Sydney yum cha icon Phoenix spearheads Brisbane Quarter’s second culinary wave
Just under a year on from the landmark openings of Persone and Heritij, George Street’s luxury dining precinct Brisbane Quarter has welcomed a brand-new tenant in the form of yum cha specialist Phoenix. The eye-catching eatery is the first Brisbane location for the Sydney-born Chinese restaurant group, which already boasts four popular destinations across New South Wales. Officially opening to the public tonight, Thursday July 11, the cross-state operation is giving Brisbane diners a taste of Phoenix’s renowned menu – filled with yum cha delicacies as well as a sizeable menu of contemporary Chinese dishes.
Although it boasts enough venues in its portfolio to classify the business as a budding restaurant conglomerate, the Phoenix Group remains a staunchly family-oriented operation. Anita Fung has built Phoenix from the ground up, growing her collection of Chinese restaurants organically to include four locations in the greater Sydney area. Having soundly captured the tastebuds of Sydney diners with its top-tier yum cha service and a la carte menu of traditional and modern Chinese fare, Anita looked north of the border for opportunities to expand. The team at Brisbane Quarter invited the group to establish an outpost within the newly realised dining precinct, and upon visiting Anita was enamoured by the opportunities the city presented. Anita was swayed by Brisbane’s temperate climate, its proximity to Queensland’s world-class food bowls and the location’s potential to tap into both local and tourist markets, and soon enough Anita committed to the spot. Nine months later and Brisbane Phoenix is opening to the public, showcasing the style of dining that has made its Sydney siblings so successful.
Ascend up to Brisbane Quarter’s podium dining level and you’ll see Phoenix behind smoky glass, positioned snugly next to Heritij. The 180-seat venue the Phoenix group’s smallest (no Sydney venue seats less than 500), but Brisbane Phoenix still manages to imbue the space with the brand’s signature aesthetic and covert ambience. The restaurant is moodily chic, with a palette of timber paneling, brass accents, black, red and gold giving subtle nods to its Chinese origins. A striking backlit bar greets diners before they’re directed to the dining floor, where red pendant lanterns hang overhead and bathe the tables in a subtle scarlet hue. Illuminated fish tanks show off fresh catches, and tucked away on the fringes are Phoenix’s private dining rooms Diamond (the largest stand-alone room, which can seat 20), Ruby and Emerald. Each room is equipped with televisions to double as a multi-functional space, while Ruby and Emerald can be merged into a single large room for sizeable group gatherings.
The food and drink
Due to its smaller physical footprint, Brisbane Phoenix doesn’t utilise trolleys for its yum cha service. But don’t be mistaken – there’s still an impressive array of options to feast upon. Phoenix’s yum cha menu has a phenomenal array of steamed and fried morsels, including some options that are exclusive to Brisbane. Order baskets of fresh crab-meat xiao long bao, king prawn and bamboo shoot dumplings, scallop and caviar shumai, steamed pork ribs in mild chilli sauce and pan-fried prawn and kimchi Shanghai dumplings, then pair it with Phoenix’s array of kitchen snacks (smaller portions of the a la carte menu), roast meats, baked tarts and steamed rice-noodle rolls. The a la carte menu runs the gamut of contemporary and classic Chinese cuisine, encompassing everything from soups and live seafood to roast meats and rice dishes. A quick hit-list of must-try items include whole Peking duck prepped and served table-side, lobster tail with garlic butter, pan-fried wagyu beef in roasted-sesame sauce, jumbo king prawns in chilli bean sauce, and five-spice beef shank. For the sip selection, Brisbane Phoenix’s drinks list includes an array of bubbles, Australian and Chinese wines, beers and cocktails.
Brisbane Phoenix is officially opening to the public tonight. Head to the Stumble Guide for contact details and menu information.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.