Thai time – Phat Elephant opens at UPSTAIRS at Toombul
Last year a frenzy of activity saw Toombul Shopping Centre transform into one of Brisbane’s most happening foodie precincts. UPSTAIRS at Toombul brought multiple cuisines under one roof, with several established names opening new outposts at the revitalised retail hub. While these restaurants got up and running, one tenancy was conspicuously vacant – leaving guests curious as to what was in the works. Well, now it’s time to address the elephant in the room – popular Brisbane City eatery Phat Elephant is bringing its tantalising Thai fare to Toombul tonight, Thursday March 5, slotting in perfectly amongst the hub’s dining array.
The past 12 months have been busy for Alyssa Phadungkiat. The restaurateur opened Phat Boy at Brisbane Quarter in July last year before transforming her Hendra cafe The Hamptons into all-you-can-eat hotspot Chook Wings & Beer in January 2020. But that’s not all she’s had in the works – Alyssa has also been busy bringing her Phat Elephant concept to Toombul’s brand-new dining precinct UPSTAIRS. Toombul’s governing property group Mirvac has thus far built the UPSTAIRS culinary offering around established operators and proven concepts (the likes of Little Red Dumpling, Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, Dapple + Waver and Il Gancio are already up and running), an ethos that caused them to seek out Alyssa with the proposition of bringing her brand of colourful hospitality to the centre. Although she didn’t take the proposition lightly, Alyssa was eventually swayed by the prospect of tapping into Toombul’s suburban demographic, and soon she had signed on to bring a scaled-back version of Phat Elephant to Brisbane’s inner north.
The new location sits snugly between Little Red Dumpling and Sushi Hyo, with a cosy 50-seat layout featuring signature Phat Elephant decorative elements such a striking mural by local artist James Alley, shelves stocked with Thai pantry fillers, eye-catching Thai textiles coating the walls, imported oil-paper umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, and a colour scheme boasting deep green, red and yellow. To suit the kitchen’s limitations (Phat Elephant in The City typically has seven chefs operating during peak service hours – Toombul’s kitchen is much more modestly sized), Alyssa has also stripped back the menu to just the Phat Elephant favourites. Mixed-entree towers filled with spring rolls, money bags, coconut prawns and curry puffs make for a great starting point before venturing deeper. Phat Elephant signatures such as the pineapple fried rice, duck curry, crispy pork with string beans and chilli prik khing sauce, and coconut ice-cream served in a whole coconut are available, as are underrated gems such as the tom yum prawn noodle soup, crispy pork and kailan stir-fry and barbecue chicken with rice. Phat Elephant at Toombul will soon be licensed, but until it arrives you can enjoy Thai milk teas, lemon iced teas and fresh young coconuts.
Phat Elephant officially opens to the public at dinner service tonight, Thursday March 5. The restaurant will be celebrating the launch with a special offer for its opening week only – buy one meal, get one free! For operating hours and other important details, click over to the Stumble Guide.
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