Donna Chang and The Boom Boom Room liven up Brisbane City’s dining scene
If you’ve heard any of the talk around the Ghanem Group’s anticipated restaurant and bar tandem – Donna Chang and The Boom Boom Room – you’ve surely got an idea of some of the establishment’s offerings. Dim sum, jazz-inspired cocktails, opulent setting, gorgeous heritage, modern Chinese, seafood, char siu pork, steamed hapuka, bottle service, old-world glamour, new-school hospitality – these aren’t just buzzwords, they’re the real deal. Donna Chang and The Boom Boom Room opened last weekend, and the duo is already shaping up to be a landmark arrival.
Maintaining a lineage of consistent excellence isn’t easy, but the Ghanem Group has managed to pull it off with panache. The crew behind Byblos Bar & Restaurant and Blackbird Bar & Grill has upped its game with its newest double feature – Brisbane City’s Donna Chang and The Boom Boom Room. Situated inside a stunning heritage-listed space – the former home of the Queensland Government Savings Bank on the corner of Elizabeth and George Streets – the venues draw upon the building’s history and pair it with an inspired approach to fare and frivolity, injecting Brisbane City’s dining scene with new energy.
Imbued with a sophisticated neo-classical aesthetic, Donna Chang is the dining portion of the glamorous arrival. Plush half-circle booths, glimmering chandeliers, ornate ceilings, marble tables, lush greenery and an eye-catching bar sets the scene upon entry, while a staircase leads to second-level private dining rooms similarly equipped with heritage flair. The kitchen offers glimpses into a flurry of culinary activity, where head chef Jason Margaritis (formerly of Spice Temple Melbourne) and his team cook nightly, hidden behind tanks of live groupers and crustaceans. Anchored by Sichuan and Cantonese inspirations, Donna Chang offers a modern take on Chinese fare, sourcing experienced hands from Australia and further abroad to deliver authentic flavours made with predominantly Queensland ingredients. The menu is divided into raw dishes, starters, dim sum, seafood, poultry and meat, wood-fired dishes and sides, with highlights including fried Black Silkie chicken with lemon aspen, suckling pig with Sichuan salt, pan-fried cumin lamb buns, stir-fried spanner crab, Northern-style shredded lamb shoulder and more. Sommelier Penny Grant has created a wine list favouring aromatic whites and light reds to complement the fare, but those serious about their drinks are advised to wander down a rear staircase to discover what lies below.
The Boom Boom Room
Beneath Donna Chang’s glitzy surroundings sits The Boom Boom Room, a dimly lit bar and live-music hangout steeped in its own conceptual inspirations. The space utilises several of the building’s original elements in its fit-out – bank vaults have been transformed into velvet-draped private rooms, brick alcoves harbour luxurious booths and even the bathrooms retain heritage fixtures. The Boom Boom Room has been fashioned into a high-end jazz bar with decorative touches evoking the early days of aviation from 1920 to 1940 (be sure to check out the feature mural by artist Matt Stewart). Music plays a key role in the bar’s overall vibe – and not just on stage. The Boom Boom Room’s cocktail list is divided into three playlists, with iconic songs from bygone eras forming the conceptual basis of each reworked classic – all imbued with the spirit of the song and a good dose of high-end ingredients. On the Jazz + Soul list, one will find the likes of ‘Feeling Good’ and ‘What a Wonderful World’, while Rhythm + Blues boasts ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ and ‘Respect’. Up-tempo drinks round out the set, with ‘24k Magic’ and ‘Valerie’ offering some contemporary hits. An extensive wine list and seasonally changing beer range also feature, alongside top-shelf spirits in the back bar and several exclusive rarities in the drinks vault – we’re talking discontinued lines and drops from distilleries no longer in operation. Bottle service allows drinkers the chance to absorb the atmosphere without having to lift a finger, while a late-night menu of steamed dumplings, Pacific oysters, pork-belly baos and Sichuan-spiced chicken wings will save you from getting hungry.
Food images courtesy of Donna Chang.
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