Hello Naomi is the kind of store that makes women coo with delight as they enter. Combining a simple font with an old-fashioned aesthetic, this tiny Newcastle store is visually pleasing. The glass counter holds just a few plates bearing cake-maker Naomi Henderson’s daily selections. They sit in front of couple of tall round cakes arranged on pretty pastel ceramic cake stands, including one – a decadent chocolate Snickers cake – available by the slice. The store was inspired by Naomi’s visit to her friend Melissa Forte, a fellow baker (and now cookbook author), and her cute little cake store in Sarzana, Italy called Melissa’s Tea Room & Cakes.
Naomi’s range of cookies is likely to push your nostalgia into overdrive. She boasts everything from her own version of the 1906 Arnott’s classic: the Iced VoVo, to Honey Jumbles ($5/each). The latter hide a plump biscuit under pale pink or white icing, and contain enough of a ginger kick to make your Nanna smile.
I first came across Hello Naomi products at Newcastle’s monthly Hunt & Gather Markets. This carefully curated market showcases boutique designer goods, foods and fashions, and takes over Pacific Park on the third Saturday of every month. Naomi was selling little glass milk bottles of Jersey milk with lashings of salted caramel, set off by red and white striped straws. I enjoyed my own taste of creamy nostalgia with one of her chewy-gooey Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwiches ($5.50/each) and it was such a revelation, it demanded a revisit.
Even Naomi’s simpler Choc Chip Cookies ($2.50/each), each containing generous amount of high quality milk and white chocolate chips, remind one of how cookies used to taste before mass manufacturing dominated our baked goods landscape. I’d be hard pressed to name a cake shop whose offerings I am more charmed by, both in terms of concept and execution.
175 King Street, Newcastle
Ph: (02) 4023 0867