Mr Percival’s, the latest addition to the developing Howard Smith Wharves entertainment precinct, offers some of the best seats in Brisbane for views of the Story Bridge and the Brisbane River. The overwater bar and dining spot opened last week, and what a knockout it is, from the elegant décor to the beautiful food and the inviting drinks.
It’s the second venue to have opened in the Howard Smith Wharves, following the opening of Felons Brewing Co. the previous week. The project revitalises the old wharves under the Story Bridge, between Fortitude Valley and New Farm, that had been largely abandoned since the 1960s. Backed by soaring cliffs and parkland, the wharves will eventually be home to a bustling precinct of restaurants, bars, event spaces, community gardens, and a 5-star hotel.
Brisbane interior designer Anna Spiro, whose team was responsible for all the aesthetic elements of the project, envisioned Mr Percival’s as “Brisbane’s own folly — a fun place that nobody will ever want to leave”. Named after the pelican character in the 1976 movie Storm Boy, there’s even a cheeky pelican standing sentinel on the deck overlooking the river. The octagonal shaped building is reminiscent of the band rotundas that are scattered throughout Brisbane’s parks, while the furnishings take cues from European beach clubs, evoking a sense of year-long summer.
Six arched doors open onto the deck, bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out. I’m not so sure about the curtains draped either side of the doors – they’re a little too homely for my liking – but the local photography on the walls is brilliant and the cushioned stools are stunning. Even better is that the furniture was manufactured in Brisbane; it’s so pleasing to see projects like this supporting local businesses. Gorgeous Douglas and Bec round lights, Maison C wallpaper, green tiled floors, Moroccan border tiles and a striking octagon-shaped bar complete the picture.
Outside, the walls are painted a soft sage green, and the plush outdoor seating is shaded by salmon pink and white umbrellas. It’s a great spot for kicking back and relaxing, watching the sunset over the water, and enjoying a glass of Aperol Spritz, Champagne or Rosé, as we did on the opening night. We can highly recommend the Aperitivo-style bar snacks, having sampled canapes such as Fraser Island spanner crab with aioli and herbs on a soft roll; crispy fried school prawns with lemon mayo; king fish ceviche, outstanding fresh prawns, NSW South Coast oysters and Beluga caviar.
It’s not surprising that seafood features prominently on the menu as Mr Percival’s head chef is Damien Styles, formerly of award-winning Gold Coast restaurant, The Fish House. Styles says Mr Percival’s is the perfect place for him, given his love of seafood. “Simple, fresh and tasty food wins every time,” he says, and while everything about the menu is upscale, the presentation of these fresh seafood morsels is indeed deliciously light and summery.
Adam Flaskas, director of Howard Smith Wharves, spoke at the opening about his vision for the precinct, which he believes will help Brisbane redefine itself as a global food and wine centre. “Mr Percival’s is a world-class venue. (It) has been a vision of mine for a long time and the venue is very close to my heart. To see it open is such a milestone for us,” he said.
If you go:
Howard Smith Wharves
5 Boundary Street,
Brisbane Qld 4000
Photos by Food Wine Travel where indicated. Other photos were supplied by Wanderlust Union.