Greca at Brisbane's Howard Smith Wharves is finally open

Jonathan Bathelmess's new restaurant within Brisbane's Howard Smith Wharves precinct has finally opened, bringing the feel and food of a traditional Greek tavern to this newly restored part of town.

The Howard Smith Wharves have been rejuvenated with the aim of playing a large part in the overhaul of Brisbane's tourism, recreation, dining and lifestyle industries.

The precinct's neglected buildings, sheds and wharf will be transformed into a dining and entertainment precinct that includes a 164 room, 5-star boutique hotel, function spaces for up to 1,000 guests, a craft brewery, and various bars and restaurants.

Greca is the third restaurant to open, following Felons Brewing and Mr Percival’s, which are overseen by the Wahrves' culinary director, David Finlayson, who's previously worked at Tapas Bars (Hong Kong) and two Michelin star Pied à Terre (London) before a six-year stint at The Lucas Group's Chin Chin and Kisumé in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Originally hailing from the Gold Coast, Barthelmess took a hold of the market with two popular restaurants in Sydney, The Apollo and Cho Cho San, as well as an iteration of The Apollo in Japan. Now he's returned to his home state and he's brought a taste of Sydney with him.

The menu is focussed on communal dinind and Mediterranean generosity, with a noticeable abundance of seafood in the form of bowls of pipis, whole prawns sold by weight, and a huge selection of fresh fish that waiters bring to the table, allowing diners to select their produce and give their preference for how they'd like it to be cooked.

The menu also spans braised vegetables and grilled meats, like whole chickens and lamb ribs and skewers.

The Apollo's signature saganaki; taramasalata; and wild weed pie also appear in Brisbane, though the dishes have been made in a “lighter style” to match the waterfront location.

“We’ve spent a lot of time finessing the menu for Greca to bring the best of the Mediterranean to the north,” says Barthelmess.

The 210-seat space sprawls over the warehouse space and out onto the terrace, with a fit-out designed to conjure thoughts of a Mediterranean island village.

Photography: Nikki To.