Walking into Happy Boy is like walking into a happy lively party. It’s 8 o’clock and the place is packed full of chatty diners sharing plates and laughs. Luckily we’ve booked a table, and are greeted by a wide smiled girl only too happy to accommodate our request for an outside spot. “We’ve only got the ledge outside available” she tells us. Noticing our uncertain looks she quickly adds beaming, “I personally think the ledge is better than a table”. Taking her word for it, we let her escort us outside to the “ledge”.
Happy Boy – says it all!!!
Under the Fairy Lit Trees
Looking around, we both agree we’ve made the right choice. The pretty fairy-lit trees add so much atmosphere, and you can’t help but feel a sense of occasion. It is also considerably a lot quieter outside. Quite a contrast to the inside seating, which has a more of a communal feel. With its canteen style tables and concrete floors, the indoor area has an almost industrial vibe. But don’t be put off by the minimalist decor, I can assure you the menu is anything but simple as we were about to find out.
After being told our waiter will be with us shortly, we relax and take in the ambience. And there’s plenty to be had! It’s a particularly balmy night here in Brissie, and we forget for a moment that we are actually in the inner city. However we are bought back to reality when we spot the car yard across the street, (albeit a rather luxurious one).
Our waiter arrives and is well versed with the extensive wine list. He suggests Gathering Fields, a rosé from the Thousand Candles vineyard in the Yarra Valley($14). (Note to self – a visit to Victoria wine-growing country is definitely on the cards). Within minutes I am enjoying a fruity impressive and very morerish wine. David’s quick to decide on his tipple and orders the “The Boy” ($8).
Scanning the menu, it all sounds inviting. The meals are designed for sharing, and after much deliberation, we manage to narrow it down. We order the the vegetarian spring rolls ($7 for 3) and they arrive hot, crunchy and golden. Accompanying them is a little dish of creamy “secret herbed mayonnaise”, which works surprisingly well. Keen to try the crispy chicken wings with crunchy slaw ($7 for 5), they are crispy and tender, although I’m favouring the former.
Another round of drinks and we’re ready for our mains. We opt for the flash fried lamb with Sichuan spicy oil. It’s a generous serve and, surprisingly not as spicy as the name suggests. In fact I found the lamb slightly dry, and would have liked a bit more of that tasty Sichuan oil. David didn’t seem to mind though and the lamb quickly disappears from our plate.
Although we have differing opinions over the lamb, we are in full agreement when it comes to the main attraction – the Chinese BBQ Roast Duck. On first inspection, we think they have mistaken our order for a whole duck instead of half. The portions are absolutely huge! “No” we are told, “Just very big duck”. One bite and we’re sold as it’s equally big on flavour! Crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside – this duck is cooked to perfection!
I need to know more as seriously haven’t had a duck this good since my visit to Hong Kong. We are told the duck is prepared, stuffed and roasted in-house, and the jus from the roasting pan is served as part of the sauce. Hoisin mayonnaise accompanies the duck, which is equally delicious. Despite the generous portion we still manage to finish off this finger licking goodness.
I honestly can’t say enough about the food – and I think the pictures speak for themselves! The dishes are fresh, with perfectly balanced flavours and generous servings.
What really impresses me is, although the restaurant is constantly busy, the waitstaff seem totally unfazed, and are all well versed in the menu and serve with a smile.
Happy Boy is located under the fairy lit trees in East Street, Fortitude Valley. Due to the high demand I’d recommend booking. They have 2 sittings – 5:30 – 7:30pm and 7:30pm to 9:30pm.
If you are looking for a great Chinese meal with that happy party vibe, Happy Boy will deliver. Ooh that’s a point I wonder if they do takeaway?