Slower to gentrify than neighbouring suburbs Seddon and Yarraville, Newport's culinary desert is starting to awaken. Situated in the eclectic Hall St shopping strip (an interesting mix of shops, including a grocery store, a wine shop, a tattooist, a lighting and design store, and offices for legal services and asphalt) Nosh @ Newport is the newest cafe in the area. Newport lacks the village atmosphere of Seddon or Yarraville but its three small main shopping strips (Mason Street, Hall Street and Melbourne Road) all have little banks of shops just crying out for development. There's a ready-made audience in the burgeoning local mothers' groups and Nosh has clearly done its research, as the kid-friendly touches include high chairs, books, crayons and paper, plus a a kid's menu featuring cheese toasties, vegemite toast and coco pops.
Situated on the site formerly occupied by the Pepper Tree Cafe on the corner of Hall Street and Tait Street, the interior has been gutted and redone in schmick cafe style. Sage-green wooden chairs and pale wood tables are offset by the beige, brown, cream and terracotta artworks on the walls, which are for sale. Window-seat diners perch on little mushroom-shaped stools and gaze out at the peppercorn tree-shaded train station opposite. Specials of the day are chalked up on a blackboard above a glass cabinet filled with cakes and topped with clear jars filled with biscuits. There's plenty of room for prams, and there are also outside tables where you can soak up the afternoon sun.
The menu is modest but ticks all the right boxes, with the standard favourites of a big breakfast plate, eggs of your choice, homemade bircher muesli and toasted vine bread balanced with more unusual offerings of orange and strawberry salad with muesli crumble or homemade bean bake with a cracked egg and cheese-melt French stick.
Lunch could feature long plump rice paper rolls filled with poached chicken, bean shoots, coriander and roasted peanuts, with an accompanying sauce of rice wine, palm sugar and sweet chilli vinegar. The warm roti wraps could be filled with chicken caesar salad, haloumi, spinach and avocado, or smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and pistachio mayonnaise. Other choices include soup of the day, chef's salad, a thick, juicy steak sandwich, or plump sweet corn and potato fritters served with smoked salmon.
If you just feel like a snack, there are several cakes - perhaps a lemon tart, a carrot cake or a cheesecake - on offer, as well as excellent, smooth coffee. Open just a month, Nosh is already a hit with the locals, both those with and without prams.
Nosh @ Newport
24 Hall Street, Newport