Donna Chang, Brisbane is Chinese cuisine like you have never tasted before. Vibrant and aromatic Chinese flavours and cooking techniques combine with premium Australian ingredients to create a mouth-watering collision.
Donna Chang, Brisbane
Think Peking style barbecue duck with a native fruit glaze and mangrove blossom honey on the char sui pork. Look out for the heritage breed Black Namoi chickens and try the impressive array of dim sum. The restaurant is also focusing on a 100-kilometre radius to source produce. Along with the must-see basement vibes of The Boom Boom Room, Donna Chang is located in the new Adina Apartment Hotel on George Street. If you are looking for a new restaurant dining in Brisbane, this should be on your list. It is one of several restaurants popular for Brisbane CBD dining.
What to eat?
I worked my way through the raw menu with a companion tasting a dish of black Kingfish with crunchy white radish, black garlic and nori (my companion’s favourite dish). From the baked/fried section came smooth slices of roasted duck ham and scampi toast with Osetra caviar and wakame mayo, a very fancy and delicious version of prawn toast.
The Sichuan pickles were recommended as a palate cleanser before tackling one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, Crispy fried eggplant with fragrant chilli dressing. It was a well-balanced dish with exciting flavours but a little too chilli for this chilli-whimp.
Our dessert choices were typically Asian in style and flavours incorporating sweet red bean, jackfruit and pandan, except for the green ants! Yes, the piquant flavour of bright green ants sourced from near Townsville on top of the jackfruit sundae. It definitely worked as a flavour combination. You will enjoy the house green tea, sourced from Arakai Estate at Bellthorpe (a short drive west of Woodford).
A live fish tank is no stranger in a Chinese restaurant, but at Donna Chang, the tank is filled with some of the first successfully farmed Queensland grouper from Rocky Point Aqua Culture facility. While you are there, say hello to Barry, the king crab. He sits happily in a tank under the grouper and keeps the wait staff amused with his antics. Weighing in at 5.8 kilos, Barry is going to be a big feed for someone!
Which were my Donna Chang favourites?
It is a tough call, but I can narrow it down to two. I enjoyed the flavour of the marinated wakame and the texture contrast with the fresh nori and soybeans, but perhaps I just have a thing for seaweed! My wow moment was biting into the Ma po of braised wagyu brisket with silken tofu. It was such a meaty flavour burst encased in buttery crisp pastry.
Dining at Donna Chang
Visually this is a beautiful dining space in a heritage-listed building with plenty of theatre and drama. The ceilings are exceptionally high, and the room is large seating 120 people. However, the spaces are well defined offering large tables for groups and intimate spots amongst the crowd. There are also private dining spaces on the mezzanine level.
Acoustics have been considered, and the restaurant noise level during lunch hovered around 85 decibels which is very comfortable. No straining to hear what your dinner companions are saying.
It was refreshing to see the line-up of experienced professional wait staff who were relishing in their new roles. This should come as no surprise with the highly experienced Shawn Gomes (twice Queensland Sommelier of the Year) heading the management team.
Donna Chang’s open view kitchen is overflowing with talent including Executive Chef Jake Nicolson, Head Chef Jason Margartis (Former Head Chef at Melbourne’s Spice Temple), and Head Dim Sum Chef Sam Lie.
It is a well considered addition to the Brisbane CBD dining line up.
The Boom Boom Room
Taking opulence underground, The Boom Boom Room is a basement bar with plenty of luxe mystery. There are several private rooms, including the old bank vault and a handcrafted menu that mixes wines, cocktails and spirits in enticing ways.
Expect red, lots of red, along with chainmail walls, subdued but startling lighting, cosy booth seating and oodles of atmosphere.
Where are Donna Chang and The Boom Boom Room?
The name Donna Chang might be familiar to Seinfeld fans. It comes from an episode where a series of mishaps occur when George’s phone lines got crossed. Jerry got a date with Donna Chang and was excited because he always wanted to date a Chinese woman. Watch the clip from the episode below for the full story.
More Brisbane CBD dining
Try these other great Brisbane CBD restaurants.
- Phoenix, Brisbane Quarter.
- Leonards Bar & Bistro, Mary Street
- Three Blue Ducks, George Street
- Black Hide, George Street
Disclaimer: Ed+bk was a lunch guest at Donna Chang.