Sunshine is much more than your local vego takeout joint. There’s the sea of bright yellow umbrellas that spreads its way down the sidewalk; an immaculate internal fit-out of archways, timber, brass and rendered off-white walls; and seating for 90 people at fetching timber-top tables and a line of neat booths.

But Sunshine’s most memorable feature might be its do-what-you-want approach to dining. Here, you can order at the counter and fill your plate with any combination of up to 35 Mediterranean-inspired dishes (many of them vegan), which might range from juicy stuffed tomatoes and bean salads to baked spinach rice, spanakopita and orzo pasta. Weigh it by the 100 grams – and then do what you want. Sit and wash it down with something from the 30-strong list of local and vegan-leaning wines, or a spritz or beer. Or take it home and eat it with a steak, and then maybe pack the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It’s up to you.

The laidback, choose-your-own adventure vibe is just how Simon Gloftis (best known for high-profile diners Hellenika and SK Steak & Oyster) wanted it. Sunshine is his passion project: a restaurant inspired by the Greek and Polish flavours of his childhood. He had wanted to open it for six years, and was so eager to do the former Chow House spot justice that he spent close to $3 million on the fit-out.

The hefty investment might be worth it – Sunshine certainly stands out among the other lunch and dinner spots on and around James Street. Not only only with its umbrellas and olive trees, which are a bright new beacon on the strip, but also with its nourishing and familial food, which is entirely vegetarian or vegan, with many gluten- and nut-free options available too.

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Updated: December 16th, 2022

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