Hunter Connection (Wynyard, NSW)

Today we’re going to review a shopping and gastronomy hub in the heart of Sydney. Hunter Connection (HC) has a strategic location. HC sits adjacent to Wynyard train station, near the northern end of the Central Business District (CBD). The Wynyard light rail stop is also in front of the station. I frequent this place since it represents the nearest food court (FC) to my chiropractor. Coincidentally, the centre offers some of the more reasonable eats in downtown Sydney. While grub dominates the scene, the hub also has a number of barbershops. There is a news agency. A few clothing alterations also operate here. Likewise, a mobile shop could be found. The centre also houses a variety store.

An embarrassment of cuisines

The range of cuisines at the FC is impressive. There are four Chinese places, including Famous Lunch. You could have your choice of rice or noodles, plus your pick of two to three viands. One of the Sino outlets is really popular with their made-to-order menu. This is in contrast to the rest of the stalls, which have dishes ready to be served. They also feature four Vietnamese outlets. One of these specialises in banh mi. Another has an array of rice paper rolls. The others sell takeaway boxes.

There’s sushi from the Japanese place and spicy Thai dishes. There are two Malaysian joints: one in the FC and another at the corner of George and Hunter Streets. HC likewise showcases Middle Eastern cuisine. The lone shop has been there for years. Not to do outdone, a budget burger place – full of deep-fried delights – could be found near the escalators. The FC also includes a fresh juice stand. Before I forget, there is also a Subway. I used to buy from them a bit.

Noontime rush

Lunchtimes could be crowded. The FC is a hot ticket in town. If you are caught in the noontime rush, finding a seat is difficult. While most of the places are indoors, there are a select number of outside tables. These would not be ideal in cold or rainy weather. In spite of the pandemic, a majority of food spots are still operating. At the height of the outbreak, sitting was not allowed. Gradually, a few chairs were provided. For months, social distancing under the four-square metre rule remained. Recently, with the easing of most citywide restrictions, the show has gone on. The seating is back to full capacity.

The FC is notable for closing early. By three pm, the whole FC has left for the day. In the early afternoon, and even during peak hour, the stops have already discounted their stuff. The prices are budget-friendly since the eats compete by value. Raising prices would be silly if the trend is to reduce them. There are other nearby FCs: MLC Centre, Australia Square, Gateway, and Westfield Sydney, to name a few. Indeed, MetCentre is a short walk away. None of them come close to the HC prices. There used to a bun place in the basement, but they left some time ago. Also in the latter is a massage parlour.

Enter the dragon

The centre has a few entrances. There is one via George Street. You would take this if alighting or catching the tram. I use the Pitt Street entrance when going to my chiropractor. Along the way, you’ll find the barbershops, the news agent, and not a few food stops. The stores on this side are mostly sandwich stops, with some pasta added for good measure. They also hawk fruit salads. There is also a Hunter Street exit down from the FC. Here, you’ll find most of the clothing alterations. HC also has some mini cafes, perfect for a pick-me-up.

‘A view to a kill’

The Pitt-Street side of the FC has floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It provides a nice view as you munch on your lunch. While sipping your laksa or fighting with your chicken, you would catch sight of the passers-by, the occasional vehicle, and the tall buildings. The vista also offers a snapshot of the current weather. HC is certainly not the latest, widest, or most modern FC. It’s not the glitziest or the avant-garde in dining. Yet HC proffers to two standout features: an enviable location and bargain prices.

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