The fanciest of eateries in the most unexpected of places
Late last year, a new delicious restaurant popped up in one of the most unexpected of places, the University of Newcastle. That’s right, Local Connections, a divine new dining venue has breathed new life into the Godfrey Tanner Bar and the Shortland building.
For those of us who may have frequented the Godfrey Tanner Bar over our University years, you might remember the dark space that became known for Wednesday Trivia nights and never-ending beers. While the Godfrey Tanner Bar itself continues to house some of the region’s best wines and beers, the Local Connections restaurant space has breathed new life into the Shortland Union building.
Located towards the rear of the Shortland Building, Local Connections has the building’s courtyard on one side and is exposed to the lush green bushland on the other. The interior has been divided into three separate eating areas: the fine-dining space, the casual eatery, and the outdoor deck space.
“The materials of the fit-out echo those of the original building: natural materials such as timber, tile, brass, and steel. Against them, furniture and fabric balance the composition, hues, and tones in complementary colours.”
The restaurant aims to take you on a journey through the flavours of Newcastle and the Hunter region. Head Chef, Alex Hunter is at the helm bringing a vibrant mix to the menu featuring fresh, colourful ingredients to bring you, creative farm-to-table dishes.
“Working solely with Newcastle area suppliers, the restaurant works to strengthen the connection between the University and community, while our team of food and beverage experts and kitchen attendants includes University of Newcastle students. It all combines to give our diners an authentic Newcastle experience like no other.”
For those looking for a more refined dining experience, pull up a seat in the upstairs area and be greeted with table service, and choose from the ‘dining’ menu. As the menu changes daily, we can’t tell you exactly what to expect, but know the goods will include a range of starters such as Fried Potato Raviolo and mains like the Wagyu Flank or Slow-Cooked Pork Neck.
“Our menu changes every day to highlight what’s seasonal, flavourful, and available.”
The 'eats' menu is catered for those looking for a quick pick-me-up or students needing some sustenance that still sits within the student budget. With a range of baked goods available like Banana Bread, Muffins, and even macarons, plus a range of breakfast dishes available until 11am, and for lunch, you can expect burgers, schnitzels, pasta, and more; all with a little Local Connections twist.
“Hunter is combing his Michelin-star experiences across the UK with a firm belief in plating up beautiful food that is well-priced and – importantly – regionally sourced. He is taking local apprentices on this journey of regional farm-to-table fare in the kitchen while supporting students with employment opportunities on the restaurant floor and behind the revitalised Godfrey Tanner Bar.”
The restaurant has also recently launched a series of local Tasting Nights that are open to the public. With the first kicking off in late April, the Tasting Nights will feature a vineyard, brewery, or distillery that has been carefully matched with three courses of seasonal and local ingredients. The newly launched Tasting Nights are due to run on the last Friday of every month. For more information on the next Tasting Night with Usher Tinkler Wines due to take place on the 28th of May, click here.
“The vision is to create a time and place for staff and students to invite friends and family onto campus to experience what is becoming one of the Hunter region’s most exciting dining experiences.”
Whilst the University may not be the first choice for many of us choosing to head out for a meal, Local Connections is open to anyone and everyone, and trust us when we say it is well worth the visit. From the beautifully unique architecture and the interior detailing complete with indigenous art to the delectable foodie options and the divine bushland setting, a visit to this somewhat secret foodie joint is a must.