When Chris and Gabriella Giufre designed Harbourside Market on Oxley Drive, Biggera Waters, they wanted to create a unique fresh food and dining precinct, unrivalled on the Gold Coast. The Market comprises of ten shops, each with its own floor plan, under one square roof, five of them with a central payment system.
Yes, the one roofed market concept has been seen before (most notably in James St., Teneriffe and Ferry Road, Southport), so what is different about Harbourside? What concepts does this complex take to a new level? To us there are three: the trend for shopping and eating to travel into different realms as destination, visual feast, art and theatre.
Food as Destination
‘Food as destination’ is a major marketing point in tourism. It provides a selling point for locations and businesses, for both domestic and international tourists. For us, dining out on local cuisine, visiting local markets and food stores, is one of the great joys of travel – a cultural element which we research just as much as the tourist attractions and the history of the area.
With its mix of Australian and international cuisine on display, Harbourside provides a destination in its own right: a place where you can go to shop, dine, socialise, or just to spend time in comfort, where you will find exceptional quality food, produce and service conveniently located together.
Let’s go to Harbourside!
Food as Visual Feast
“Immerse yourself in the pleasures of fine food…in a uniquely designed architectural showcase.”
From the moment of entry, Harbourside is a gourmet visual feast. Every product is arranged and displayed to maximise visual appeal.
Chocolatto, first inside the door, plunges us into autumn, the warm orange glow of its deco furnishings perfectly balancing the lush chocolate window displays, set off by the aroma of Campos coffee. It’s a hive of activity, the staff focused on food and drink production and customer service.
We are introduced to Rise Authentic Bakery through its beautiful bread and patisserie displays. The variety and assortment of the different breads reminds us of its place in so many cultures, an artisan product designed to be a staple diet item.
Just behind us at Season, fruit and vegetables, arranged perfectly, remind us of the bountiful harvest of our land. We bypass the all too tempting gelato shop!
The placement of a shiny black Vespa at the entrance to the Gusto Deli places us firmly in a European market. Yes, we’ve just arrived! The specialty cheese room, a vista of creamy delights, is overwhelming in its choice possibilities. Thank goodness there’s expert advice at hand to take us past our sensory overload to fill the platter! Not to mention the fresh pasta that is made daily on the premises, including a selection of the finest authentic sauces!
Our journey continues…
Food as Art and Theatre
As more and more artists explore the new genre of connecting food, taste, smell, memory and storytelling, so chefs such as Heston Blumenthal are exploring the genre of food as art and theatre.
At Harbourside, food is the featured artwork, through lighting, display focus and installation. Fresh oysters, shucked to order at Tidal, demonstrate not only the freshness of the produce but also the hard work needed to provide us with food. They also offer an adjoining restaurant where you can have the choice of your seafood cooked to order.
But most exceptional, in our opinion, is the butcher shop: Rare Gourmet Meat. Unrivalled by any food venue on the coast, this shop invites us to participate in the art and theatre of food production and preparation.
A square space, all four sides of the shop are taken up with different displays:
- The spectacular front window features food as installation. On one side is a glass-enclosed cabinet, the Cape Grim Dry Age Beef ageing slowly aided by the marble-like Himalayan salt which lines the sides of the display. On the other side of the doorway, a skewed suckling pig is mounted in a ‘still life’ pose, flanked by rosemary studded meat platters on marble stands.
- Framed behind a huge wall-sized picture window, the butcher carves meat, his backdrop field of grain, complete with farm shed and windmill. We become spectators and participants in the food journey, from farm, through preparation and sale, to be completed in our own home kitchen.
- Refrigerated cabinets of glistening pre-packed meat, such as Kobe waygu, spatchcock, lamb racks and standing rib roast fill a whole wall.
- In pride of place is, its glory accentuated by the black and gold trim and surrounds, is the French rotisserie – the pig’s destination! On weekends, a suckling pig is roast for several hours, its rich aroma filling the shop. For a civilised ‘babi guling’ experience, buy a plateful and eat it at the dining tables nearby.
Before leaving, we retreat to the ‘library’ in Accordion, its plush sofas and smart casual dining overlooked by book-lined walls. It’s an airy licensed café; an ambient, thoughtful place to meet up with friends, to enjoy a drink or meal, or sit with a coffee watching the passing parade.
Chris Giufre says, “Our vision for Harbourside Markets was to establish a food gallery. When you go to an art gallery, a piece of artwork stands out. It’s well lit, beautifully displayed. It’s the feature. We wanted to take the very best produce we could and make it shine.”
And shine it does! Harbourside has raised the bar for Gold Coast retailers, providing consumers with a great food destination and a visual feast.
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