Update: Fatboy Chapel now resides in the graveyard of Chapel Street, having permanently shut it’s doors.
We all know how fickle and crowd-chasing South Yarraites can be (myself included). So the fact that this new lady on Chapel Street, which has now been open for two months, is most nights of the week glaringly empty is clearly acting as Bushman repellent to the local crowd. But Fatboy doesn’t deserve the complete cold shoulder.
The Thursday night I visited (at the insistence of a friend, I admit) our table was sadly the only one occupied in the cavernous dining space. Albeit a beautifully-fitted out, Hampton’s beach house-feel, cavernous dining space that is by no means a chore to hang out in. The heritage-listed building has a hint of Art Deco, along with plenty of exposed white brick, plantery and beaming natural light.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. But despite the fact that you can hear crickets (and some noughties commercial music, which does nothing for the vibe), Fatboy deserves more love than what it’s getting.
Fresh, flavour-filled and no MSG
With a modern twist on Chinese, the food is fresh and flavour-filled, and definitely on the other side of the world to your bad, lots of grease, MSG version of Chinese food. Which is not a surprise given the kitchen is manned by Chef Yu of Iron Chef fame.
The fried rice is no where near stock standard, with a nice nose-watering hint of chilli and garnished with little crunchy bits; the calamari was as subtle as a ballerina; and, in a delicious kind of way, the super sweet lemon chicken borders the boundary of being a dessert – this is definitely the star of the show. They weren’t on the menu but our wish for prawn crackers was quickly genied up.
Prawn crackers aside, the menu includes most of your favourite Chinese faces, including sweet and sour pork, san choi bau and sweet corn chicken soup, but all generally with an element of fusion.
Expect Chapel Street prices. But you can still get away with a two-person feed that leaves you walking out like a stuffed Peking duck, with a couple of wines, for under $100.
Fatboy Chapel is…
Overall, Fatboy is a decent, reliable Toyota-like option, especially given take-away (and delivery courtesy of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Foodora) is available. This underdog of Chapel Street deserves more attention. Mind you – there’s something nice about not waiting three hours to eat dinner on Chapel Street.
Fatboy Chapel | 352 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria
Phone: (03) 9827 7506