Marrickville Metro has opened its much-anticipated new building, adding a dining precinct, additional specialty stores and some new play areas for the kids.
The new building is a real breath of fresh air for the shopping centre. The ground floor along Smidmore Street offers something this part of the inner west has been lacking, a family-friendly dining precinct with restaurants offering indoor and outdoor seating. Eastern suburbs stalwart Kurtosh is there, famous for its chimney cakes. Plus C9 Gelato, Rice Pantry and Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen.
Deli/grocer Panetta has moved from the old to the new building, into a larger space with more product lines, a deli counter and its own café. There’s a Coles over that side too. And while we would love to see a better selection of stores in there, the dining precinct does make the Metro more of a destination. Come for the grocery shopping and stay for a bowl of ramen. Or meet some other parents or carers for a lunch playdate on a rainy day.
So far, we like it!
Here’s a breakdown of the changes.
The new building has launched with a pop-up kids zone The Blue Room, filled with large blue foam blocks and pipes, similar to those found at Nubo in Alexandria. My toddler and preschooler spent ages in there, building a race car/throne. They had a blast! I suspect there’ll be an outcry from the Metro’s littlest customers when it moves on, and Inner West Mums hopes there’ll be something else permanently added for kids over that side.
In the existing building, the playground near the medical centre remains. And a new, small race-car themed playground (pictured above) has been installed outside K-Mart. This is pretty low-fi, especially compared to the amazing playground launched at Broadway Shopping Centre earlier this year. But it was enough to entertain my two for 15 minutes, and being located in the food court with seating around it, might give parents and carers a chance to finish their lunch or coffee while the small ones play.
The dining options
The new building is very much about dining, dining, dining. One half of the ground floor has been dedicated to dining in, with a series of casual eateries serving up the likes of bao, cakes, gelato, rotisserie chicken and pizza. A ramen bar is opening soon, and the sushi train was doing a roaring trade during both our visits.
Sit outside and look over Smidmore street, eat inside the venues or choose a table in the street art adorned corridor. We spotted plenty of highchairs too.
With the closing time for these eateries currently set in the 9pm – 10pm ballpark, the intention must be for this to become a day and night dining destination, even once the shops are closed. We ate at Rice Pantry, where there’s short and sweet kids menu to choose from. Plus a cocktail menu and wine list for the grown ups.
Pictured above: the red velvet cake from Kurtosh and tempura prawn bao from Rice Pantry.
To answer the question many people will be asking, there isn’t a better selection of high street stores in the new building. But there is a Coles (and it does have a self-serve mochi bar) and a selection of specialty food stores right outside it, including a fishmonger, butcher and longtime Metro business Chicken George. Plus Panetta’s downstairs for fruit and vegetables and deli items (and a sneaky coffee and cannoli at its new cafe).
The media release announcing the opening spruiks 40+ new retailers. In addition to all the food stores this includes a hairdresser, a gift store, a bottle shop, a pet boutique and the extremely lovely Harry Hartog bookstore, with its excellent selection of books for children of all ages.
A small parents room is located on the same floor as Coles and the Blue Room. It’s just for one family though, with a toilet and change table. So head across to the top notch parents room in the old building if you need a quiet place to breastfeed, or there’s a queue.
And a Bodyfit gym is opening at the end of June with a creche.