Sunshine Plaza, Sunshine. Phone: 9312 4767
Sunshine Plaza is a bit of an odd space.
It has an Aldi’s and a Reject Shop, complete with an adjoining discount place that does grocery lines.
There’s the usual beauty salons and Kung Fu Massage and a Woolworths.
There’s quite a few empty spaces, or at least premises “in transition”.
Currently, the food court is made up of just two outlets of no great distinction.
There’s even a bookshop, Plato’s, that has heaps of used and/or remaindered hardbacks that seem to be of American origins, some of them refugees from libraries. I can’t say I’ve ever read a ripper I’ve bought there, but it’s so different from all my other bookshop haunts that I can never resist having a peek anyway.
But Sunshine Plaza’s star, for us, is Big Fields.
Our visits here have become more frequent.
The reason is simple – it’s a supercharged grocer/fruiterer/butcher, along the same lines as Fresh On Young or the combined heft of the many shops at The Circle in Altona.
Testament to the appeal and worthiness of Big Fields is the dazzling array of races, cultures and pigmentation represented by its collective customer base.
I haven’t explored every nook and cranny of the joint – yet – so I can’t vouch for the all-round pricing structure.
But my recent $30 “gap shop” included some fine bargains – 250g Lavazza coffee for $4.68, for instance, or bananas for 87c a kilogram.
Big Fields has a halal butcher on the right as you enter, and – over on the left – a continental deli, wherein you buy all sort of pig bits.
In between is a modestly sized fish monger.
The fruit and veg range is beaut, while the place is pretty good on dry goods, too, with rows of nuts, pasta, condiments and the like. The stock seems to display a Mediterranean bias, but there’s a goodly number of Asian lines as well.
As I meandered around, happily mixing shopping with plain old nosiness and picture-snapping, the owner approached me to check out my intentions.
Totally honourable, I informed him.
“Hanging out in a place like this is, for me, like being in an art gallery or a museum – better!” I enthused.
Thus reassured, he shook my hand, took my card and wished me a happy new year.