Robin Yu’s first experience of Kingsfood Sunnybank was, like thousands upon thousands of other Brisbane locals, as a paying customer. The iconic Taiwanese restaurant, founded in 1990, was seven years old at the time.
Yu would eventually settle in Brisbane in 2001 to start a realty business, and his first office was in the same Market Square shopping complex as Kingsfood. Each day he would find himself there for lunch. When Kingsfood’s original owners, the Gu family, wanted to sell the restaurant in 2009, Yu had precisely zero experience in hospitality. But he loved the food and he loved the fact that it was a family restaurant with no airs or graces. So he bought the place.
Kingsfood’s popularity has since exploded, powered along by Sunnybank’s foreign student population and the rise of social media. Punters are drawn by the restaurant’s enormous servings and a menu that now offers 150 dishes drawn from both Taiwan and mainland China.
This second location opened in 2020, with a 100-seat al fresco take on the original restaurant, with a 30-choice lunch menu transitioning into 160 dishes for dinner. All the Kingsfood classics are here, including brisket hotpot, fragrant green beans with pork mince, and crispy shredded beef with sweet-chilli sauce, plus new dishes such as a seafood laksa and fried dumplings.
It’s on the drinks menu where you’ll notice bigger changes, though. Kingsfood Brisbane supplements the original’s much-loved Taiwanese bubble-tea menu with imported and local beers, wine, sake and shochu.
The fit-out follows the simple formula of wood-veneer tables, handsome crimson-coloured chairs, and a liberal dose of red paint. Much of the seating is outside looking over the square, which buzzes during lunchtime and on Friday and Saturday nights.