PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Whatever your memories of the Gowings building, the latest incarnation of Sydney's historical department store will blow your mind. Somehow, the old and new worlds collide in a moodily lit art deco dreamscape now home to the boutique hotel QT Sydney.
The first floor of QT is pocketed with intimate lounge areas decked out with mod-Italian furniture and backlit by vintage films of D-Day parades but the second floor is where the magic happens. Follow the neon-lit Broadway sign and head upstairs to Gowings Bar & Grill where you'll be immediately reassured that, while the wait staff are dressed to the nines, their ethos is good, old-fashioned service.
We start with a basket of fresh artisan bread rolls (on the house), hand dived wild scallops with garlic basil butter and a delightfully zesty detox organic vegetable salad. The menu is broad and driven by the wood-fired oven; selecting just one main each is a challenge. The quail is surprisingly meaty, and the smoked ham and pea stuffing provides layers of homely flavour. The beef bourguignon falls apart at the slightest touch and its sauce is rich and creamy. The men of the table unsurprisingly both settle on rib eye Black Angus steaks, with sides of shoestring fries and Paris mash. Always brutally honest, when I ask for their expert carnivorous verdict – neither look up from their plates – "really, really good" was all I get out of them before their dishes are scraped clean. For dessert, the hot German doughnuts sound too irresistible to leave and our decision pays off – the dough is as light as a feather and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg sugar.
A trip to Gowings is something of an adventure. While the journey no longer ends with a new suit or a rucksack of camping gear, visitors in the 21st century are rewarded with an elegant dinner and a show (of class). Each nook and cranny here tells a story. We recommend you come with plenty of time to spare to explore its hidden treasures.