When Brisbane's Howard Smith Wharves initially unveiled its first tenants back in 2017, four restaurants were revealed: a Greek taverna, an octagonal overwater bar, a Japanese joint and a Chinese eatery. Slowly but surely, the precinct is delivering on those promises. Greca and Mr Percival's are both already up and running, Yoko Dining is due to launch soon, and Hong Kong-inspired Cantonese venue Stanley is now welcoming patrons through its doors.
Stanley has undergone a few behind-the-scenes changes since it was first announced — instead of being the latest venue from restaurateur Andrew Baturo (Walter's Steakhouse, Libertine, Popolo, Heya and The Gresham), the space and lease is in the hands of private investors — but it's still designed to impress. Revamping the two-storey, heritage-listed, 1930s-era former water police building in the riverside precinct, it features three bars, can cater for 220 guests and includes seating on a deck by the river. And, if you're a fan of peking duck and dim sum, it boasts separate kitchens dedicated to both.
That means that, food-wise, authentic Cantonese dishes are well and truly in the spotlight — as is plenty of fresh, local seafood. Head chef Louis Tikaram's (ex-EP/LP Restaurant in West Hollywood) menu includes peking duck pancakes, honey-glazed char siu, steamed Hervey Bay scallops and wok-fried Moreton Bay bugs, as well as crispy-skin spatchcock, stir-fried wagyu, and salt and pepper Queensland banana prawns. You can also pick crabs and bugs live from the tank, and feast your way through two banquet options. Or, tuck into desserts such as deep-fried ice cream, as well as Stanley's version of a 'Splice', which is made with fresh pineapple, vanilla gelato, and lime and pineapple granita. Head sommelier Thibaud Cregut (ex-Nel. in Sydney) has curated a 400-strong wine list that spans both local and international tipples.
And, as well as making the most of its waterside location, Stanley pays tribute to traditional Chinese design with a handcrafted rattan ceiling and bamboo fretwork lining its walls. It also features antique pieces sourced from Europe and Hong Kong, parquetry inlay floors and a centrepiece circular bar on the upper level.