Given my ardent love of eating out, and chronic lack of coin, it’s become my life’s mission to scout out all the places that serve up the best and most bounteous feeds at the most reasonable charge. I’m talking rich, brimming dishes of delicious food that will fill you up and get you chirping for less than the price of a spare tyre.
If you’ve got a small team these places are brilliant for a (Christmas, birthday, random shindig) party that’ll provide loads of nosh for minimal dosh, and spare you the expense of booking an entire function space. Expect a lot of set menus and also some cheeky wildcards that manage to serve up lavish plates of value for an absolute steal.
Heading into the festive season, there’s no better time to round up the very best banquets going. Here are all the places you should go if your appetite is bigger than your wallet.
I have never left King Tea hungry, nor have I ever paid more than a pineapple. That’s the magic of this authentic tapas joint and wine bar. They’ve poured all of their resources into making the food the best goddamn version of itself and boy does it show. Standouts include the ceviche (so fresh and perfect for summer), and the crispy fried chicken with honey and paprika butter (available as a two-for-one on Wednesdays). King Tea also offers a bunch of gluten free dishes and vegetarian options (most of which can be made vegan on request), so it’s a pretty reliable crowd pleaser. As for the drinkables, King Tea’s wine list features a nice selection of Australian and European wines that go down a treat with a tapas feast, as does a jug of their sangria on Sunday.
Who doesn’t appreciate the guts and glory of a succulent Chinese meal? No one, that’s who. And as far as Happy Boy is concerned, the universally pleasing nature of their entire menu means our obsession with them never abates. Ordering tip: if you’re in a group, order the banquet; for just $45 a head the kitchen will send out a selection of dishes catering to your fancies. It provides a nice snapshot of the menu and also guarantees full bellies and happy faces all around.
Vietnamese freshness got a new name when Hello Please set up on Fish Lane. Besides the ultra-cool outdoor dining area beneath a mural of Muhammad Ali, the feastings on offer are seriously delicious feeds. Stuff like their grilled aubergine with sriracha mayo, and fluffy bao are nigh on iconic, and that’s before you even hit the mains. Larger groups can tuck into Hello Please’s shared dining banquet menu at just $35 a person, but if you want to customise, rest assured that even a moderate order of share plates would satisfy a ravenous hunger. Hit em up, it’s a good time.
Bird's Nest Yakitori
West End and Fortitude Valley
As absolute mavens of the yakitori grill, Bird's Nest is an entrenched local favourite among the poulty-lovin’ public. And this holiday season, Bird's Nest is offering a bunch of festive menus at three different price points guaranteed to state your team and bring the stoke. On the menu you can expect stuff like crowd-pleasing edamame, crispy karaage, and, of course, plenty of their famous skewers. Bird's Nest also has a bunch of drinks packages on offer and can accommodate groups of up to 50 people for seated events.
Chu The Phat
Bridging between South Brisbane’s Melbourne Street and the dead cool Fish Lane, Chu the Phat is all about generous servings and good times on tap. This Asian food hall is split across two levels and has a similarly expansive menu to match. Rather than tussle with the tricky decision, get around Chu the Phat’s banquets. Available as either an express or leisurely version, the banquets cater to two different price points and feature the best that Chu the Phat has to offer. Brilliant for big groups and the persistently indecisive.
If you’re looking for a more casual, grazing-style do, Copado is the only name you need to remember. Besides being photogenic in the extreme, their share platters and charcuterie boards are compiled from the best and most delicious ingredients, and come with so much stuff they look like someone upturned a horn of plenty. Don’t even get me started on their jaffles and toasties. Despite the generous servings, Copado keeps it real with the price tag, leaving you with plenty of funds to check out their superb wine list.
Image credit: Copado, by Hayley Williamson for The Urban List.