Win a coast weekend away
THE foodie movement has rolled into a shopping centre and the result is The Kitchens.
Opened in November last year, it is marketed as a $160 million food playground featuring cafes, bars and restaurants attached to the Robina Town Centre in the Gold Coast.
A wander through the two levels of the food hall takes the senses on an international journey.
There was a waft of frying meat from the chef working the teppanyaki grill; a competition of colours from the yellow taco and avo on a plate at the South American bar-restaurant; the perfect char on top of a line of lemon meringues; and brewing herbs and spices from a retailer dedicated to selling tea that caused some olfactory confusion.
There is something for just about every taste bud.
Even the vegans are taken care of at a bar and restaurant dedicated to meals that hero vegetables and leave the poddies off the plate.
But to work up an appetite there was some shopping to be done first.
With more than 400 retailers to choose from and a $50 voucher to burn, I was spoilt for choice when it came to updating my wardrobe with an accessory and new bag at the Robina Town Centre.
Shop assistant Sandra Pelham, a retail expert with 13 years’ experience, said those who want to update their everyday handbag should stick to classic tones and make sure they choose the right size.
"For a work bag you could go for a long tote with strong straps," she said.
"Go for a black or brown that will keep it going through seasons, or you can go for a colour that will update the look."
Ms Pelham said blocks of colour were a great addition to a night bag.
"Some ladies don’t like carrying much at all so if it’s just a phone, lipstick and keys, use (something smaller) that will go from day into night," she said.
After the retail therapy, it was back to The Kitchens where the theatre of the teppanyaki chef commanding the flat-plate grill was too hard to ignore.
My partner and I took our seats and felt the heat of the barbecue as the chef lifted a sizzle from the plate when he threw the meat and veg on.
After the meal, we stocked up on some fancy cheeses, crispy sourdough and a little tart for dessert from the deli to take back to the 14th floor of the Mantra Sierra Grand, in Broadbeach, where a big balcony and ocean view awaited.
Despite a moment of madness when I thought I might invest the leftover food voucher on some great looking avos and limes, in the spirit of paying it forward I decided to give away the remainder of the voucher so someone else could enjoy The Kitchens.
Turns out some people are quite afraid of free stuff.
My first attempt was to hand the voucher to an older woman. She shooed me away like an annoying fly. Strike one. But after years of forcing people to answer questions they want nothing to do with, I would not be perturbed.
Very well, I thought, as I marched back through The Kitchens doors, I’ll find someone.
I homed in on a second woman waiting outside a supermarket.
After a brief chat, turns out she was not the best choice either, as she had had a few teeth removed and was in a fair bit of pain. What I thought was a sympathetic smile was a grimace from pain. Strike two. I thought my experiment in generosity was over.
We were walking back to our car and had to go through a department store, which was closed.
A kind staff member still let us through to save us walking around the outside of the centre, and in return I happily gave her the voucher.
I hope she and a few of her co-workers enjoy a coffee and cake, or maybe a high tea that is also on offer at the foodie haven attached to the shopping centre.
We went ‘home’ to the Sierra Grand and spread our things out across two rooms in the spacious apartment.
Then we tucked into a cheese platter for supper while watching the lights of the Broadbeach high-rises turn on as the setting sun turned the ocean from a blue to black expanse.
FINE DINING: The Kitchens is a $160 million 'food playground' that was opened at Robina Town Centre in November last year.
The Mantra Sierra Grand at Broadbeach.
Robina Town Centre has more than 400 retailers.