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Howard Smith Wharves announce their crowning jewel: Mr Percival’s

November 3, 2018 Dining No Comments Email Email

On 29 November, Mr Percival’s, an impressive overwater bar-plus-dining spot among a number of the city’s next big foodie sensations, set on the picturesque Brisbane River, will be the second venue to open doors to the public in the Howard Smith Wharves precinct.

At this elevated waterfront watering hole, every aesthetic element is informed by the elegant eye of Anna Spiro Design, from the architectural framework and the speakeasy-style Octagon shaped bar, to the charming Pelican logo. Taking cues from Europe’s most iconic, unpretentious beach clubs, the atmosphere at Mr Percival’s has been devised to spur a sense of year-long summer—making it a must-visit for locals, interstate tourists and global tastemakers.

Perhaps the biggest draw of Mr Percival’s—outside the postcard-perfect sunsets right beside the water—is the captivating decor, created by Brisbane native and interior design legend Anna Spiro. “When designing commercial spaces,” she explains, “our approach is always to create environments full of interest, comfort and difference that people want to linger in. Mr Percival’s will be Brisbane’s own folly—a fun place that nobody will ever want to leave.”

Speaking of follies—those staples of ornamental, pleasure-driven architecture—Spiro has transformed them into something cooler and more contemporary here: adorned with star windows and Douglas & Bec round lights and Maison C wallpaper. Riffing off the octagonal shape of the rotundas peppered through parks all over Brisbane, the brass-fronted bar is punctuated by six arched doors that open back onto a deck, allowing for a seamless indoor to outdoor transition. It’s surrounded by cushioned stools, where patrons can sit and choose their potion, prepared atop terracotta marble.

Outside, in the sunshine, the walls are painted a soft sage green, and plush mix-and-match outdoor seating (courtesy of French furniture makers Fermob) is shaded by salmon pink umbrellas. Inside, doorways are accented in green, and the flooring boasts an especially Spiro touch: it’s a heady, variegated amalgam of green tiling, alongside Moroccan Zellige border tiles. The palette throughout is like the sun-speckled Mediterranean after a storm: terracotta, dirty green, and natural timber infused with yellow and pops of ocean blue. Even the bathrooms hold wry design secrets including the constellation of windows reference to sailor’s lost at sea, who used the Southern Cross to navigate a path home.

For those in want of more than a tipple, the food on offer is—well—nothing short of expert. Mr Percival’s head chef is Damien Styles: formerly of The Fish House—awarded one hat in two consecutive years under his watch.

Under Styles, Mr Percival’s menu rises to meet its decor: its Aperitivo-style bar snacks abound in understated cool. It’s not difficult to imagine afternoons turning to evenings while curled against plush, upholstered 70s print chairs—all dreamed to life by Spiro—while sipping on something sweet and sampling Styles’ smart offerings: be it fried zucchini fritters or a succulent lobster roll, or anchovies done simply, with olive oil and lemon and garlic, or—wait for it—whipped cod roe served up with a warm baguette. (Every item is inspired by the locally-sourced underwater stuff of Moreton Bay and Australia’s East Coast region.) The mood is upscale but approachable and light: summery, fresh seafood morsels that you’d like to make this way at home but notice they’re a little more magic here.

“This is a milestone moment for us,” says Adam Flaskas, Director of Howard Smith Wharves. “To see this venue open is extremely close to my heart, as it has been my vision in the making for some time—and to have so many respected locals involved —from Anna Spiro to Damien Styles—makes it all the more thrilling. Mr Percival’s is a world-class venue, one that will be part of Brisbane redefining itself as a global food and wine centre. I can’t wait to welcome locals and visitors into it later this year.”

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Howard Smith Wharves was the missing link along the Brisbane River and, when complete, would become Brisbane’s newest world-class entertainment and lifestyle destination.  “Mr Percival’s will offer some of the best seats in Brisbane to take in views of the Story Bridge, the Brisbane River and the Riverside precinct, while surrounded by the history of the restored heritage wharf buildings, new public parklands and Riverwalk,” Cr Quirk said.

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