Once upon a time, shopping centres were shrines to consumerism, filled with glossy wares and tantalising displays of the latest fashions and fancies.
These days, the objects of desire drawing crowds are more likely to be caramel covered coconut flesh, seafood saganaki or crispy polenta sticks with gorgonzola sauce.
The trend to mix shopping and gastronomy is one that has been embraced wholeheartedly by the revamped Westfield Sydney. Westfield has not only lured big names like Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg and Gucci but also chefs and restaurateurs including David Tsirekas (Xanthi), Amy Chanta (Chat Thai), Alessandro Pavoni (Spiedo) and Simon Goh (Chinta Ria). Each restaurant is carving out its own individual niche to provide sustenance to shoppers as well as diners with a discerning palate.
At Xanthi, David Tsirekas (formerly of Perama in Petersham) is turning out Greek classics with clever twists, from Greekslaw to pork belly baklava. These are enjoyed under a canopy of billowing sheets making you feel transported into a pseudo-Ottomon world. And that’s before they bring over the ouzo trolley.
The Chat Thai moniker is already renowned for its authentic take on Thai street food thanks to Amy Chanta’s incredible eye for perfection and her latest incarnation is easy to find – just follow the queues. Dessert is non-negotiable here so it’s wise to make room for the sweet coconut and pandan sensations that are created before your eyes at the dessert bar.
Westfield is no stranger to luring talented Italians to its centres (just check out Carla Zampatti and Salvatore Ferragamo downstairs) so Alessandro Pavoni and his distinctive Brescian cuisine feel perfectly at home. As tempting as the pasta and polenta dishes are, it’s your opportunity to be daring and try the braised organic snails or Milanese honeycomb tripe, neither as scary as they sound.
And if you thought shopping centres were a romance –free zone then it’s time to pop into Chinta Ria...Mood For Love. A cosy 40-seater with candle-lit nooks and romantic rites on the wall, the food and ambiance created by Simon Goh will leave you swooning.
So don’t wait for the sales or late night shopping. March your appetite into Level 6 of Westfield Sydney as fast as your taste buds will let you.
In the meantime, whet your apetite with a few recipes from the restaurant menus -
Level 6, Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
By Alex Conomos