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Re-live the roaring 20’s at The Williams Bar

I’ve never been good at keeping secrets, so when I stumble upon a hidden gem I spill the beans to everyone I know. The Williams Bar in Longworth House may not be Newcastle’s best-known hotspot but it’s a winner you need to try.

Nestled away behind the rubble of Wharf Road lies the well-known Longworth House, renowned for its elegant wedding and function rooms. However, few know of the unique foodie haven concealed inside. You’ll be transported back to the roaring 1920’s as you step into the lavish room. An eclectic collection of vintage armchairs, crystal vases and antique décor, creates a nostalgic ambience of old school glamour. The bar is an Instagrammer’s haven, leaving you shamelessly posing for the perfect snap.

If you’d like something to sip whilst you drink in the atmosphere, then indulge in one of the mixologist’s signature cocktails. The menu creatively pairs premium spirits with quirky flavours like dill and lavender, serving the concoctions in sparkling glassware. The bar boasts an extensive list of Australian wine and craft beer to satisfy your inner sommelier.

They may be humble in size, but the tapas offered on The Williams Bar’s menu are bursting with tantalising flavours. What better way to celebrate hurdling the mid-week slump than exploring your palette with good company. On a Wednesday or Thursday night, gather the squad and devour the Taste of Williams 8 Course Tapas Banquet, paired with a house sparkle, wine or tap beer for $40. Each round will take you on a culinary journey of umami, texture and pleasure.

The banquet embarks with a decadent antipasto platter of cured meat, olives and fragrant pumpkin cobb loaf. The salty sides contrasted with the sweet bread will entice your palette for the courses to come. The platter is paired with Coconut and Kaffir Infused Polenta Chips with peppery capsicum gel. The moorish crunch and creamy polenta core will have you fighting over the last crumb.

The chefs skilfully contrast taste and texture with the next delivery of tapas. The Chicken Lollipops put fried chicken world-wide to shame, start taking notes Colonel Sanders. The audible crunch as you bite into crispy batter is only beaten by the delicate lemon and oregano flavour released. Adjacent, on a bed of fluffy cous cous, jewelled with apricots and cranberries sit mouth-watering Spanish BBQ meatballs. The tangy fruit cuts the aromatic spiced meatballs flawlessly.

Pork belly is always a risky addition to the menu. In my quiet moments, I often daydream of that perfect crackling with buttery belly. The Twice Cooked Honey and Fennel Pork Belly brought my daydreams to life. The delicious belly is paired with caramelised apple puree, braised cabbage and crispy cauliflower croquettes. Sweet, savoury, crunchy and creamy, this course offers it all.

Just as you loosen your belt buckle, another enticing course is presented. You’re transported to the lush Mediterranean with Confit Lamb Belly on Beetroot and Almond Puree, served with Pickled Vegetables and Panko Crumbed Feta Balls. You could slice the delicate lamb with a spoon. Watching the tender meat flake apart is borderline pornographic. The acidity of the pickled vegetables, vibrant puree and salty feta all unite with to create an intense umami.

How does the kitchen possibly conclude such a blissful journey of taste and textures? By paying homage to the classic Crème Brulee! Served with an innovative twist, the two pots served may be mini but they’re packing a punch. Stepping away from the simple vanilla bean, the chefs prove their skill presenting Toasted Marshmallow and Red Wine and Caramelised Fig variations. The golden toffee gives a textbook crack as you dig into the pot of creamy custard. The toasted marshmallow adaptation is delicately smoky, and the red wine, gloriously tart, contrasting with its sugary neighbour. The desserts prove to be the sweetest finale to a spectacular culinary journey.

Take a leap of fate and ditch your regular for somewhere new. The Williams Bar’s lush ambience will entice your eyes and the tapas banquet will tantalise your tastebuds. The bar is open from 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday, so make a date and get in quick before the secrets out!

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