Who doesn’t love a little trip away to recharge the batteries? We certainly do, but sometimes there is too much going on at home or at work to allow for a trip away. This is when the idea of a staycation can be quite appealing. Sometimes, just being able to have a carefree night out and not having to worry about getting home can be quite liberating. If this sounds like a good idea to you, then we’ve got an excellent suggestion. Mister Percy is one of Sydney’s hottest dining venues at the moment, and other than the great food, it has one thing that trumps all of the other contenders on the list; it’s inside the boutique hotel, Ovolo 1888. Here is a recount of our experience there the other night.
The inspiration for the name of the new restaurant and wine bar came from a former employee of the wool store, Percy Ewart, who carved his name into the sandstone building during his time there. For the new look restaurant, renowned Sydney designers, Luchetti Krelle, were tasked with injecting contemporary decor into the rustic foundations of the former warehouse. The furnishings feature the hotel’s mix of old-meets-new eccentricity, with the sophisticated vibe of marble and brass furniture juxtaposed against the backdrop of rough, naturally formed shapes such as the original wooden beam roof railings.
The menu is a collaboration between Head Chef Luca Guiotto and acclaimed Sydney Chef Justin North; who have created a menu that is firmly rooted in traditional Mediterranean flavours and techniques, made with local and seasonal produce. Each dish has been designed to mimic the experience of a sun-drenched dinner through the Mediterranean, and are best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand.
Menu choices at Mister Percy include a variety of pinchos (a Spanish word for a skewered snack), as well as small and larger dishes with an emphasis on sharing, perfect if you’re like us and want to try everything on the menu. Each dish is a subtle balancing act between the nuanced flavours of its ingredients. The smaller portions are key to the experience, and we certainly felt like we were on a culinary journey with so many varied options to try. We could go on, but we’ll let the photos do the talking.
Mister Percy is not only a Mediterranean restaurant but also an excellent wine bar, and matching wine is quintessential to the dining experience. The list of perfectly-paired wines come courtesy of Ovolo’s own Wine Curator, Shun Eto, who carefully selected more than one-hundred different wines to specifically complement Mister Percy’s menu. Staying consistent with the Mediterranean way of doing things, and because the wine is so good, most options are offered in larger 250ml ‘Quartino’ pours. Much like the produce used, wine options are sourced from lesser-known regions such as the Encia and Cinsault of southern Europe, and the King’s Valley in Victoria.
With bellies full of food and wine, moving to another destination was completely out of the question. Thankfully Mister Percy is an excellent place for a nightcap, with a plentiful selection of spirits and a handful of skilled bartenders to make excellent cocktails. After several of these, it was time to retire to our room. It’s wonderful not to have to worry how you’re going to get to your bed, with the only things we had to remember being the room number and key. A quick trip up the elevator and we were ‘home’ for the night. While the drinks had to stop at a certain point, the great food continued the next morning, with a delectable breakfast and coffee awaiting us downstairs before checkout.
The hotel occupies a historic building in the heart of Pyrmont that formerly housed a wool store, and it’s clear that incorporating the building’s bones into the design was of the utmost importance during the restorations. From the moment we arrived at the antique front desk we were greeted with personable service. Any queries are taken care of by friendly and knowledgeable staff, who will point you in the direction of the best local bars and restaurants. But make sure you set aside some time for a meal or drink at Mister Percy.
Ovolo 1888 has ninety rooms and suites to stay in with options ranging between overnight business traveller singles, to luxury two-storey lofts. We stayed in a King room, with a custom-made bed that was an excellent place to collapse later on. The room features a generously sized bathroom that matches the size of the bed, with a walk-in rainfall shower and luxury amenities courtesy of Biology Smart Skincare. Much like the rest of the hotel, there is a clear marriage between the old and the new, with modern abstract art contrasting against a backdrop of exposed brick and distressed timber beams. Other appointments include a 40” Smart TV with Apple TV, an in-room iPad and Echo Dot to check information, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. One thing we also found out is that if you are thinking of staying here, book through the Ovolo website to receive a free mini-bar, breakfast and access to the bar’s happy hour.
You don’t need to be a guest at Ovolo 1888 to visit Mister Percy, the bar and restaurant are open most nights from 5 till late, so if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth checking out. In saying that it’s an even better experience to wine and dine as much as you like with nothing more than a brief trip in the elevator separating you from your bed. It makes for a complete night out.