Food News

Now open: Cantonese restaurant Stanley, the latest addition to Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves

Chef Louis Tikaram heads up the two-storey waterfront eatery where the menu pays homage to dishes cooked by his grandmother.
Chef Louis Tikaram.

Chef Louis Tikaram.

Kara Rosenlund

Tsingtao-soaked late nights at Sydney’s Golden Century. A great-grandfather who opened one of the first Chinese restaurants in Suva. And memories of a grandmother would steam rock cod, freshly caught from the waters off south-east Fijian village Lami, with ginger, shallots and soy sauce.

After five years leading the kitchen at Los Angeles’ EP & LP, it’s no wonder chef Louis Tikaram feels at home at Stanley, the newly opened Cantonese restaurant in Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves.

“Cantonese is a cuisine I’ve always felt comfortable with. It’s the food I like to eat the most,” he says.

As you’d expect from a restaurant that namechecks Hong Kong’s Stanley Bay, seafood receives top billing: steamed Hervey Bay scallops; Moreton Bay bugs, plucked live from the tank and wok-tossed with house-made XO sauce; and that nostalgic steamed fish dish with Rocky Point grouper.

For Tikaram, it’s that common-sense approach to matching the classics with prime local seafood that gives Australian-Cantonese restaurants such a stellar reputation. “When I talk to chefs in Hong Kong, they think some of the best Cantonese food is in Australia. It really comes down to the quality and freshness of seafood,” says Tikaram. “When it’s caught in the cleanest waters of the world, you’re 80 per cent there.”

Clockwise from top left: Cantonese roast duck and plum sauce; steamed chives, fried garlic and sweet soy; free-range crisp pork belly, English mustard; steamed whole Rocky Point grouper with black bean and chilli; “Buddhist mapo tofu” of zucchini, silken tofy and fermented chilli.

Back on land, other menu items speak to the influence of his late grandmother: free-range Shandong chicken, turned out in the kitchen’s dedicated Chinese barbecue section, a stir-fry of pork mince and green beans, and a silken mapo tofu. “All of these dishes she would make regularly at home in her kitchen in Lami, so it’s very special to now be making them in the kitchen at Stanley,” says Tikaram.

The wine list by sommelier Thibaud Cregut (formerly of Nel in Sydney) features some 400 wines, and Fellow Interiors have kitted out the heritage space with rattan and bamboo features on the ground floor, moody walnut-timber touches on the upper level, and antique pieces from Europe and Hong Kong throughout. And it’s big. Two-storey-space-for-220-diners big.

Might its size be the reason behind the month-long delay in opening Stanley? Tikaram says the October launch was only ever a “holding date”. “As with all good projects, things can take a little longer than expected,” he says. “The response from the public since opening last week has been incredible, and we look forward to welcoming many more diners to Stanley.”

Stanley, 5 Boundary St, Brisbane, Qld 4000

Ph: (07) 3558 9418

Open Mon–Thu noon–3pm and 5.30pm–10pm, Fri–Sun noon–10pm

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