In a shock announcement, catering group Castelo Concepts has said it will be ceasing its Jaspas Junk business as of May 1.
Citing rising operational costs and the high levels of expensive maintenance required to keep its ageing fleet of boats running, Castelo co-founders Brian and Wayne Parfitt say they will be concentrating on the group’s chain of restaurants moving forward.
“Although we will no longer be chartering the junks, we will offer a variety of catering options via our restaurants for guests to book when they take out their own junk, or book a third party charter option.” The pair also own oceanfront restaurant Jaspas Beach Club in Sai Kung which is sure to prove a popular spot for lunch with a water view.
The Parfitt brothers originally picked up their fleet of six boats from HSBC at HK$50,000 each during the global financial crisis. At the time, HSBC was cutting back on corporate entertainment and Wayne was keen to set up a commercial junk business having enjoyed days out on his own boat since the early ‘90s.
“We used to have these awesome parties and I thought maybe there would be some traction in renting junks commercially with drinks and a BBQ,” he said.
The resultant Jaspas Junks business achieved legendary status with expats throughout the territory, offering an unbeatable free-flow package with BBQ lunch, homemade pizzas and chocolate cake sailing home and oodles of Seabreezes that could be enjoyed afloat a noodle.
“I can’t believe Jaspas junks are no more!” lamented one expat. “Oh my god we’ve had so much fun on those boats over the years. Nobody could beat their food, drink and all-day boating package.” For an extra charge, kids could spend the day zooming around on a banana while the adults got down to the serious business of socialising. During the course of research for this article, only one party was discovered to have drunk a Jaspas junk dry – “and of course the staff immediately jumped into the speedboat to pick up top-ups back in Sai Kung,” admitted a member of the party (no names shall be named).
The junks operated out of Causeway Bay and Pak Sha Wan in Sai Kung and while there are many more Island-based junk operators, it is believed the Sai Kung crowd may struggle to find similar boat packages without a surcharge being added on for the New Territories pick-up.
“We’d like to give our skippers a special shout out, as well as our staff. They’ve helped us to build this great fun day out on Hong Kong waterways into such unique memories for so many,” continued the brothers. “For catering options, please contact Oolaa, Wagyu, Jaspas Sai Kung, Castelo Catering or High Street Grill.”