The Realm Precinct will be donning the red, white and blue during July for a…
I remember, at age 12, thinking I’d feel really grown up at 15. When I was 15, I figured it would happen at 18. Now, I’m 39 and I’m still waiting. Although I have a grown up job with adult responsibilities and little ones of my own, most of the time I’m still a kid in my head…
It’s this juxtaposition between the inner child and the public adult that is at the heart of new Canberra hotspot, Playground. A martini and tapas bar, it is equal parts playful and sophisticated, and quite different to any other current Capital offering.
What’s most impressive is the commitment that owners, Ant, Illya and Nino, have shown to bringing the Playground concept to life. At its heart is the idea that there are two sides to every adult – the child and the grown up – and this is faithfully reflected in the fitout. Stand at the full length glass front doors and look down the length of the space, and you’ll see the ‘young’ on the left – all natural textures and bright contrasts; on the right, clean lines and polished finishes reflect a more grown up taste.
Ant, Illya and Nino’s vision was to create a playful, childlike yet classy, environment in which to enjoy high end food and drink. Influenced by Melbourne and Sydney’s great little tapas bars, the boys wanted to bring a similar experience to Canberra – one that would deliver personality and character but with a high level of service and product.
Playground will offer an intimate martini list, which will change regularly, plus a range of predominantly craft beers and ciders, and an international wine list boasting around 50 drops available by the glass. And caffiends will be excited to learn the coffee is roasted and supplied by Two Before Ten.
On the food side, it’s all about the tapas (one of the Playground rules is ‘learn to share’!) Head Chef Joel Miller has an impressive pedigree, with experience in the kitchens of Courgette and Aria, and has designed a menu which spans the traditional to the contemporary. Ant says Playground will aim to challenge its patrons to try something a little different to their usual, and this reflected in his pick of the current food offerings – a Roasted Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Mascarpone Tart
The owners believe it’s “important to deliver an experience” and their attention to detail in delivering on this extends to their people. Playground staff will wear uniforms conceived by fashion designer, Belinda Armstrong – think bright chinos (red for girls, blue for boys), white emblematic tees, and Dunlop Volleys. Female staff will sport red lips in the exact shade as their pants. It’s all in keeping with the young, fresh vibe.
While the proof will be in the pudding when Playground opens later this week, the bar looks set to be an exciting and welcome addition to Garema Place, which is finally starting to get its mojo back. If these sneak peek images intrigue, be sure to hotfoot it down when doors open, and play nice kiddies!