Sure, there’s some good food options on the fringes of Pyrmont: The Star casino in the east, with Fat Noodle, Sokyo, and Momofuku Seiobo; the tourist-heaving Sydney Fish Markets in the west. But save for the excellent noodles at Chinatown Noodle (hint: it’s not in Chinatown), and the (in)famous 24-hour Pyrmont Bridge Hotel, Pyrmont is a bit of a dead zone if you’re looking for a schnitzel-free place for a nice glass of wine (and possibly some tasty snacks).
And not just any snacks—we’re talking pinchos, the sexy brother to the tapas, the Chris to the Liam Hemsworth, if you will. Pinchos are popping up all over town—at Surry Hills’ Ortzi, and over at Merivale’s new Bar Topa, and now, at the just-opened Mister Percy. Very simply, pinchos (or pintxos), meaning “to pierce” in Spanish, are snacks skewered onto a toothpick.
And as for the name? Mister Percy is named after Percy Ewart, the wool worker who once graced the former wool-store. Inside, it’s old school heritage charm meets contemporary bistro vibes. Luchetti Krelle, the design team for behind a number of Sydney venues (ACME, Sake, Banksii), have worked their sprucing magic here, keeping much of the OG sandstone brickwork, while adding slick marble-and-steel tables and mid-century-inspired furniture and these super cool Daniel Emma chairs. So, it’s slick, kids. Your thoughtfully ripped denim might not cut it here.
In the kitchen is head chef slash chief-skewerer, Luca Guiotto (ex-A Tavola). He’s worked together with restaurateur Justin North to create the pinchos menu of our dreams... and our retro past.
Because when the manchego pinchos arrive, a sizeable chunk of the nutty sheep’s milk cheese skewered on the end—I can’t help but think of that beloved, 1960s canape, "cheese and pineapple on a stick". But that’s where the resemblance ends. No Coon and canned pineapple here—just a decent cube of good manchego at the tip, a fold of prosciutto in the middle, and a green picholine olive at the end. Yellow, red and green, it’s a traffic-light skewer of creamy, salty and sour flavours.
The bright colours continue on the broad bean croute (a fancy word for toast, rhymes with “glute”). An oval of toasted bread is topped with vivid green crushed broad beans, with an added chilli and lemon kick. The best bit is picking off the cute-as-a-button mini-discs of bocconcini with the skewer.
The "soused" (it means pickled) sardine tartine is more tartine than sardine, but all is forgiven with the octopus and chorizo pinchos: the sausage is dense and meaty yet refined, and smokily good with the grilled baby octopus.
However, the winning pincho goes to the deep-fried cheese. No jokes my friend, just a casual ball of fried goat’s milk chevre, drizzled with a fragrant lavender honey. It see-saws between savoury and sweet, crunchy and curd-y, but there’s no denying that it is very delicious.
If you’re after a more substantial meal, there’s a full food menu to share. Taking cues from the flavours of the Mediterranean, the menu is seafood-heavy, with oysters by the piece, three fish dishes, and the option to add spanner crab to the zucchini gnocchetti.
But we’re pretty set on our mini-meals, and even more in love with the mini-pours of wine. Head sommelier Shun Eto cuts a charismatic presence on the floor, sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of vino, helpfully poured into quartinos, baby-sized carafes. At 250 millilitres, it means there’s more to love than in a single wine glass, but without the commitment to a full bottle.
So there you go, Pyrmont. You don’t need city-ways over the Pyrmont Bridge in search for a classy night-time haunt—a nibble here, a plate of food there, and wine, wine for all! The wool’s been pulled over your eyes for far too long. You just need to head to that old wool shed to find what you’ve been waiting for.
While you're here, check out Sydney's best pasta dishes.
Image credit: Alana Dimou.