We the good time-loving people of the Gold Coast are all about a tummy-filling feast complete with friends, frosty cold beverages and a relaxed vibe where stretchy pants are a perfectly fine sartorial choice. We like other things too but for the purposes of this tale, that scenario is the go.
Enter TGI FRIDAYS, a bar and grill-style venue that originated in Manhattan, NYC in the 1960s, spearheading a cultural revolution with the introduction of the city’s first female-friendly singles bar (wow).
The space brought in huge crowds due to their quality cocktails, eclectic décor and (most importantly) the opportunity to mingle with like-minded locals un-chaperoned. Can you even imagine what would have gone on? How good.
TGI FRIDAYS was also said to have initiated ‘happy hour’ for which we can all be thankful and, over the next few years expanded across the States at a rapid rate.
Lucky for us, the brand has now become a worldwide phenomenon and the very first Queensland version opened just this week right here on the Gold Coast.
Now known as a family-friendly venue, the newbie can be found on The Promenade at Robina Town Centre and the fitout is all industrial-style with timber accents and sweet light installations – which we’re obviously all about.
There’s be both indoor and outdoor seating options, a central bar where sports lovers can catch pretty much any game going on and an open kitchen if you’re into watching tasty eats being prepped for your consuming pleasure.
The menu has been refined over the years to focus on high quality produce and with sharing in mind.
For starters there are delightful things like Mozarella Sticks and Mac ‘N’ Cheese bites and for mains, dishes along the lines of sliders, loaded fries, stacked, handcrafted burgers, salads and of course steaks and ribs will grace the menu, so that’s where your stretchy pants come in friends.
TGI Friday’s signature ribs are glazed with a Jack Daniels situation that is extremely delicious and there are flame-grilled steaks on offer too.
For dessert a giant Sundae should finish you right off in the best possible way.
Signature cocktails are the best of the drinks menu with sips like Pink Punk Martinis, Blackberry Iced Tea and Lychee Mojitos on offer.
There’ll be a DJ every Friday and Saturday night and on the other nights, a crowd DJ app so you can log in and choose your own musical adventure.
Oh and if it’s your birthday, you have to stand up on a chair and have the entire restaurant song to you.
It’s an exciting little community hub where good vibes and exceptional eats are the name of the game.
Summer here we come.
P.s TGI stands for Thank God It’s in case you’re somehow unaware.
LOCATION: The Promenade, Robina Town Centre, Robina
European people are exceptional at many things; equality, being ridiculously good looking, fashion, architecture they don’t knock down for the sake of a few dollars, literature, okay, okay they’re exceptional at everything.
At the very top of that list though, Europeans are connoisseurs of fine coffee and good food, made with love and conveniently, those are two of our favourite things.
Which is why it makes us extremely happy that a brand new European-inspired eatery opened in Robina recently bringing all the fine coffee and good food we could possibly wish for.
The newbie is called Dark Fluid Espresso and it’s the work of two absolutely delightful Europeans (obviously) whose goods you’ve probably sampled, and loved, before.
Sonia and Jovan Ivanovski owned the much-loved deli (plus a few others across the Coast) that once lived where The Kitchens now stands at Robina Town Centre stocking all of the European meats and cheeses and coffee and what an absolute treat that place was.
Anyway, all that goodness has now been moved just a short stroll away to the Easy T Centre and that’s good news for everyone.
The space boasts indoor and outdoor seating with ALL of the car parks out front and a cosy, welcoming vibe that’ll make you feel right at home.
Menu-wise you can expect the very best brunch goodies sprinkled with a little of that European flair and washed down with Wilde coffee fresh out of Melbourne.
A couple of favourites included the Black Truffle Eggs with semi-dried tomatoes, grilled asparagus, prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, sourdough and truffle oil. Perfectly balanced tastiness.
We also enjoyed the Smashed Avocado (of course) because there was a whole lot of avocado plus feta, Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, radishes, roasted seeds and fresh mint on rye bread – perhaps the best we’ve ever had.
There’s also a delightful Haloumi Burger and Vanilla Pancakes and we would like to eat every single one a few more times thank you very much.
For an after-brunch treat there are homemade (by Sonia) cakes and slices, European specialties and also of the good old caramel variety and if you’re more into takeaway type situations there’s delicious sandwiches, wraps and salads for your lunching pleasure.
In summary, if you’re after a homestyle, flavour-packed feast with a side of fine coffee and that European welcoming vibe you no doubt love, look no further than Dark Fluid Espresso.
They would love to have you.
LOCATION: Easy T Centre, 510 Christine Ave, Robina
HOURS: Monday to Saturday 6.30am to 4pm and Sunday 7am until 3pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Remember as a child when climbing to the top of things was the absolute greatest achievement possible? Well turns out, even as an adult, reaching (literal) new heights makes you feel like a million dollars.
So much so that Robina has recently acquired a brand new, state-of-the-art space so we Gold Coasters can climb things to our hearts’ content (but in air-con).
