If you ask Angela Scavlos and Christina Habchi, they’ll tell you that, in their opinion, Lebanese folks are the most hospitable people in the world. They may be biased (both Angela and Christina boast Lebanese heritage), but after hearing them talk animatedly about the open-handed and open-door nature of the country’s populace, it’s easy to be swayed. The Lebanese style of kindness sits at the core of The Green – Angela and Christina’s newly opened 70-seater cafe and retail concept, which has evolved out of their celebrated James Street COVID-inspired pop-up Green Space. What started last year as a nursery, coffee spot and styling resource has evolved and flourished with a change of location and increase of scope. The Green, which is situated in the former site of REDSEA Gallery – slightly removed from James Street’s glamorous shopping strip – is less of a plant-centric pit-stop and more a design-driven one-stop urban oasis boasting greenery, homewares and an all-day menu of hearty Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine served across an express deli and dine-in menu. It’s an ambitious upgrade, but one that Angela and Christina are confident will resonate with James Street wanderers seeking something a little bit outside of the norm. The Green’s out-of-the-way position helps foster a sense of discovery once found, and its inspired aesthetic – filled with verdant plant life – creates an oasis-like vibe for those eager to surround themselves with beauty.
When we say that The Green is one of the most fetching additions to Brisbane’s dining scene this year, we mean it. In contrast to the slick and subdued interior of ESSA, the recently opened fine-dining restaurant that Angela co-owns, The Green is bright and vivid. The team has worked with internationally acclaimed designer Borhan Ghofrani, Craig Channon from Channon Architects and construction specialists Lowry Group to conceive and execute a visual identity that favours eye-catching juxtapositions. The Green boasts a brutalist-style design for its structural bones, with a foundation of raw materiality evident via an abundance of concrete and industrial-like metalwork. This sturdy skeleton has been enveloped and cushioned by a modern tropical-inspired aesthetic – think pastel-pink wall tiling, Rosso Levanto marble bench tops and vibrant splashes of burgundy (inspired by the cedar trees of Lebanon) that help soften the space alongside, of course, plenty of greenery. Every available corner of The Green is covered in vegetation and vessels of various sizes, from the cactus display at the outdoor pavilion near the entry, to the far wall of the interior (think everyday houseplants and succulents to impressive sculptural plants). Diners can perch among the cacti with a coffee or sit amongst the foliage as they enjoy lunch, while those after a grab-and-go snack can visit the deli counter, which sits near a small retail section filled with bespoke ceramics from Australian and Japanese makers.
When it came to The Green’s culinary offering, Angela and Christina opted for an approachable-yet-artistic take that pushes the love, flavour and shareable nature of Lebanese cuisine and Middle Eastern cooking in general. The duo approached Warren Turnbull – a hatted chef known for his work at Sydney institutions Banc and Assiette – to oversee The Green’s ever-changing dine-in menu and home-style deli and salad bar offering as executive chef. Warren has crafted a menu that is recognisably Lebanese, but with some savvy and inventive fine-dining-inspired enhancements giving the fare added depth. Breakfast options like the Lebanese sausage and egg muffin with haloumi, pickles and shatta, tahini granola with blood orange, cacao and coconut yoghurt, green shakshuka with smoked labne and chilli, and the breakfast mezze with Turkish eggs, spiced makanek sausages, cucumber, tomato and olives are sumptuous day starters that showcase some of Warren’s gastronomic flair. Come lunch, he ups the ante with a greater selection of mezze, grilled zhug-marinated lamb cutlets, hawaij-spiced Bannockburn charcoal chicken, aniseed-roasted pork shoulder, falafels with green tahini and chilli pickles, and fattoush salad with za’atar pita crisps, radish, tomato and cos lettuce. The Green’s salad bar is stuffed to the brim with bowls of freshly made goodness, including roasted kipfler and purple potato salad, and tabouli with Turkish bulgur and pomegranate seeds – all available alongside portions of protein (lamb, pork and chicken) and dips like traditional and beetroot hummus, and muhammara with toasted walnuts and mint. The Green’s beverage list starts with ST. ALi coffee and juices in the morning, before expanding at lunch to include crafted cocktails (each with botanical twists to reflect The Green’s leafy origins), spritzes, beers and Australian and Lebanese wines.
The Green is now open for breakfast and lunch. Head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours and other important details.