Cheeky Poké Bar expands with an oasis-inspired location at Westfield Garden City
Ever since the poke craze touched down in Brisbane in 2017, Cheeky Poké Bar has there to ensure we can get our fix. Thanks to some savvy Japanese-inspired twits and plenty of culinary creativity, the burgeoning brand has kept tongues wagging and mouths drooling with its range of poke bowls, tacos and soups. If you’ve gotten tired of schlepping to the inner city to get a fix of Cheeky’s live-giving menu, we’ve got good news for you. Cheeky Poké Bar opened a new tropical-inspired location at Westfield Garden City yesterday, Wednesday October 7. Here are the essential details you need to know before planning your next lunch date …
Cheeky Poké Bar’s gradual expansion has always been a matter of careful, considered steps. For owner Sam Demetriou, maintaining the essence of the brand and the quality of the product is paramount, which is why he has eschewed the notion of transforming Cheeky into a franchise operation in favour of a gentle, manageable growth rate. In early 2019 Cheeky Poké Bar opened an express outlet and commercial kitchen in Greenslopes – a future-proofing concept dedicated to prepping everything from the brand’s taco shells and taro crisps to sauces, soups and stocks for its established venues in Newstead and West End, as well as any forthcoming Cheeky Poké openings. Well, after much anticipation, the next stage of Cheeky’s evolution began this week as the team celebrates the opening of a new full-size Cheeky locale at Westfield Garden City’s popular outdoor dining hub.
When it comes to Sam’s dream list of suitable growth sites, Garden City is a spot that has sat at the top of his wish list for some time. The popular southside shopping centre is a perpetually busy precinct, and its surrounding suburbs have long been deprived of a poké joint to call its own. When a suitable 110-seater tenancy became available late last year (the former home of Devon Cafe), Sam jumped on it, officially obtaining the keys in early March. After having to pump the brakes for a few months as Brisbane’s COVID-19 lockdown came and went, commencement of the build finally began in early August. Sam has recruited the help of design team Archie Bolden and hospitality construction specialists DCB Developments for the look and the resulting fit-out, honing in on a resort-style vibe that makes the most of the dining hub’s adjacent water feature and sun-soaked surrounds. As Cheeky Poké expands further in 2021 (more on that below), Sam is eager to highlight each location’s singular features while retaining some familiar brand elements to create continuity. Here, Cheeky’s recognisable palette of deep blue, brass and timber is featured across the venue’s bar, glass-encased prep station, curved banquette seats and dining tables, while emphasising the laid-back vibe of the area by adding plenty of greenery and a splash of neon to boot.
The food and drink
Much like Cheeky’s physical expansion, Sam and his team have sought to maintain stability across its food menu by adding seasonal additions while retaining the crowd favourites. Cheeky Poké Bar Garden City has brought over the menu in its entirety, ranging from the signature poke bowls (filled with the likes of sashimi tuna, West Australian octopus, fresh king prawns, beef tataki, tofu and marinated mushrooms), build-your-own-bowls, nori and wonton tacos, bone-broth soups, tom yum noodle soups, tuna nachos and curries. The biggest change Cheeky regulars will notice is the expanded cocktail selection, which include eight new concoctions that are twists on some recognisable classics. Drinks like the grapefruit margarita, a batch-brewed espresso martini (made with filtered coffee and spiced rum), the Pinewood Sour (boasting smoky mezcal, amaro and wild agave) and the Raspberry Blossom (featuring Jinzu gin, raspberries and lemon) are available alongside a bevy of signature gin and tonics, wines, tap beers, kombucha, pressed juices, and coffee from Five Senses. The new cocktails are exclusive to Garden City for now, but expect them to be added to Newstead’s beverage list in the coming weeks.
Next year is set to be a big one for Sam and the Cheeky Poké crew, with plans in the works for a Brisbane City location in Ulster Lane and an upgrade of its West End pop-up. Initial outlines for the Ulster Lane space have shifted, with Cheeky Poké now set to occupy a cosy tenancy with laneway dining only. The CBD location is on track for a February opening – we’ll have more for you as that date approaches.
Cheeky Poké Bar is now open at Garden City. Every day until Sunday October 11 between 3:00–4:00 pm, the new location will be giving away 100 free tacos on a first in, best dressed basis. A range of specials are also on offer to celebrate the opening – hit Cheeky Poké Bar social media pages for more info. For operating hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.