Stairway to heaven – Toombul lifts the veil on its anticipated dining playground UPSTAIRS
For much of its 50-year existence, Toombul Shopping Centre has played second fiddle to Westfield Chermside as the go-to shopping and dining destination for locals of Brisbane’s northern suburbs. Well, the status quo is set to shift thanks to Toombul’s first-of-its-kind dining and entertainment hub UPSTAIRS. The brand-new precinct officially opened to the public last week, showing off its first wave of killer eateries. Come and get a closer look at some of the mouth-watering arrivals …
Mirvac already had big plans for Toombul Shopping Centre when the property group acquired it in 2016. The purchase was seen as a perfect repositioning opportunity for the oft-overlooked centre – a chance to reclaim a portion of market share within one of Brisbane’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas. With several major and mini-major tenants already anchoring the centre’s complement of shopping spots, food, beverage and entertainment were deemed key areas of improvement – especially in the wake of Westfield Chermside’s food precinct overhaul in 2017 and Everton Plaza’s recent redevelopment. Earlier this year, Mirvac announced plans for UPSTAIRS, a huge $35-million food and entertainment playground that promised to reshape a sizeable portion of Toombul into a vibrant art-soaked hub of elevated eats. Over the ensuing months, Mirvac drip-fed several vendor announcements to the hungry masses, revealing a diverse list of hospitality concepts from several established operators. The big reveal took place this month, when UPSTAIRS officially opened to the public on Thursday November 14. Locals that flocked to Toombul for the opening day were greeted by a new open-plan indoor and outdoor space, one that boasts a modern industrial aesthetic offset by eye-catching fixtures including a neon playground (complete with swing-set, see-saw and slide), popcorn ball pit, eye-catching murals and a sparkling feature fountain in the heart of the outside courtyard.
Once folks had completed a few laps of the UPSTAIRS interior, attention pivoted to the eateries themselves. Headlining UPSTAIRS at Toombul’s roster of venues is Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq – a carnival-inspired arcade and bar from entertainment-based hospitality crew Fun Lab (Holey Moley Golf Club, B. Lucky & Sons). This all-in-one entertainment concept delivers cutting-edge arcade games, sideshow thrill rides and a menu of eye-popping eats and drinks (you can get an in-depth look inside here). Joining Archie Brothers as marquee tenants of UPSTAIRS is Dapple + Waver – the newest venue from Aidan McGarrity and Mark McKenna, who own and operate Beyond the Pale at Coorparoo Square. Like its Coorparoo sibling, Dapple & Waver specialises in a laid-back pub-style atmosphere, boasting a contemporary aesthetic of copper, green tiles, timber and leather. The venue features a tidy selection of craft beer, wines and cocktails, as well as a menu of grub spanning breakfast (24-hour braised-brisket ragout, English muffins, breakfast bruschetta), lunch (pizzas, salads and burgers), and dinner (share and grazing plates, succulent steaks, fish tacos and more). Sitting pretty at the centre of UPSTAIRS’ interior portion is Il Gancio Pizzeria & Bar, the new Italian eatery from the brains behind Il Verde on King Street. This industrial-chic eatery boasts a sturdy open-plan design that encompasses concrete bench tops, booth seating (with brown and blue-leather banquettes) a copper pizza oven and two bars (one of which will be used for private cooking classes come December). The menu segues through mouth-watering Italian classics such as four-cheese croquettes and beetroot and asparagus risotto to beef scaloppine with mushroom and marsala sauce, a ten-strong pizza selection and the coveted cheese-wheel pasta.
Joining the ranks UPSTAIRS at Toombul’s food offering is popular Sunshine Coast-born burger and craft-beer franchise Hello Harry, which is dishing up its famed selection of stacked salivation-inducing burgers and sides. Fans of tasty noods can slurp up steaming hot bowls of fresh ramen at Niku Ramen, which boasts 15 kinds to try alongside a selection of udon dishes, donburi rice bowls, stir-fried eats and sides (seaweed fries, anyone?). If dumplings are more your thing, Little Red Dumpling has also opened a handy outlet at Toombul too. Bathed in the light of red neon signs, hungry guests can inhale serving after serving of hand-rolled rainbow dumplings, Shanghai-style xiao long bao, pan-fried wagyu buns, and pork and chive pancakes – all washed down with a crisp beer. Those seeking a pick-me-up should make tracks for Espresso Max – the go-to spot for a caffeine hit. This chic cafe isn’t a one-trick pony, though – it also serves up tasty fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including chicken-and-mushroom crepes, Thai beef salad tortilla cups, pulled-pork burger and open grilled paninis. Toombul’s on-site eight-screen cinema is also being given a makeover. The new-look cinema will open in December, showing off two upgraded premium BCC Recline cinemas with full-reclining seats, a renovated foyer and lounge area, a refreshed candy bar, coffee station and a licensed bar. That’s not all the exciting openings planned for Toombul – the coming months will see the arrival of Australia’s first Cinnabon outlet, a new dessert dispensary for Max Brenner, casual Asian eatery Jackpot Dining and a new location for popular Thai concept Phat Elephant.
For opening hours and contact details for UPSTAIRS at Toombul’s retailers, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.