Now they’re behind the Worldwide Hospitality Group, a rapidly expanding group of cafes, bars and restaurants in Toowoomba, Brisbane and beyond. Last week, they added a third Junk Boat (also in Toowoomba and Maroochydore) to the family.
“The same philosophy flows through the majority of our businesses. We keep it simple, fast, casual and have a real strong focus on value for money,” says Kelly. “That’s been the approach and I think that’s what really resonates with people.”
Before opening his own venues, Kelly worked as head chef at fine diner Stokehouse Q. As director of culinary, he works alongside Braden White (ex-Stokehouse Q, Hatch & Co, Ricky’s) and Mitch Smith to oversee the food at all three Junk Boat venues.
The pan-Asian hawker-style menu features soft-shell crab bao; crispy pork-belly in a kaffir lime-sugar caramel; and a chicken satay rice bowl. So far the biggest hit has been the Gangnam Fries: spiced fries topped with house-made kimchi, nacho-cheese sauce, spring onion and nori (a type of seaweed).
The short drinks menu includes two whites, two reds and a couple of beers on tap and in bottle. For something more novel, try the gin- or vodka-spiked bubble tea, or if you’re with a large group, a chilled 2.5-litre beer tower for sharing.
Arkhefield Architecture + Interior Design (Urbane, Atalanta and Stokehouse Q) is behind the fit-out, which features wooden tables and chairs, bright orange booth seating, bamboo baskets hanging from the ceiling and an open kitchen.
Junk Boat South Bank
Shop 11–12 Little Stanley Street, South Bank