The juncture of authentic Chinese food and good wine is a rare beast. Team those uncommon bedfellows with an affordable menu and a cool fit out and you're onto a winner.
New Spring Hill Chinese restaurant and wine bar, Happy Boy, is a breath of fresh air in a saturated market of celery slops and BYO-beers.
Taking over the lofty garage space of former Brisbane institution, Little Tokyo, Happy Boy's pared back décor might look Brooklyn-esque, but the food on offer at this new Brisbane restaurant is straight out of China.
We'd happily make a meal of the bar snacks (prawn potstickers, crispy chicken wings, prawn and pork wontons in a chilli oil broth, salt and pepper quail eggs…You get the picture), but the mains are worth holding out for.
A glance at the menu's enough to get your salivary glands going—fish slice drowned in Sichuan chilli broth, whole crispy snapper with ginger, Chongquin chicken with chillies, fish fragrant eggplant. You'll want to order everything, so bring friends.
They've even nailed that constant disappointment on every Chinese restaurant's menu, fried rice. Happy Boy's house fried rice is made with shredded roast duck. Take that, baby corn.
But enough about the food, we're neglecting the wine. A boutique wine selection chosen by the Happy Boy team (who also happened to be sommeliers—handy), chosen to perfectly complement the authentic, spicy flavours and some fun, easy-drinking cocktails (we hear The Happy Girl, a mix of lychee tea and gin is a real treat) make this an easy choice for a pre-night out the town spot. The very reasonably priced menu doesn't hurt either.
Not content with bringing some joy to dinner time, this new Brisbane restaurant is also open for lunch 7 days a week, with a truncated version of the dinner menu on offer.
The fact that Happy Boy also does takeaway will be music to the ears of Brisbane's Chinese fans.
Image credits: Jeff Andersen