Italian and Greek cuisine is the benchmark for sharing food with people who mean the most to you. It’s fair to say probably half the Gold Coast had some sort of love affair with Hellenika when it was open here, and yes, when it closed its Nobby Beach doors and relocated to Brisbane, we all died a little bit inside.
Sanctuary Cove has long been flying under the culinary radar for most of us, mostly for it being a little out of the way. But as exciting new venues start to eye up the area and change the hospitality landscape, a trip up north could reward you well.
Destino is the handiwork of Craig and Lisa Chilvers a couple with a confessed adoration for anything Mediterranean. After not nearly enough holidays spent in Spain, Italy and the Greek Islands, the pair envisaged an eating space where you can relax and sample some amazing drinks and food (before then buying the very same tablewares you ate with and taking them home with you).
Ever been to a restaurant and fallen in love with their glasses/cutlery/plates so much so you wished you could have taken them home with you? Well, at Destino, you can. All of the furnishings, fixtures, glassware, cutlery – amongst other homewares, are available for you to buy and take home with you.
The tapas bar come homewares store is an absolute feast for the eyes. The fit-out is a kaleidoscope of Mediterranean and Moroccan influenced features, textures and materials. Outdoor seating and low-down tables will ensure one drink may indeed turn into a few. And if we can’t make it to Europe for a while yet, an afternoon at Destino might just satiate your fix for overseas travel.
The food offering is fairly modest as there is no kitchen to speak of as such, don’t be perturbed as there’s more than enough for you to graze on and experience some great-tasting dips, breads, marinated olives and imported cheeses. This is the kind of food that will take you through an afternoon before eventually then moving on to your dinner reservation — or not!
Campos coffee will be served from first thing in the morning, and will take you all the way to cocktails from noon. A small but well-rounded drinks list has you covered with classic cocktails and a couple of house variations such as the Mykonos Mule (vodka, lemon juice, fresh lime, lemongrass syrup, lemonade and ginger beer). Wines focus on Spain, France, Italy and Greece, with some stellar examples of some European classics as well as Australian drops which you simply can’t go past.
The venue aims to incorporate its several guises into one light-filled, tranquil space where everyone can unwind. And quite frankly — we can’t argue.
Where: Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove
Hours: 6 days, 8.30 am – late (closed Tuesdays)
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
There are certain Gold Coast venues that one can never get enough of. One of which, quite obviously, is Hellenika in Nobby Beach. In fact, if we could just move in and consume Saganaki every day, for the rest of time that would be ideal.
Now that’s sorted, here’s some really great news. There are even more opportunities to enjoy the exceptional eats and abundant good vibes you’ve come to know and love at Hellenika because (how’s the build up) their Brisbane venue is opening this week and Hallelujah.
That’s right Greek food lovers; you may now travel a very short distance, as opposed to all the way to the Gold Coast, to get your Hellenika fill and that is something to celebrate.
The brand new venue can be found inside The Calile Hotel, also brand new and probably your new favourite place on the planet. Owner of Hellenika, Simon Gloftis, says The Calile and Hellenika Brisbane are an absolute match made in heaven and, in our opinion, absolute interior goals the both of them.
The restaurant’s interior, set to be completely different to the Gold Coast, will be all marble and white stone surfaces with vaulted ceilings and skylights and quite the classic beauty. The fitout is a pared back version of a resort-style classic and we are really quite excited.
Now to the food. The menu will be very similar to the Coast’s (including all your faves – Taramasalata Dip, Zucchini Chips and Junee Lamb to name a few) but, with the addition of breakfast, there’ll be a few new dishes for you to fall in love with.
The morning menu will be filled with Greek-inspired breakfast treats like Rizgalo, a rice pudding that’ll be Hellenika’s take on porridge, Bougatsa, a custard-filled filo pastry dish (love you already) and The Onassis, a big breakfast option featuring a lamb cutlet (of course) among other tasty treats.
Oh and there’ll also be a Brûlée Grapefruit dish and a magical dish featuring Greek yoghurt, seasonal berries, crushed macadamias and Manuka honey.
We’ll take one of everything please.
Excitingly, if you opt to stay at The Calile Hotel you may eat said delicious dishes by the pool, celebrity-style.
Also excitingly, Simon has coaxed Hellenika’s original Head Chef and Restaurant Manager, Brian and Tessa Kelly, back from London to oversee the Brisbane venue so you know you’re in excellent hands.
Hellenika Brisbane has been a dream four years in the making so happy days for Simon and the team and us, the good people of southern Queensland who get to eat even more epic Greek food on the daily.
Friday cannot come soon enough.
LOCATION: The Calile Hotel, 48 James Street, Fortitude Valley
Words and photos by Kirra Smith