Heart of Hall – Heart of the West.

Have you ever noticed the way that people tend to gravitate towards the kitchen? It is the heart of the home – both physically and metaphorically. Heart of Hall in Newport, has only been opened a little over a year, but has quickly become the heart of the West, aiming to provide ‘a place where. . . families and community can come together and have an opportunity to. . .  learn about just how glorious food and wine is.’

Directors and Founders, Nicole Walker and Stacey Krbaleski’s aim is true. Opening in early 2018, the space is everything a good kitchen should be – open, warm, inviting and filled with bloody good food. More than just a café – Heart of Hall is a cooking school and a store – a ‘culinary hub.’

Food is one of the greatest tools we have in bringing people together. It is a way to connect and unify. We approach the kitchen bench. We observe. We ask questions. We learn. We explore, through taste.

There is a fantastically enormous kitchen bench in Heart of Hall and you cannot help but approach the marble island upon entry. Come for brunch – stay for an education.

On Sunday April 14, my family and I did both….

IMG_2572With Easter just around the corner, what could be better than learning to make Hot Cross Buns? Having a tasty steak sandwich, a glass of prosecco and then learning to make Hot Cross Buns!

The thing I love most about running InkCloud, is my ability to share the West with people that don’t know it as well as I do. I find myself bragging about local hot spots, as if they belong to me and I have something to do with the awesomeness of it all. Heart of Hall has been high up on my bragging list for a while now.

As my sister and I sat with our mother on Sunday afternoon, raving about the deliciousness of our lunches – mum, completely oblivious to our motives beyond the meal – I watched knowingly, as Chef Kate McKay prepared her work space.

We moved towards our allocated bench and let mum know what she was in for. Excitement and gratitude ensued….

Chef Kate took command of the room and we eagerly awaited our instructions. Flour, was measured. Yeast was weighed. Spices were tossed about with abandon – can there ever really be too much cinnamon?

Cooking is better when approached as a team sport. We bring our individual knowledge and feelings to the kitchen, contributing to the process in differing ways. My daughter, who speaks of wanting to be a chef when she is older – tweaked her dream on Sunday afternoon – now wanting to be a cooking instructor, like Chef Kate.


As our dough doubled in size, we were transported by the aroma overtaking our senses – Hot Cross Buns smell even better when you’ve made them yourself.

Of course, the Bun itself is nothing without a lashing of homemade butter. That’s when the fun really began….

Cream in a jar, with a little salt, makes for some truly amazing food science – you just need to shake it all together, until you feel like your arms are going to drop off! The whole process could be easily achieved with a mixer, but where’s the fun in that?

OzSTXZ0YTSGxoSvCWpdqTAHaving seriously earned our reward, we sat down to Hot Cross Buns, straight out of the oven – and a decadent hot chocolate, to wash it all down.

The team at Heart of Hall are committed to bringing food back to the people. They value ‘the process of providing a delicious and exciting meal.  The pleasure that comes from spending time with loved ones in the kitchen and around a beautiful meal that you cooked yourself.’

It is a process worth preserving.

Melissa Longo


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