The whole package – ARC Dining and Wine Bar opens at Howard Smith Wharves
An otherworldly dining experience is comprised of a collection of immaculate details. From the colours on the plate to the aesthetic touches of the venue itself, it’s the combination of the little things that make a difference. ARC Dining and Wine Bar is the bracing new addition to the thriving Howard Smith Wharves precinct, an establishment bringing together all the essential ingredients needed for a top-flight drinking and dining destination. An award-winning chef and sommelier tandem, a colourful and contemporary interior aesthetic too stunning to capture on Instagram and some of the best views in Brisbane is a bona fide recipe for success, but don’t take our word for it – ARC Dining and Wine Bar is a lovingly realised spot that demands that you experience it personally.
In less than six months of existence, the Howard Smith Wharves precinct has irrevocably changed Brisbane’s dining scene. The tail end of 2018 saw the area unveil its first wave of openings (Felons Brewing Co., Mr Percival’s and Greca) but the precinct shows no signs of stopping. After a few months of anticipation, ARC Dining and Wine Bar has officially opened to the public. A restaurant that is both of the moment and timeless, its cutting-edge fare and sublime 400-strong wine list is the product of one of Brisbane’s most highly regarded hospitality pairings. Queensland-born chef on the rise Alanna Sapwell (formerly head chef of Sydney’s Saint Peter) has returned north to helm the new enterprise, while 2018’s Judy Hirst Award-winning sommelier Ian Trinkle has moved from Aria Brisbane to curate ARC’s diverse wines from Australia and abroad.
As its name suggests, ARC Dining and Wine Bar is a dual-purpose venue that caters to sit-down dining experiences and more casual riverside noshing. On either side of a central gathering area sits two portions – the wine bar and kitchen, and the immaculate glasshouse-style dining space. The 140-seat Wine Bar exists predominantly on the overwater deck, with a small batch of stools situated at the pink-marble bar counter in the thick of the action inside. Across the courtyard sits the 100-seat dining space, which has been lovingly and lavishly decorated by accomplished interior designer Anna Spiro and her team. Favouring eye-catching fabrics and colour juxtapositions, the dining room has been adorned with an eclectic mix of furniture and textiles. One could spend an entire meal taking in the finer details, such as the custom-panelled cabinetry with pink-marble tops, the vintage black-marble table, handpicked artwork and objects, yellow arc-backed Daniel-Emma chairs, upholstered dining chairs from Jardan, the patterned sofa from Parker & Jules, Le Corbusier wall lights and a large fig tree in the centre of the room. But what we think will really catch the eye is the view – floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the Brisbane River towards the Story Bridge and the twinkling lights of The City beyond.
The food and drink
Stepping away from Saint Peter’s fish-centric offering, Alanna Sapwell has broadened her repertoire and adopted a top-to-tail approach, taking in the best ethically raised and seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers. Alanna has prepared two distinct menus (both emphasising lightness and freshness) for both of ARC’s segments, starting with a menu of unusual-yet-enticing small-plates for the bar crowd. Oysters, barbecued squid, cobia sashimi, pork terrines, vinegar and salt bush pigs ears, express pasta dishes, and lavender and lamb-fat caramels are just some of the intriguing options available. The main dining menu expands upon Alanna’s savvy experimentation with punchy mains including Spanish mackerel with zucchini, chilli and native ginger, crab pasta with periwinkle and garden gremolata, pork neck with mead and caramelised witlof, beeswax creamed leeks, and house cake with prickly pear and finger-lime sprinkles. Ian has curated a sensational 400-strong list of wines, flush with natural and biodynamic drops made using minimal-intervention processes by artisanal producers embracing organic practices. Rounding out the drinks menu is a selection of eight cocktails, top-shelf liquors and craft beers.
ARC Dining and Wine Bar is now open to the public. For booking details and opening hours, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.