I’ll admit that when I walked into the lobby of Pyrmont’s Ovolo 1888 hotel, I walked right past Mister Percy without a thought.
When I came back downstairs for dinner, asking the receptionist where I might find the establishment, I was almost embarrassed as to how glaringly obvious it was, sitting right there in the middle of the lobby.
A Subtle Presence
If you expect a hotel, as I did, you’ll hardly notice the nonchalant, open-plan dining setting that could just be another entrance to a chic New York-esque boutique. Conversely, if you walk in looking for a new Mediterranean tapas restaurant by the name of Mister Percy, the glass lifts taking hotel guests to their rooms wouldn’t even catch your eye. The subtly, sophistication and balance of this eatery sprawled across the trendy lobby of the low-key Ovolo had me onside before I’d even taken a seat. I liked it a lot.
The reason for me being there was simple. Mister Percy had just opened, so I was invited to indulge in their take on an extrapolated concept of ‘Pinchos’ – small plates you’ll find served in bars across Northern Spain. Accompanied by some of the finest and most unique wines in the space, the layered dining experience was both casual yet swanky. Again, an impressive balance that encouraged a relaxed dining experience.
I spent much of my evening across from Head Chef Justin North who explained to me his task of balancing Mediterranean coastal flavours alongside local produce. As we enjoyed an unbelievable Barramundi (not a dish which I’m normally jumping at) and some light chat, North assured diners that the menu would be one that is constantly changing, especially during their debut months of trading. Guests can expect not only seasonal adaptations but also a continually fluid menu to ensure that each experience has a point of difference to the last and even regulars would be treated to something new.
The food ensemble is intriguing in itself, but I would encourage you to listen to the methodology and knowledge of Ovolo’s Group Wine Curator Shun Eto (formerly of QT) who dazzled us with left-field pairings and wine varieties that I’d never previously considered.
The establishment’s name, if you were wondering, interestingly comes from a one Percy Ewart, a former wool classer in the building which Ovolo 1888 currently resides who once engraved his name into the sandstone wall of the property.
It’s suave, trendy and dynamic enough you could take a client there on a Tuesday and a date there that same Friday.