Playground – Opening Night

by The Editor

Well, the tease continued until around 7.00pm. Keen to see if it was time to play, The Canberran passed by the impending venue in the hope the doors were open. This image shows Playground at 6.30pm as last minute adjustments were made inside.

Half an hour later, things were looking very different.

The first thing you notice on arrival at Playground is the large glass facade. It presents a clear view of the intriguing interior.

The customers

When we entered around fifty people were scattered throughout the room and taking advantage of the different seating arrangements on offer. Tall tables attracted those keen to test the kitchen (including a high level representation from Soju Girl!), while more casual visitors balanced their tipples on crossed legs down on the lower ottomans. It seemed everyone had found their place.

The staff

A veritable plethora of staff worked the room, sporting dangerously white uniformed tops with a Wimbledon freshness about them. The girls sported red pants (with matching lippy) while the boys were detailed in blue. Many appeared busy looking at their phones – an activity we found strangely unnerving on an opening night. Still, they looked fantastic and, when engaged with customers, proved to be freindly and enthusiastic

Keen eyed punters took in the wall display with its gentle fall of musical notes descending from the speaker above. We spied a couple of colourful stools at the bar, so perched ourselves with a good view of the action around us and grabbed ourselves a martini. Made with standard Tanqueray it had just a hint of fruit to push the dryness away. A competent start for what surely must have been the first of the classic sold in the venue.

A snack

We managed to distract a waitress from her phone and asked to order a couple of the tapas plates (Haloumi Soldiers with Chargrilled Tomato Puree, $13.00 and Chilli Pig Skin Crackling, $10.00). Initially annoyed by the attention she was paying to her phone instead of keeping an eye on the customers, we had to retract when it was evident the iPod Touch in her hand was in fact the ordering system. Upon hearing our request she scrolled through the menu, tapped to enter our order, smiled, and left us to our own devices. It looks like a quick simple system which will bring benefits once staff become more familiar with the software.

The pork crackling was insanely good – salty and crispy and deliciously naughty in the way only pork crackling can be. Not that the haloumi wasn’t of equal quality – it was just less of an indulgence than the pork. While we only had time for a snack, the Soju boys appeared to have cleaned up their plates – a ringing endorsement if any was needed.


There is SO MUCH going on in this little bar. It felt frenetic and energetic and fun and crazy. Everywhere you look a different material, surface or decoration leaps out at you, creating a busy tunnel out of which to view Garema Place through that expansive facade. The boys clearly have big plans, as Illya explained: “Nino can organise anything, Ant can market anything, and me? I’m Greek – I know everyone.” It was a line delivered with a cheekiness one would find in a playground.

We were only able to stop in for a brief look, but anticipate settling in soon to give the food and drinks menu a proper investigation. In the mean time, get down and check it out. We think you’ll have as much fun as we did in the short time we spent there.

Hopscotch anyone?