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Simon Gloftis’ highly anticipated Sushi Room lands at The Calile

The Weekend Edition

Restaurateur Simon Gloftis and his lauded venues, Hellenika, SK Steak & Oyster and most recently Sunshine, need no introduction. After firmly planting himself in the Brisbane dining scene (and more specifically, The Calile dining precinct on James Street) in 2018, Simon and his team have consistently pleased palates with their simple-yet-elevated menus and impressive dining environments.

 

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Now, after more than 12 months of development and intricate fine tuning, Simon’s STK Group is finally ready to reveal what is set to be its most sophisticated venture yet – Japanese fine diner Sushi Room.

If there is one thing we know about Simon Gloftis, it’s that he doesn’t do things by halves. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that our anticipation levels have been high for his fourth James Street venue, Sushi Room. An inside look ahead of the restaurant’s opening has proved that it will transcend the Japanese dining offerings we are accustomed to in Brisbane – but all will be officially revealed on Tuesday June 14, when Sushi Room opens its doors to the public at The Calile Hotel.

The restaurant occupies a new custom-built space in the hotel, taking over tenancies formerly occupied by Scotch & Soda and Museum of Small Things (M.O.S.T) to create the moody 60 seater. Simon has once again worked with Richards & Spence, with the renowned architects taking cues from traditional Japanese design and mid-century pop culture, likening the design to the neo-futuristic style of the 1960s.

Accessed via the lobby of The Calile, Sushi Room will feature bar seating, booths and tables across its monochromatic space, accented by natural stone and timbers, and dressed with revered traditional Japanese Kuriēto ceramics. A custom-built mezzanine level will house an elegant-yet-measured red private bar and dining space, which will seat an intimate eight diners.

From produce selection to the tiniest of fit-out details, every single element of Sushi Room has been carefully considered. A visit to Sushi Room will be an all-encompassing experience geared to delight the senses – there will be a restrained sense of theatre, with the sushi chef as the leading performer.

Richards & Spence have prioritised this theatrical element in the design, using architectural punctuations and cinematic lighting to showcase the chef and the restaurant’s centre stage – a 9.3-m solid Japanese Hinoki timber sushi bar, floating in a pool of black limestone.

A traditional and culturally significant timber that is native to Japan and Eastern Asia, the specifically sourced Hinoki wood is renowned for its high quality (it is often used in the construction of temples, palaces and shrines) and coveted for its natural antibacterial and water-resistant qualities, as well as its striking grain pattern and alluring aroma. If you haven’t already realised, no detail (or expense) has been spared in the vision for Sushi Room.

Sushi Room will be truly as its name suggests – a restaurant dedicated to the intricate art of sushi and sashimi preparation. Ex-Kiyomi sous chef Shimpei Raikuni will helm the restaurant as head chef, having worked in the SK kitchen over the past year developing Sushi Room’s refined menu.

Forget the Japanese restaurants you’ve become accustomed to (there is no Kewpie mayo in sight here) – Sushi Room is an elevated experience unlike anything else. There will be no tricks or gimmicks, instead the restaurant will be honing in on the quality of each piece of sushi and sashimi, focusing on exquisite produce and the theatre that is the preparation of traditional Japanese fare.

The fine diner is driven by a predominantly sushi and sashimi-focused menu, showcasing chef Shimpei’s razor-sharp skills and exceptional fresh seafood. A glimpse at the menu highlights the dignified simplicity of Sushi Room – an impressive list of sashimi and nigiri merely lists the seafood and its origin (think Hiramasa kingfishTasmanian uni and New Zealand alfonsino), which will be hand selected daily with only the finest and freshest catches making the cut.

Even the rice has been considered – there will be three different temperatures of rice, which the chefs will select according to the style of fish and its fat content to maintain the perfect balance. A clutch of more substantial dishes and sides also grace the menu, including morsels such as caviar toro toro sushitempura lobsterKagoshima sirloin yakimono and ponzu-dressed oysters.

The dishes can be ordered a la carte, as part of the enkai (set) menu, or enjoyed as an 18-course two-hour omakase, where a small group of diners will be sat up at the bar and guided through an intimate gastronomic adventure with chef Shimpei (the produce, of which, will be presented in an intricate treasure chest to diners before the meal commences).

The menu is complemented by an attentively assembled list of Japanese sake pairings and whisky, alongside an extensive globe-spanning wine list. Libations also include a selection of cocktails that take inspiration from traditional Japanese flavours, such as shisho, yuzu and wasabi.

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