It’s called Alpine Indoor Climbing and it’s an extremely interesting (and aesthetically pleasing) venue designed for everyone from beginners to the advanced among us, to experience the challenging satisfaction of bouldering (with pretty coloured, faux boulders because, indoors).
Created by husband and wife team Jamie and Kirsty Booth along with Jamie’s brother Joe Booth, Alpine Indoor Climbing opened as the only climbing space on the Coast of its’ kind and let us tell you, it’s impressive.
The actual space itself was designed by an innovative German company by the name of Blocz and the process of creation is fascinating. Jamie and Kirsty created a model which was built and scanned in and over numerous months in design phase the project came to life.
And said project is a room with geometric shapes built onto the walls and brightly coloured boulder-like blocks (technical) placed on said shapes to resemble climbing an actual cliff face.
You can go straight up, up at an angle, upside down, any which way you please really, following tracks built at different grades. Which means you can practice on climbing walls the pros train on and yes, there are soft mats beneath to cushion you, should you fall (climbing back down is recommended of course).
Basically it’s the good time your younger self would have absolutely loved, but built for your adult self (strictly 10 years old plus) wanting both a challenge and a fun time.
Not to mention you can get coffee and have a chat with other climbers, many of whom can give you tips on becoming your very best climbing self.
If you haven’t climbed a boulder in quite some time (same), you can get a casual visit pass and then once you’re hooked, go for a 10-visit pass or a membership for six or 12 months or a no contract membership. And you will get hooked!
Alpine Indoor Climbing was built by climbers for both those who are already passionate about the sport and those who don’t yet know they are.
We highly recommend getting down to Robina to give it a go for yourself, you’re guaranteed to work up a sweat and probably have a laugh while you’re at it.
Plus, your inner child gets to feel like a million dollars and there’s nothing better than that.
LOCATION: 86 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina
HOURS: 6am until 8.30pm Monday to Friday, 8am until 6pm Saturday and 10am until 6pm Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
STORY SPONSORED BY ALPINE INDOOR CLIMBING
They say good things come to those who wait and that certainly seems to be the case for the good people of Robina who have (probably) been waiting quite some time for an eatery of newbie Eddy +Wolff’s calibre.
The not-quite-open space has been the talk of the town for the last couple of months with owners Thao and Vien Nguyen (of Can Tho Kitchen fame) keeping tight-lipped on the location and style of venue. But it’s a secret no more with the intimate eatery set to open on Wednesday March 27th and here’s the low down for your learning pleasure.
You’ll find Eddy + Wolff in the midst of bustling Robina, just slightly out of the way and bringing all your Asian food dreams to life. The space, a former Laundromat, has been absolutely transformed into a chic, 22-seat venue with a curved, polished concrete ceiling, a neon sign reading ‘I love drinking beer’ (written in Chinese Mandarin, which is amazing) and a pink velvet corner bench seat we would give up everything we own for.
You can perch up at the bar, with iron shelves holding many a bottle of delightful spirits hanging overhead or, at said pink velvet couch underneath the front window. It’s all very edgy and understated and, to be honest, one of the most beautiful fitouts we’ve come across in our local travels.
Having taken over and transformed Can Tho Kitchen (from Thao’s Mum) in 2014, the pair were keen to create something quite different for the Coast. Eddy + Wolff is a combination of their travels throughout Asia and, a trip to sample many a Melbourne eatery, and it is indeed unlike anything else around these parts.
The menu is made up of BBQ-style dishes, snacks, bigger plates and sides, all of which are designed to share and hail from Thao and Vien’s home country of Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea to name a few.
Don’t go past the Vietnamese-style Pork Collar, Korean BBQ Quail (with a bit of a spicy kick) and the Isaan Tofu Salad with Kaffir lime and sweet and sour caramel. All absolute taste sensations.
The wine list is tight, curated to match the menu perfectly and featuring a select few Canberra beauties because Canberra, friends, is the city where the couple met and Eddy and Wolff are the streets they lived on at that time.
There are just four cocktails on offer and we highly recommend Peace to the East with Jinzu gin, maraschino liqueur, Yuzu lime juice and cucumber. Fresh and zesty.
All your favourite Asian beers, and a few local ones, are on offer too and a very tasty Lychee cider that can’t be found anywhere else locally. YUM.
As always, you may choose your own adventure in the dish department or go with The Lucky Eight set menu ($40 for lunch and $45 for dinner), which is made up of two dishes from each section of the menu – BBQ, snacks, a bit bigger and side dishes. Such good value.
Oh and, quite the fans of meaningful little touches everywhere, the team have created a sweet menu that features both an illustrated cityscape of the spots they’ve travelled and also little speech bubbles with words like ‘love’, ‘tradition’, BBQ, and ‘spicy’ in many languages, dotted throughout.
So you see, good things really do come to those who wait. We’ll be in Robina if you need us.
LOCATION: 12-217/219 Ron Penhaligon Way, Robina
HOURS: Wednesday 5pm until 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 12pm until 2pm and 5pm until 10pm and Sunday 12pm until 2pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith