When it came time to open Phoenix Group’s fifth yum cha restaurant, expanding to Brisbane seemed like an obvious step for co-owner Anita Fung. After 20 years of business in four successful venues across Sydney, Fung was eager to reach a new audience.
“The weather is [comfortable] and the people are very friendly – they love eating and drinking,” Fung says. “We can find good produce here – it’s not difficult. That’s why this is the first stop out from Sydney.”
Fung explains that despite being the smallest Phoenix restaurant in the group so far, the Brisbane venue comes with a wider purview than its Sydney cousins, designed to suit an array of diners. “This is much more complex,” she says. “We only have 180 seats but we have three private rooms. It's more targeted to corporates. But our offerings are mainly Chinese cuisine, fresh seafood from the tank, yum cha, and we’re open seven days.”
The yum cha selection is as extensive as at the Sydney restaurants and includes crowd favourites such as the fresh crab meat xiao long bao, black pepper beef shumai, and prawn and kimchi dumplings. On the a la carte menu there’s fragrant pipa duck, Peking duck served at the table, Wagyu beef with sesame sauce and lobster tail with garlic butter.
The food is backed by an imaginative drinks list of Australian and Chinese wines, beers and a cocktail list that mixes classics with eccentric contemporary inventions such as the Phoenix Red Chilli built on chilli, lychee and vodka.
Local designer Jackson Teece has given the restaurant a modern fit-out that slots neatly into Brisbane Quarter’s slick premises while reflecting elements of Phoenix’s existing Sydney venues. The traditional black, gold, and red colour scheme is combined in a contemporary manner with dark timber and clusters of red lanterns that hang above the elegant dining area. “The dark colour makes it more comfortable and relaxing, the gold is to brighten it up, and the red [is a symbol] of Chinese [culture],” Fung explains.
For those going large there are the three private spaces, the largest a 20-seat dining room with silver velvet chairs and a handsome calacatta marble feature wall.
300 George Street, Brisbane City
Mon to Wed 11am–3pm, 5.30pm–10pm
Thu & Fri 11am–3pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm
Sat & Sun 11am–3pm, 5.30pm–10pm