The name gives it all away straight up. Eat Street. And that’s exactly what goes on, lots of eating.
But that’s only part of the package; the rest is in its setting on the old Hamilton container wharf and the fact that the stalls are in shipping containers converted into cafes, restaurants and bars.
Apparently there are more than 80 of them.
There are also a couple of undercover eating areas under big canopies ablaze with lights.
Eat Street has been on my radar for a few years – it opened in November 2013 – and I had heard a lot of mixed reports.
Some said there wasn’t much point ordering fine cuisine if you had to eat with a plastic knife and fork on a paper plate; others said the whole dining experience was the atmosphere while yet others said it was a good way to drop a bundle.
I finally got around to finding out for myself when I offered to drop a visitor from France at the airport and suggested we stop on the way to add to his list of Brisbane experiences.
We arrived early at 4.30pm, not long after it had opened.
It’s $2.50 to get in, and it’s worth it for the Eat Street experience.
Things were still being set up and it was quiet. Soon after, the families started to arrive for dinner and then the younger workers kicked in so that by 7pm it was pumping.
There were two bands on the site. One was between the main dining areas for easy listening and the other was a livelier performance stage near the tables and bench seating.
Now, down to the food. It’s not called Eat Street for nothing – most parts of the globe are represented in some form or another, whether its cocktails, main courses or sweet goodies, of which there are plenty.
We did a couple of circuits checking it all out but it was after sunset that it really came to life with fairy lights, music and people, lots of people, creating a great vibe.
I folded too quickly and settled on seafood and chips that allegedly are the best in the world. Had I been more patient, I could have considered the Angus steak or German wurst or Mexican, Turkish, Greek, Indian, Asian or indeed, any number of more exotic flavours.
Then there are macarons, churros, chocolate fountains to drip over strawberries, cupcakes with tiny bottles of liqueur attached, petit fours and gelati.
The giant popcorn pans were sizzling flat out with sweet, savoury and a mix of both.
There are cocktails alcoholic or fruity, boutique beers, wine, and mysterious lemonades.
There are also some stalls for shoppers so there was plenty to keep us entertained until leaving for the airport at 7.30pm. Nice.
Cost? Well, I probably spent way too much ($70) but I did come home satisfied and with a bunch of jonquils ($4) a packet of 10 macarons ($15) and a giant bag of sweet and salty caramel popcorn ($10) … Oh and the fireman’s calendar supporting the children’s burns unit ($20).
Final verdict: Well worth the trip and I shall return.
Eat Street is at 199 MacArthur Ave, Hamilton open Fridays and Saturdays, 4pm to 10pm, and Sunday, 11am-3pm.