Pacific Fair’s dining precinct ‘The Resort’ has emerged as one of the finest areas in the newly renovated lifestyle-centric shopping centre.
‘Resort’ it could well be, with eateries that show off holiday food from around the globe: tasty yum cha, dragon-like sushi rolls, stunning cocktails and dessert, burgers and ice ‘concrete’ custard… But first, you must get past Comuna Cantina, and that’s a hard ask.
Taking pride of place smack bang in the middle of the entry to the precinct, Comuna Cantina promises a fun party time with a Latin vibe: #drinktodance but first we dance. How can we pass it up?
Visiting on a weekend, we bask in the late morning sun, checking out shoppers as we make decisions about the menu. It pays to go early, as not long afterwards lines begin to build at the bar where orders are taken. Despite the busyness, however, our food is delivered promptly to the table.
The store’s theming of fresh and pretty pastel colours, witty throwaway lines and pimped up sassy cocktails is a popular choice with its target demographic.
So too is the food, a menu of fresh Latin American street food that is easy to manoeuvre, laden with ingredients of the moment and completely gluten-free. This is, after all, ‘comuna cantina’, literally ‘the community canteen’.
This is Tim Johnson’s second Latin street food eatery, adding to his Brisbane and Sydney portfolio (Comuna Cantina, Corbett & Claude and Mr Claude Café). Johnson’s story in itself is an inspiring read, working his way up from a McDonalds job at 13 years old, through fast food positions to management, then starting his own business, his success recognised when he was awarded Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.
Divided into several clear sections: Market treats, Arepas, Ensaladas and Tacos, it’s soon clear that dishes dip into Colombia, Venezuela as well as Mexico for their inspiration.
Giving their own twist to dishes such as arepas, tacos and salads, the emphasis lies on fresh, simple, enjoyable food.
“Our head chef is Colombian and we either make all the food here, or have it made to our recipes,” Manager Chris Harb tells us.
“There are two versions of tacos: Street Tacos that are typical of food trucks, simple and quick to go, and Comuna Tacos that are more westernised with a lot more fillings. Each one offers a different experience.”
You can enjoy a Taco Bowl (filling without the tacos), or there’s even a ‘DIY’ Taco Board with six warmed tortillas accompanied by sides, meats and sauces to make your own taco exactly how you like it.
Corn (or maize) is a staple of Latin cuisine, with over 60 different varieties grown. It features throughout the menu, including in arepas, a staple food in both Venezuela and Colombia. Comuna Cantina’s are more Colombian-style than Venezuelan, thin discs used to sandwich meat and vegetarian fillings tarted up with pickles, salsas, chipotle and even shaved green apple.
Filling in the gaps, in both small or large form, are the street snacks or ‘Market Treats’. From grilled corn to meatballs, nachos to the impressive Chips Tasting Board with four different types of chips, Comuna Cantina will ensure you don’t go hungry.
Feeling lazy? There’s even a ‘Feed me’ option that makes the choice for you. Happy Hour from 4 – 6pm will take care of the rest!
Clever marketing, ‘superfood’ pimping of dishes and sexy cocktails all add to the millennial appeal. Who could turn down a Pawnstar Martini, J Lo, Mamasita Mojito or, in my case, a Bubblegum Sour!
‘Music and passion are always in fashion’ the logo says, and we have to agree. There’s no way you could feel gloomy in this bright and breezy eatery. Nothing’s too complicated. It’s all about having fun.
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach Waters Ph: 07 5527 5646