Gan bei! Sip and sup at The Valley’s new late-night hang Ling Ling
The true indicator of a city on the rise is the health of its late-night dining scene. Ling Ling’s – Fortitude Valley’s new neon-lit Hong Kong-inspired party spot – is giving the entertainment precinct a much-need boost in these stakes, with a menu featuring a tantalising array of pan-Asian eats (dumplings, anyone?), colourful cocktails and the kind of social atmosphere that warrants regular visits.
While The Valley has always been flush with nightclubs, dive bars and cocktail joints, one thing the nightlife hub has lacked is a reliable post-10:00 pm dining option that isn’t fast food. Don’t get us wrong – we’ll inhale a kebab with the best of them when the time is right, but sometimes we just crave something with a bit more nuance. When Heya Bar closed in 2019, Fortitude Valley revellers lost a dependable resource of nocturnal nosh, but thanks to hospitality and entertainment operators Justin Kong (Melt Brothers) and Patrick Donohue (Famous Nightclub) we have been blessed with Ling Ling – a new go-to spot for pan-Asian snacks available all night. The duo had previously discussed teaming up on a concept, finding common ground with the idea of a venue that wasn’t a bar or a restaurant – rather a fun social space devoid of pretension. When the Heya tenancy became available, the two jumped at the opportunity to take it on themselves, keeping alive Heya’s legacy of providing sustenance for revellers while giving the venue their own cosmetic spin. Justin describes Ling Ling’s aesthetic as one inspired by the heaving nightclubs and neon-lit streets of Hong Kong, though with a few other Asian influences also added to the mix. Entering down the stairs from Brunswick Street, guests are greeted by a wall of waving Maneki-neko (or beckoning cats) before turning towards the kitchen, main bar and dining area, which is saturated in the glow of luminous neon-light fixtures and hanging red lanterns. On the other side of the entry sits a cluster of arcade games, beyond which a forthcoming Shanghai-style speakeasy addition is currently in the works.
If partying until the wee hours has your stomach rumbling, Ling Ling’s kitchen aims to quell cravings with an array of pan-Asian bites. The fare here is best shared, and devoured using your fingers or chopsticks if you’d prefer to keep it neat, with small plates such as shallot pancakes with black-garlic mayo, king-prawn and scallop toast, steamed barbecue-pork fun buns, fluffy bao buns, cheeseburger spring rolls (an homage to the Heya staple), sweet-chilli karaage chicken, and three kinds of dumplings (prawn and scallop, prawn and ginger, veggie) available all night. A collection of larger plates are up for grabs until 10:00 pm, and offer more substantial morsels such as stir-fried eggplant, crispy fried chicken, braised pork belly, lamb ribs and sweet-and-sour tempura king prawns. Groups of four or more can order a nine-course banquet that showcases Ling Ling’s top dishes, while those with a sizeable hunger (and a competitive edge) can sign up for Emperor Kong’s challenge, where they have two-and-a-half minutes to eat 30 dumplings with a set of chopsticks. Ling Ling’s bar is amply stocked with a range of libations, ranging from beer (tap and bottled varieties encompassing Australian craft and Asian brews), an 11-strong wine list (available by glass and bottle) and classic cocktails – but it’s the signature sips that’ll draw the attention of most. Concoctions such as the Shisho Fine (rum, blue curacao, coconut puree, pineapple juice and fresh citrus), Chai Felicia (amaretto, chai tea, citrus, soda) and Lucky Cat (gin, elderflower, citrus, fresh herbs) showcase Ling Ling’s fruit-forward selection, but groups are advised to chip in for one of the teapot or soup-bowl cocktails, which are perfect for couples and groups of three or more, respectively. What’s more, revellers will soon be able to partake in a bit of karaoke, while Ling Ling is also welcoming to functions and bookings for large dinner feasts.
Ling Ling’s is now open to the public. For more 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.