus is on offering homemade food that's fresh, seasonal and full of flavour.
"That's our whole schtick. It's not fine dining by a long shot but it's delicious, tasty food using really nice, good quality produce and using local products," Greedy says.
"That's something we take a lot of pride in."
Look no further than their handmade sausage rolls. These are no ordinary run-of-the-mill pastries.
"Our butcher on Brunker Road in Adamstown put together a very special blend of wagyu beef mince for us and we use our own sourdough offcuts to make breadcrumbs and mix fresh herbs in," Greedy says.
"It's a little special and about getting as much flavour into those things as possible."
From the lemon-infused labneh cheese to the cultured butter, almost everything is made in-house. The menu also highlights local produce, such as the squid ink pasta from Anna Bay pasta maker Pasta Di Porto in the ink. linguine with butter poached prawns, confit cherry tomato, chilli, garlic, rocket, parmesan and lemon ($24), as well as eggs from Just Got Laid.
Try the Eggs Dutchy (named after Greedy's partner and ink. sidekick Ben "Dutchy" Holland, who is well-known around Newcastle as a former member of ska band The Porkers) which has two poached eggs with sautéed greens, bacon or mushrooms, hollandaise, caramelised onion and ink.'s signature activated charcoal sourdough ($22); or the corn fritters with house-made chilli jam, herb salad, labneh, poached eggs and avocado ($22). There is also a cabinet full of grab-and-go sweet and savoury options that change daily.
"How we work is we go in each morning and say, 'Right, what have we got in the cool room? What have our suppliers given to us? What's in season? What's yummy?'," Greedy says.
On regular rotation in the cabinet are freshly baked baguettes (butter poached prawns, crumbed chicken or salami); quiches; toasties (cheeseburger, spicy caprese or vegan veggie); cakes and pastries including blueberry, lemon and yoghurt loaf; chocolate peanut fudge brownie; and Snickers slice (vegan).
Future plans for ink. include charcuterie-style boards for customers to take across to the road for a picnic in Pacific Park, as well as takeaway heat-and-eat meals for an easy dinner at home.
Greedy, whose daughter has food allergies, takes care when catering for dietary requirements.
"Making good food accessible to people with allergies and intolerances is a real passion of mine, so we always make sure there is something there that we can offer," she says.
"If you see something that you like that isn't working for your dietary requirements, always ask because I can easily pop something together quickly."
And for the coffee? They use The Bear and the Beard blend from Sydney-based Seven Miles Coffee Roasters and offer a wide range of milk options.
"It has a bit of a feel-good vibe to it in that a dollar from every kilo bag we sell goes directly to the Bear Cottage at Westmead Children's Hospital," Greedy says.
For the non-coffee drinkers, ink. stocks handmade, small batch tea from Melbourne company, Tea Drop.
"Again, we are trying to find some cool little producers that are a little out of the ordinary," Greedy says.
ink. is located at 12 Pacific Street, Newcastle East. Open 8am to 2pm weekdays (closed Tuesdays) and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 1pm.
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