Inside the kitchen of Happy Boy is a wok burner, imported directly from Hong Kong, that burns so hot its flame is clear. You can even hear it. This ensures wok hei (translates to “breath of the wok”), a term for the smoky, savoury flavours imparted when stir-frying on high heat.

Being able to use that kind of equipment is one of the reasons why the Cameron and Jordan Votan closed their enormously popular Spring Hill Chinese eatery, and opened a new Happy Boy in this much larger space in August 2017. The Valley venue has the same menu diners know and love, with more dishes added over time.

Booze-wise, there’s a stronger focus on craft beers with six on tap, as well as a longer wine list sourced through Spokenwine, an online wine business Cameron co-owns with Nick Turner, Michael Larsen and Victor Garcia. The list will be projected above the bar so if a wine sells out mid-service, it can be omitted digitally. Smart.

Minimal fit-outs are a Votan signature. At both Happy Boy Spring Hill and Greenglass, the inner city wine bar the brothers co-own with Turner and Larsen, they tried to change as little as possible of the original building. The same goes for this new subterranean space with its dominant concrete features and a raised front deck.

The Votans envision the wooden deck being used as a casual drinking and snacking area, especially in the afternoons when the fairy lights come to life on the overhanging trees.

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Updated: May 8th, 2024

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