Not even torrential weather and flight delays could keep Jane Thomson, founder of the Fabulous…
When the Kingston Foreshore arrived on the Canberra dining scene, its instant popularity came as a surprise to some.
Not quite like the coffee haven of Manuka, a little different to the urban hub of Civic; ‘the Foreshore’, as it came to be known, has its own atmosphere, completely unique to that of other hubs…and it’s about to get even bigger and better.
Seated to the right of The Dock in prime waterfront location, the team behind ELEMENT “conducted demographic studies on the [area] in an effort to get the right mix for the residents and commercial space to meet what should be in the Foreshore precinct,” explains Guy Randell, the National Head of Retail for Laing+Simmons Commercial.
Joining the likes of packed gastropubs The Dock and Walt & Burley, popular politician hideaway, Wild Duck, and health food oasis Local Press Café comes a whole host of new eateries in ELEMENT, a new complex of shared apartment and commercial space that gives the waterfront ground floor a range of venues that were previously missing from the Foreshore.
“We wanted some high-end local brands as well as some international brands that are globally known,” explains Guy. The latter are Swiss ice cream favourite Mövenpick and Australian based The Meat and Wine Co. who have restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.
“They look for high end locations,” says Guy of The Meat and Wine Co., “and they fell in love with the [Foreshore]. Their level of service is second to none – they’re going to change the game.”
Joining these international giants are Canberra favourite Sammy’s Kitchen, “a no brainer considering [their] audience,” says Guy, and Beef and Barley, a burger and beer restaurant – “young Canberrans who were inspired by the UK to create high quality, quick service burgers”.
There’s also 7th & Bake Patisserie Cafe, which will provide fresh baked goods, sandwiches, breakfasts and lunches and “take care of all the tradies for breakfast, sell gourmet takeaway sandwiches for lunch and have great fresh produce for everyone”, an Indian restaurant and Molto Italian, which will bring a taste of Italy to the Foreshore.
These might seem like a radically diverse bunch of tenants, but Guy explains that there was much emphasis on offerings not competing with each other; instead offering a wide variety of services that suit the demographic.
“Cinnabar, from a young Canberran who had a vision and a dream, has private dining rooms and an amazing fit out serving Asian fusion – you’ll have to experience it for yourself. The fit out coming for Meat and Wine Co. is also amazing – that’s something we really worked on with everyone, creating cohesive spaces that fit together well,” says Guy.
On top of these restaurants and cafes there will be a huge suite of professional services on the first floor such as accountants, doctors, psychiatrists, builders and designers.
“We came out with some guidelines for the outdoor dining, the signage, the materials and the outdoor fit out,” explains Guy. The idea is for ELEMENT to draw inspiration from The Rocks dining precinct in Sydney, creating a cohesive outdoor aesthetic from a variety of different dining options, creating a greater flow of pedestrian movement along the Foreshore and boardwalk.
Also on the dining strip, but not in the ELEMENT complex, is Betti Bravo’s (replacing the recently-closed Rum Bar)—a cocktail bar with a Caribbean flavour.
Looks like there’s only one place to be this summer…
Photography by Javier Steel