January 2017 - Present

"Mum wanted to expand her catering business. I wanted to open a bar. So we decided f**k it - lets open a Dumpling Bar."

That was how Happy D’s Dumpling Bar began. An idea over beers that came to life!

As part of establishing the bar with my business partner I was responsible for conceiving the design concept and co-ordinated the construction phase which involved transforming a residential space into a funky Japanese Izakaya style bar/restaurant.

“While many bars tout extravagant fit-outs and esoteric drink lists, at Happy D’s it’s just dumplings, beer and good vibes.

The fit-out is unashamedly low budget with bare-brick walls (heavy goldish curtains over some), a bright red bar and simple kitsch decorations that allude to all the Australian-Chinese restaurants that have influenced the cooking – the most prominent being a fake fish tank that stretches the length of the bar.

It’s tongue-in-cheek retro. The most serious aspect is probably the quality sound system that pumps out disco, ’60s and ’70s soul and the occasional live DJ.

The dumpling range covers nine steamed dumplings, mostly popular styles (prawn gow gee, barbecue pork buns, mixed mushroom) plus some Shanghainese pork soup dumplings and a weekly special varies from classic Chinese to completely experimental.

The drinks list is similarly simple albeit with a few more progressive choices. Asahi is on tap but there’s also Japanese craft beers, a range (in price and flavour) of Japanese whisky and sake, a trio of vaguely Asian-inspired cocktails, and a short but strong by-the-glass wine list”.

- Broadsheet Sydney