Between her Thai restaurant portfolio (Phat Elephant, Chai Thai, Asian Republic) and her beloved cafe concepts (Chapter IV, The Hamptons), Alyssa Phadungkiat undeniably has a firm grasp on how to deliver food in a welcoming setting. It was this very reputation that put her on the radar of the leasing agents at Brisbane Quarter, who approached Alyssa in 2018 to see if she would be interested in implementing a new concept within the blossoming dining precinct. While opening another venue wasn’t on her immediate itinerary, the prospect of adding her style of comfortable, cheeky and considered hospitality as an alternative to Brisbane Quarter’s established mix of restaurants (alongside Persone, Heritij and the recently unveiled Phoenix) proved appealing. Soon enough she was working on the concept behind what would become 140-seat newcomer Phat Boy. Where Chai Thai nails the humble neighbourhood takeaway outlet and Phat Elephant sits snugly as a comfortable mid-tier restaurant, Phat Boy sits one rung higher on the ladder without sacrificing a casual charm. In a nutshell, Phat Boy is the natural evolution of Alyssa’s tastes – something familiar yet outside the norm, exciting but approachable, and special with an extra sprinkle of style.
Alyssa’s tendency to zig when everyone else is zagging extended to Phat Boy’s fit-out, starting with the size of the venue itself. Alyssa chose to divide up the offered tenancy into three, selecting the largest portion to house Phat Boy, while saving the other two spaces for some exciting future concepts (details are being kept under wraps for now). The restaurant was designed with a casual and fun atmosphere in mind – a pretension-free space that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. Exposed brick and concrete floors create a sturdy foundation, which are immediately offset by green neon signs and colourful custom-designed posters coating the wall closest to the kitchen that show off the Phat Boy mascot as well as some tongue-in-cheek slogans (“I’m delicious – can you handle me?” for example). Imported pots filled with greenery dot the venue, while custom lanterns from northern Thailand illuminate the various nooks and crannies.
The food and drink
Although Phat Boy eschews the trappings of fine dining for a more casual atmosphere, Alyssa is still a perfectionist when it comes to the fare. Months of menu tinkering has resulted in a list of dishes made from local produce that retain much of the cuisine’s familiarity, but elements have been adventurously tweaked to add a fun newness to the mix. Such enhancements are visible in Phat Boy’s entrees (duck spring rolls, crispy school prawns with kaffir aioli and crispy Thai noodles with bitter orange glaze), through to the signature mains. The kung tung (a shareable seafood feast that is poured onto the table), duck and sweet potato yellow curry, Pad Thai served wrapped in an egg net, DIY papaya salad and build-your-own san choi bow showcase not only some salivation-inducing twists, but also emphasise Phat Boy’s communal and hands-on aspect. The menu’s two desserts are also enhanced versions of favourites – the deep-fried banana ice-cream with coconut butterscotch sauce and the mango mousse with sweet sticky rice and pandan ice-cream will be the perfect sweet finish to the feast. The restaurant’s drinks selection is concise but packed with plenty of options. Elements of Tiki culture are infused throughout, from the fresh coconut juice to the signature cocktail list, the latter of which incorporates flavoursome ingredients and eye-catching presentation to enhance the sipping experience. Beyond cocktails, Phat Boy’s list of libations includes beer towers, wine, spirits, soju, hot tea and lemon iced tea.
Phat Boy is open from today, Monday July 15. For opening hours and contact details, check out the Stumble Guide.