Food News

Coming soon to Brisbane: Sunshine, an all-day, all-vegetarian Mediterranean restaurant from Simon Gloftis

It’s an entirely alfresco Mykonos-inspired neighbourhood buffet, with a whitewashed courtyard filled with olive trees. It’s the perfect setting for enjoying the hearty, all-veg Mediterranean fare.

Photo: supplied

Simon Gloftis is one of Queensland’s best-known restaurateurs. His acclaimed Brisbane venues, based around Fortitude Valley’s James Street precinct, include Greek fine diner Hellenika, SK Steak and Oyster, and the Sushi Room. Sunshine Eatery – also on James Street – is his most personal project to date.

“This is more than a business – it’s my heritage in me,” Gloftis says. “It’s the food that I grew up with as a kid, raised by a Greek father and a Polish mother, and I have a connection to every dish we serve.”

“Sunshine rounds out my whole life of hospitality – starting from selling corn on the cob at the markets to having high-end eateries at The Calile Hotel – into one offering of a really simple vegetarian venue.”

Some of the dishes on offer at Sunshine. Photo: supplied

Sunshine seems like an ironic name, after Brisbane’s wet summer and devastating flooding (which pushed back the venue’s build). Now that the city’s recovering, the name once again feels appropriate. And the fit-out is apt too: an 80-seat, open-air, Mykonos-inspired whitewashed courtyard, dotted with the requisite olive trees. It’s an effortless-feeling space; the ideal spot for enjoying something from the invigorating drinks list of biodynamic wines, iced tea, fresh juices and cocktails.

Service is similarly relaxed: there’s no need to wait to order, whether you’re dining in or taking away, just head to the counter, point at what you like and it’ll get plated up. Then, your order gets measured on scales, and you pay by weight. Counter service will run from 10am to 10pm every day.

The Mediterranean-inspired fare offers around 30 different fresh salad and vegetable dishes, such as trays of stuffed tomatoes, dolmades, and chickpea soup.

“We’re going back to our roots with clean Mediterranean cooking that is tasty and hardy – based on olive oil rather than butter, and lemon juice instead of cream,” Gloftis says. “This is food that doesn’t have to contain meat – you don’t realise that you’re missing meat, and you’re not.”

Photo: supplied

Pick any dish from the cabinet and Gloftis can recall a vivid memory. Take the fasolakia, for instance, a tender Greek dish of braised green beans. “I remember sitting in a garage kitchen in Melbourne with my grandmother cooking fasolakia, and my grandfather drinking a little glass of wine.” Even the humble cabbage salad has a story, as a child Gloftis used to cut, salt and squish cabbages in his for his grandmother’s salad.

James Street has a variety of dazzling bars and restaurants, but it’s been lacking a casual neighbourhood eatery like Sunshine. And Gloftis is all in.

“With every fibre of my body, I will not let this fail,” he says. “It’s so much a dream of mine to make this work.”

Sunshine will open on April 20.


39 James St, Fortitude Valley, QLD

Related stories

Hellenika at The Calile in Brisbane, Queensland
Dining Out

Hellenika at The Calile

Few spots compare to Hellenika’s terrace, with its trailing greenery, cushioned garden seats, the glitter of the hotel pool and promise of what could be Australia’s finest Greek cooking.