Hovering above Chatswood Train Station, The District will change how you think about food courts.
Inspired by our Asian neighbours, the colourful hawker outlets are arranged in indoor ‘laneways’ with nooks of low-lit communal dining scattered throughout.
At one end a radio tower and busy train-lines provide a commanding, yet utterly industrial, view.
For movie buffs, the brutalist angled concrete girders will summon up parkour possibilities, including scenes The Hunger Games and District 13.
A range of cuisines are represented across the hawker outlets. Cheers Cut is a Taiwanese outlet famous for fried chicken; while Ippudo is your Japanese go-to spot for a ramen fix. Chum Tang is a new venture for Chef Taweenrach (Pla) Rojratanavichai, of Khao Pla fame; and there's also the opportunity to try the baked buns with BBQ pork that helped shoot Tim Ho Wan into previously unheard of Michelen Guide fame.
To get your sweet fix, there's cocoa fun at The Choc Pot and frozen pineapple sorbet at Passion Tree, though it's hard to resist the super-kawaii charm of Hello Kitty Diner.
Too full from my earlier adventure at Simmer Huang to do much more than marvel at the fitout, I have earmarked the burgers (designed by Chur Burger's Warren Turnbull) for a later date.
However it was too difficult to resist curling up in a booth with some Smoked Lemonade ($4.50). This clever piece of Americana is made by smoking lemons then cooling them and making lemonade. It screams tailgate parties and begs for sneaky addition of bootleg bourbon, against a plate of fried chicken and waffles from their wider menu.
Equally entertaining is a Salted Pretzel Milkshake ($8) sucked from a striped straw in a Hello Kitty branded handled jar. Yeah I know, I usually hate drinks in jars, but somehow here they're totally okay. The crunchy salty pretzel pieces are a nice touch, making this sweet, ice-creamy drink quite adult friendly.
Hello Kitty Diner
The District, Podium Level, Chatswood Interchange, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood