Happy Boy is all grown up in its new Fortitude Valley home
Since opening in October 2014, Happy Boy has been shaking up the Brisbane dining scene, tantalising tastebuds with the diverse and interesting flavours of regional Chinese dishes – a far cry the Westernised Chinese food we have become accustomed to. Ready to take Happy Boy to its next stage, brothers Jordan and Cameron Votan decided it was time to move from Spring Hill, and are set to open the doors of Happy Boy in Fortitude Valley next Tuesday August 15.
If you’re a lover of Happy Boy (I mean, who isn’t?) don’t fret – you’re still going to be able to enjoy many of your favourite regional Chinese dishes from Spring Hill, but Cameron and Jordan assure us they’re going to taste more delicious than ever before. You see, a huge driving factor of the move was the need for a bigger and better kitchen, and in its new home under the fairy-lit trees on East Street in Fortitude Valley, Happy Boy has just that. Previously, the restaurant has only dabbled in regional Chinese cuisine, exploring the provinces of Xinjiang, Canton and Sìchuān, but with more space and new equipment (including an impressive new wok burner imported from Hong Kong), the kitchen will now have more room to play and experiment with regional dishes and flavours most diners will have never experienced before. To ease the transition (the plan is for Happy Boy Spring Hill to close Monday and reopen in Fortitude Valley on Tuesday next week), the restaurant’s current menu will stay the same to start, with new dishes popping up as specials and slowing being added to the menu – think Shanghai-style sweet-and-sour slow-cooked pork knuckle, and Cantonese whole steamed fish bathed in soy, chilli and shallots.
As far as fit-out goes, Happy Boy Fortitude Valley holds true to the Votan brothers’ signature paired-back style, sticking to the philosophy that the setting should not distract from the real reason you’re there, allowing the food, wine and service to speak for themselves. Concrete is heavily featured throughout the space, with minimalist furniture and finishes, apart from the restaurant’s Happy Boy baby that greets you as you walk in. There are more windows than walls in the subterranean space, and bi-fold windows open the front of the restaurant onto the tree-covered deck facing East Street. On the deck diners can enjoy a drink – Cameron’s Spokenwine is introducing a much broader selection to the new venue – paired with snacks such as Taiwanese fried chicken burgers on Chinese-style milk buns, and the restaurant is in talks with a dim sum master from Hong Kong who will be crafting a delectable selection of wrapped bites. From Thursdays to Saturdays, Happy Boy will also offer a concise supper club menu from 9:30 pm to midnight, with snacks and simple eats such as fried rice. Brunch will launch in the coming months too, with modern Australian options prepared using Asian techniques and tastes, including wok-fried granola and avocado on toast with Chinese spices.
So what is going to happen to the brick-clad Spring Hill location? Good news – in the coming months it will reopen as an Italian restaurant. This won’t be your generic pizza and pasta though – as evidenced in Happy Boy and provincial French-style Greenglass, the Votan brothers like to steer away from what we’re used to. Dishes will be served family style, shared on the table, and draw on flavours from regions such as Sicily, Calabria and Milan. There will be no pizza, and just a small selection of pasta, alongside generous meaty dishes, salads and ‘peasant’ food – imagine a huge shared lasagne placed in the middle of your table with a spatula for you to serve yourself. We’ll have more details for you soon.
Happy Boy is set to open in Fortitude Valley on Tuesday August 15. For opening hours and contact details, head to our Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 1800 places to eat, drink, shop and play.