The Happy Boy team opens Snack Man in Fortitude Valley
The Chinese fine diner has become a bit of a trend of late, moving away from sweet-and-sour pork to take the robust flavours of East Asia to new heights through intricate plating and techniques. Considering Happy Boy’s take on regional Chinese food, Greenglass’ unique approach French cuisine and Australian wine, and Italian Food Restaurant’s shift away from traditional pizza and pasta, it’s safe to say owners Cameron and Jordan Votan aren’t ones to follow trends. For their latest venture, the brothers will instead celebrate the ‘Chinese food of the people’, focusing on flavoursome on-the-go-style eats using simple fresh ingredients.
Since re-opening Happy Boy in Fortitude Valley in August last year, Cameron and Jordan Votan have been toying with the idea of a neighbouring venue specialising in bite-sized Chinese eats. Enter Snack Man. The brothers have taken over the space next door, transforming it into a moody wine bar where, much like Happy Boy, the fit-out is minimalist – it’s the food and wine that takes centre stage. Polished concrete floors and marble benchtops sit alongside deep-buttoned booths, long benches and petite low tables, encouraging gatherings both intimate and large to share in a snackable feast.
While Happy Boy and Greenglass focus heavily on Australian wines, Snack Man is taking a more continental approach. Ceiling-high shelves create a visual wine library, complete with a rolling ladder to retrieve elevated drops. Cameron’s aim to the wine list is to source bottles you can’t find anywhere else, importing never-before-seen drops from natural and emerging winemakers and regions across the globe. The ever-changing selection will feature around 200 bottles and each week Cameron will curate a list of his wine-wall highlights for those needing a little help deciding. Mixologist Jack Lio (ex-The Bowery) has come on board to lead the cocktail side, creating a rotating list of seasonal cocktails using some pretty ingenious techniques. Jack will take a winemaker’s approach to cocktail creation, putting the fruit first and foremost rather than focusing on the spirits.
On the food front, Snack Man certainly lives up to its name. Five bite-sized Chinese eats feature on the current soft-opening menu – crispy chicken ribs, barbecue chicken cha siu bao, and seasonal mushroom, prawn, and pork and prawn dumplings. From late January the full menu will be available, with portions allowing diners to work their way around the menu of 20–30 regional Chinese snacks. Expect to find the likes of Guangdong-style pan-fried juicy dumplings, little burgers with salt and pepper prawns reminiscent of Hong Kong hawker food, and single-serve bowls of Sichuan wheat noodles with sesame and ground pork.
Snack Man is open now – head to our Stumble Guide for opening hours and contact details.
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