On Friday 6 December, Signal Box, the most recent restaurant to be added to Newcastle’s long list of foodie hot spots, opened their doors to members of the public.
Combining global hospitality influences and paying homage to Newcastle’s great history, Signal Box has been crafted for local foodies to relax, converse and experience some of the best food, wine and produce in the Hunter.
The redevelopment is the brainchild of Andrew Macdonald from The Little Nel (Nelson Bay) and co-owners; Executive Chef Dan James, Head Chef George Mirosevic and Mathew Key (from The Little Nel).
Andrew Macdonald has been intimately involved in the design and development of Signal Box’s concept, wanting to create an inviting space for people to feel comfortable and really immerse themselves into the café culture made famous by major cities, like Paris.
“If you look at a typical Parisian café, alongside coffee, the food is hugely important as is the option of an easy glass of wine in the evening. Most are open from morning until night, so you can sit in a comfortable and familiar place outside of your home at any time,” he said.
“That’s what we have built at Signal Box –a place to feel comfortable at any time of the day.
“You can have a lovely higher-end bistro meal for dinner in our pavilion and you could also enjoy a more casual evening sitting in the courtyard appreciating a glass of Hunter wine with a cheese board, or people watch on the rooftop over a late evening latte and cake,” Andrew continued.
The state-heritage listed Signal Box located in Newcastle East’s Market Lawns is unique and rare.
Constructed in 1936, the Newcastle Signal Box internal equipment prevails highly intact, fully operational and retains the ability to demonstrate the remarkable technical innovations introduced at the time of its design.
Local architect Jason Elsley, from Derive Design, led the respectful renovation which features an articulated pavilion structure that is informed by the former use of the building and the railway line, as well as providing a highly attractive and inviting covered outdoor dining area that is connected to the surrounding public park domain
“This small piece of architecture seeks to place the importance of narratives through building language front and centre – to continue the legacy of the former signal box building with all its historic ties to the early development of the working town that focused on steel, shipping and transport, whilst also acknowledging the major shifts underway in Newcastle to a place that celebrates culture, diversity and the natural environment,” Jason said.
With bold branding taking cues from the site’s rail heritage, local creative agency Headjam worked closely with the Signal Box team and Derive Design to create a brand that honours the modern era in which the Signal Box was originally built, drawing influence from railway signage typical of the time, and placing an emphasis on a vibrant location that connects people.
Whether it be breakfast in the courtyard, a late afternoon lunch or a more refined dinner by night, Signal Box is a fun and happening place to spend time in Newcastle’s east end.
Whilst there are some talented chefs on the roster who have worked in some serious high-end restaurants, the food is more approachable and relatable –food that can be enjoyed every week, or even every day.
Signal Box is now open to locals and are taking bookings for future visits.
IMAGE | Signal Box restaurant launch for media on Wednesday 4 December
Signal Box is a fun, vibrant all-day restaurant offering an approachable and relatable dining experience in Newcastle’s east end.
Taking inspiration from the café culture made popular in Paris, Signal Box incorporates relaxation and comfort to provide the ultimate foodie experience for Novocastrians.
The unique architecture of our revamped restaurant retains the original Signal Box features, paying homage to Newcastle’s long industrial history thanks to the team at Derive Design.