The Little Nel cafe is located underneath the conveniently-located Hotel Nelson, just a few minutes walk from the centre of Nelson Bay. It is a cafe that you may need to track down, as it is located up the hill from the main foreshore area, however, it is definitely worth the effort! It has been open since 2011 and each time I have driven past it, there have been people sunning themselves out on the verandah or relaxing under the umbrellas, taking in the glimpses of bright blue water view through the trees. This cafe also gets consistently high reviews on other review websites, so it wasn't long before my husband and I were hopping in the car and trying it out for ourselves for a special anniversary breakfast.
A scenic and sunny way to start the day on the verandah at The Little Nel Cafe. Image: Original photos from The Little Nel Facebook
Unfortunately the minute we arrived, the heavens opened and there was a downpour of tropical rain - which meant we couldn't eat on the verandah - however, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the inside of the cafe was large enough to cope with a good number of people. There was a small area to the left when you first walk in and then even further was the main, more popular area, with plastic pull-down windows so you can still see the view. This cosy and light-filled area also had comfortable seating along the outside with cushions and was the ideal spot to sit - in any weather.
The verandah area (after the rain!), with glimpses of water views through the trees from the end...
On our visit, the friendly staff member left us with some menus to browse and we were enamoured with the entire page. The menus at The Little Nel change seasonally and on the morning we visited some of the delicious-sounding breakfast items included "Bombolini, warmed Nutella filled Italian doughnut" ($9), "Overnight Oats & Chia Pudding Jar, fresh and baked apples, rhubarb compote, bananas, kiwi, cacao & coconut ball" ($16) and "Middle Eastern Falafel Bowl, quinoa, broccolini, kale, yoghurt, carrot hummus, pickled beetroot, roast pumpkin, pomegranate, seeds & nuts" ($21).
We chose the "Toasted Muesli, kombucha poached pears, kiwi fruit, strawberries, mandarin, grapefruit, pomegranate passionfruit & coconut yoghurt" ($16) and the "Smashed Avocado on Toasted Soy & Linseed Sourdough, fresh basil, pickled onions, Danish feta, turmeric kale chips, local microgreens & hemp seed" ($17) and a couple of coffees to kick start our day. We sat back and chatted, listened to the music and soaked up the atmosphere of this cute cafe and before we knew it, our breakfast was served with a smile.
Large latte and small cappuccino, made to perfection
As we sipped our creamy and beautifully-made coffees, we commented on how particularly good they tasted. We have since learnt that The Little Nel uses a Newcastle coffee bean company called Suspension Espresso, which has a strong local following - and it is easy to see why.
It is also easy to see why The Little Nel is also a local favourite, with meals that are presented in an exceptional way (definitely insta-worthy!) and with a taste to match. Both of our meals had us savouring every bite, with a delicious blend of avocado and feta in the Smashed Avo, and the Toasted Muesli had more-ish coconut yoghurt hiding underneath the crunchy muesli - making it a creamy and crunchy combination with bursts of fruit flavours hitting the tongue. After scraping every last bit of flavour off our plates and taking every last sip of coffee, we were left completely happy with our whole experience at The Little Nel cafe.
Why don't you give it a try for yourself this weekend? Just remember if you're sitting on the verandah...
Beautiful food - and a wildlife experience! - at The Little Nel cafe