Almost 10 years after opening the first Ho Jiak in Sydney (his Malaysian restaurant group now has four locations across the city) chef Junda Khoo is finally coming to Melbourne – with not one, but three different spots.

Khoo has taken over a three-storey site at 235–251 Bourke Street in the CBD, where he’s opening three connected venues.

The ground floor will house a large kitchen servicing all three restaurants and a hawker-style kiosk called Da Bao (Cantonese for “takeaway”). Khoo says that, like Ho Jiak Strathfield, the kiosk will focus on Malaysian street food, with dishes such as nasi lemak and Hainan chicken rice. It will also have a section inspired by Malaysia’s “chap fan” stalls, which offer rice plates with accompaniments chosen from an array of bain-maries.

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On the first floor you’ll find Ho Jika: Junda’s Playground. “That's where we will be doing our elevated Malaysian dishes, similar to Ho Jiak Town Hall,” Khoo says. Expect his signature laksa bombs (chicken-and-prawn dumplings in a laksa soup), nyonya oysters, steak with green-chilli sambal and wonton frites, and a top-tier wine list.

Rooftop beer hall Ho Liao (Hokkien for “good stuff”) will lean more casual, serving home-style Malaysian dishes like assam nyonya barramundi (home-style fish curry); bang kuang char (stir-fried yam beans); and “a few old-school soups”, including lotus root, old cucumber and ayam cemani (black chicken). There will also be Malaysian desserts like ice kachang (shaved ice topped with peanuts, jelly and corn, and drizzled with pink rose syrup), Milo dinosaurs (cold Milo with extra Milo on top) kuih (colourful bite-sized desserts) and pulut hitam (a sweet soup made with black glutinous rice).

“It’s like having three different Ho Jiak concepts: street, elevated/modern and home-style dishes under one roof,” Khoo says.

Ho Jiak is due to open at 235–251 Bourke Street, Melbourne in October 2024.