Brisbane’s newest dining destination is a culinary journey to Southeast Asia.
Brisbane’s dining scene is booming. Recent openings include Bar Tano on James Street as well as a whole slew of openings in West Village including Picnic Café, Beirut Bazaar, Italian Street Kitchen, Cheeky Poké and Ichiban Sushi. But now there’s a portal to the flavours of Southeast Asia in Everton Park Plaza—Mai Gai—and it’s a one-way ticket to paradise.
Southeast Asian cuisine is complex. Dishes are a combination of hot and cold and they’re no easy to feat to master but Mai Gai Head Chef, Suchada Nakbunchuay, is no apprentice when it comes to the bold and punchy flavours of Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Laos, and Cambodian gastronomies.
Inspired by her own heritage, travels through the region rich in history, culture and cuisine, and her time at Byron Bay’s famed Bang Bang, Nakbunchuay has developed a menu that combines sweet, salty, sour, spicy and creamy flavours—all of what Southeast Asia is known for.
“At Mai Gai we are going to let the food do the talking – there is a reason Southeast Asian cuisine is a trusted favourite with its bright, fresh and bold flavours, complemented by the smokey char that can only come from cooking at high heat,” she said.
What’s on the menu at Mai Gai?
If you go to Mai Gai hungry, you run the risk of ordering way too much because choosing where to start and what to taste first will be a dilemma. Just accept you’ll be going back. But to begin, there are snacks like the sticky popcorn chicken and Sichuan salted squid, which are a definite must-try before you gorge on the buns and baos.
There’s a range of mains including crispy whole baby fish, twice-cooked short rib and a Gai yang butterfly charcoal chicken, each covered and dressed in their own selection of herbs that really bring out the best of the main ingredient. And if you’ve got more room, or are keen on something else, there are curries and other classic dishes like pad thai and pork fried rice.
Want to try a bit of everything, sit down to the crowd-pleasing set menu of six dishes where you’ll be able to taste a bit of this and that without doing your head in. It’s a preplanned adventure packed with the must-try and highlights of a Southeast Asian adventure.
Mai Gai Drinks
Bottled beers and wines including a few bubbles make the drinks menu but the real standouts on the drinks menu are the cocktails. The bar, headed up by former Emporium bar manager, Ariana Pieterse, has brought with her some bespoke recipes as well as twists on the classics.
There’s the Monkey Magic, with Malibu coconut rum for a tropical punch, as well as the vodka-based Cookie Gai, gin-loaded Elephant Trunk and the Mai Shangai-La with Havana white rum to whet your whistle among plenty of others.
For an adventure to Southeast Asia in the suburbs, you can’t go past Mai Gai.
Mai Gai details
Where: 791 Stafford Road, Everton Park
When: Monday – Sunday, 11:30am-9pm (except Fridays and Saturdays, 10pm)Book your seat now