If you've ever been to the Formosa Cafe in Los Angeles, you immediately get the concept of Happy Palace, in Melbourne's CBD. Take one Chinese restaurant that's been there forever, do a hip re-vamp without getting rid of the cool, kitschy features that make it so Chinese Restaurant-y in the first place, jazz up the menu (the desserts come under "Happy Endings"), add a happening guest list and mix. Apparently co-owner Jerome Borazio (of St Jerome's fame) hassled the previous owner for eight years until he was finally willing to part with the venue.
Wall by Happy Palace. Bag by http://www.boxcarorange.com.au
Kate Bollard. Hong Kong top, LA attitude, rocking chick.
Miss World Australia finalist Mietta Gornall (who's an actress-dancer and was in West Side Story) and pal Gabi Aloisio
Mietta, Gabi and PR gal-about-town Fiona Brook.
The famous Duck You! Duck Face! cocktail. It's a duck-washed Tanqueray Gin with Mandarine Napoleon Liquer, Sweet Vermouth and a dash of bitters. Possibly not for everyone, but I loved it.
You can't see it here, but all the wait staff had name tags which said "Nigel" on them. There's a sweet and convoluted story about this, which basically revolves around owner Jerome wanting to create a special club for all the Nigels of the world. This is how he's finally done it.
The fellas behind Happy Palace call it an "ironic-iconic homage to suburban Chinese food," which seems about right.
Booth tables made from Mah Jong tiles, adorable touch.