THE SCENE: Happy Palace is a tongue-in-cheek take on the old suburban Chinese restaurant. It’s the brainchild of Josh Lefers – the guy behind Big Dog Creative, beer-in-a-bag Doss Blockos and Legend condoms – and it offers nostalgic iconic/ironic Chinese food, Kung Fu, eating with slippers on, fortune cookies and hand crafted cocktails.
THE GRUB: While the setting is very ‘80s, the food and cocktails have a distinctly modern feel. Start with the chilli beef dumpling pillows, swimming in broth and with a Szechuan crumb. If you think cauliflower is boring, try the fried version,tossed in a Szechuan pepper sauce – it will blow your mind. If sharing isn’t your thing, go for the spicy beef West lake soup, which is a kind of pho with beef fillet chunks and a spicy beef consomme. For a bargain meal, go for the $8 Lucky Lunch, offered Wednesday to Friday.
BEHIND THE BAR: An impressive cocktail list and a plethora of Asian beers, wines and ciders as well as local long necks will keep you buzzing.
BILL PLEASE: If you bring a group and share everything it’s not going to break the bank, but there is better value to be had in other parts of Chinatown. The cocktails are pricey so stick to the beer. The lunchtime menu is cheap and so is Happi Our when you can get two-for-one cocktails and $2 beers.
VERDICT:This place is all about fun. It doesn’t take itself to seriously, so you shouldn’t either.