Take a big appetite and plenty of car space when you visit The Kitchens at Robina Town Centre, because if you are not tempted you don’t deserve to call yourself a food lover.
They say this food playground is globally inspired but locally focussed, and this certainly rang true to me. It’s a melting pot of artisans, chefs, providores and purveyors which is sure to start any foodies’ blood pumping.
Expect 55 retailers over two floors with an industrial theme in indoor and outdoor spaces. You can get everything food related here from premium meat and vegetables to flowers for the table. It's not your standard shopping centre. There's a butcher’s window filled with hanging meat and sometimes a butcher carving it up, sushi made with whelks and surf clams, dumplings hand made in front of your eyes and I'm only just getting started.
Along with plenty of places to spend your money, there also are tastings, workshops and master classes in the open kitchens and pop-ups.
Here’s what you need to know before you go.
1. Robina Town Centre virgins beware – this is one big shopping centre so it pays to have an entry plan. The best parking for The Kitchens is in the purple or orange car parks off Robina Town Centre Drive, otherwise there’s a lot of walking involved and you will get lost. Luckily there are lots of friendly help desks to get you back on track. There’s also an app for that of course, so head to the app store and type in Robina and you’ll see what’s happening across the entire centre.
2. Jimmy Grants is popular chef George Calombaris’ souvlaki bar inspired by his Greek heritage. It’s his sixth store nationally and the first in Queensland. Jimmy Grant is the name Aussies gave to immigrants in the 1950s when they couldn’t pronounce their names. Whether the immigrants were from Greece, Asia or the Middle East, all were called Jimmy Grant. I tried The Patris which is named for the ship that brought post WW2 Greek immigrants to Australia. It’s filled with crunchy prawns, cucumber, coriander and mint drizzled with honey mayo, all wrapped in a thick pita bread. It’s a knockout. Make sure you check out the black and white retro photo on the back wall of Greek sunbathers in revealing swimmers - a classic. Jimmy Grants also has an app so you can order from your table but I couldn’t make it work. Next time.
3. Hero Sushi has two outlets – a takeaway on the ground floor and sushi train-style restaurant on the first level. The chefs prepare food in front of your eyes and the choice includes usual items such as welks and sea clams along with kingfish and sashimi.
4. Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co is serving up the same damn fine burgers that I’ve tried at Noosa Heads.
5. Pure Meats has a window filled with hanging meat and another set up for showing how they make the prepared meals. Their products are sourced from a select group of family-owned, local farms.
6. Head to Poppy’s Chocolates for a coffee topped with really good melting chocolate (make sure you order a cappuccino). Chat to Craig and take him up on his offer that if it’s not the best coffee you’ve ever tasted he will wash your car. Note – Craig only washes two door hatchbacks. Poppy’s Chocolates make over 200 chocolate varieties on the Gold Coast.
7. You’ll find more than your favourite Asian groceries at Ming Mei Asian Supermarket where there’s an impressive range of specialty products, ingredients and wares. Browse the shelves and you’ll find it hard to resist like we did.
8. Fish La by William Wu fuses fine dining, takeaway and retail plus there’s an onsite smoke and air-drying room. Yes, that’s right, in the middle of the shopping centre. They have a good selection of local seafood and international delicacies.
9. Honey Eater Kitchen has a wonderful outdoor terrace and food that features a combination of French and Asian techniques. Try the soft shell crab with lime and siracha aioli on a brioche bun from their sandwiches menu – highly recommended.
10. Elixiba focuses on vegan and gluten-friendly dishes and infuses its fare with rare active botanicals. Try the Cheshire Cat cocktail and watch it change colour before your eyes as you add the elixir.
If this doesn't whet your appetite, how about the 26 beehives that are set up at Robina Town Centre? Their honey will be harvested, processed, extracted and bottled naturally at The Kitchens Cooking Stage.
Any questions? Ask the concierge desk at the entrance to The Kitchens.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.