What Howard Smith Wharves needs, Howard Smith Wharves gets. Every time you turn around at this buzzy riverside precinct something new and different has opened, making it just that little bit more of a self-contained, one-stop experience.
Then the precinct needed a hotel, so The Fantauzzo opened in March. Then it needed a casual dining option, and up popped a Betty’s Burgers. The way Howard Smith Wharves’ director of culinary David Finlayson tells it, the opening of Goodtimes Gelateria was only a matter of time.
“We definitely needed it,” he says. “We do maybe 20 events a week. With the event packages, we sometimes have gelato stalls. We had to get other operators in, but now we’ve opened our own and have something that fits in with the ethos of the rest of the precinct.”
The gelato shop was unveiled last week in an eye-popping George Livissianis-designed space underneath The Fantauzzo. A pozetti counter rendered in pink subway tiles is surrounded by shelves stacked with brightly coloured produce, and the back wall is decorated with fun, cartoonish graphics. It’s a fit-out intended to be timeless and to appeal to both adults and kids, Finlayson says.
The shop’s 22 flavours include classics such as vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel alongside more specialised creations such as baked apple pie, and brown butter with caramelised popcorn. There are also six regular sorbet flavours, including watermelon, mandarin and lemon.
On any given weekend Howard Smith Wharves heaves with people – it would be easy to just phone this in and make bank. But Finlayson says the team took its time with Goodtimes to source authentic equipment from Italy.
“It’s hard to do it properly,” he says. “We’ve invested heavily in equipment so we can do our own hazelnut paste and our own pistachio paste. We work really hard with our suppliers who go to the local farmers for the produce.
“There’s no flavouring, no preservatives, no fake nut paste … [the] milk is [from] Maleny [Dairies]. The mint and lemongrass are sourced fresh.”
Helping crack the formula is award-winning pastry chef Rhian Shellshear, who’s done time at Gelato Messina, Quay and Adriano Zumbo in Sydney, and Bhoga and Upper House in Sweden. He has also represented Australia at Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, the celebrated biennial international pastry contest.
“We’ve been tasting gelato for months,” Finlayson says. “We’d just go back and forth: too much chocolate, not enough vanilla, too much sugar, not enough sugar. It’s not just a partnership between myself and Rhian, but with a lot of the other head chefs [in the precinct] as well.”
Finlayson reckons Goodtimes Gelateria won’t be the final opening for Howard Smith Wharves. “There’ll be four or five other things opening in the future,” he says. “This precinct tells you what it needs.”
5 Boundary Street, Brisbane