The hotel lobby has a chic vintage look, no chrome, nor metres of white marble in sight – instead there is a jewel-like colour, warm wood and 50’s6-’s Italian style furniture scattered about. Walking through the lobby and up a small flight of stairs turn right – and you’re at Gowings Bar and Grill.
We were greeted by warm, professional front of house staff who showed us to a table, gave us the very extensive (bar and grill) style menu. It’s broken up in sections – wood fired oven, fish and meat from the grill, crustaceans molluscs and raw fish plus a whole lot of obvious hotel restaurant type dishes. One dish that sounded interesting was crispy, organic Berkshire pork with marinated cumquats, mint ($46) (Friday lunch only). Will return to try this dish.
Our knowledgable waitperson Alexandria suggested a glass of champagne to start so we went with Paul Bara from Bouzy just to the east of Epernay. Champagne Paul Bara uses only their own estate grown fruit from 100% Grand Cru rated vineyards to craft its small range of champagnes…… this was very good.
To eat – we shared the hot spanner crab cakes ($19), full of tasty crab meat that was moist and well seasoned with a fine dusting of crumbs and perfectly fried to a golden crunch. But to describe them in the menu as Hot – they were anything but. For mains we had, from the grill, yellow fin tuna rubbed in fennel seeds, coriander seeds and rosemary with a chopped salad of grape tomatoes ($34). The tuna was sliced far too thin to be put on a grill and in the menu it was described as cooked pink. It was not pink at all – it was overcooked, dry and lacked in any flavour other than the occasional fennel seed – the chopped grape tomato salad was made fresh with a slight sweet dressing and young coriander herbs.
Also we chose the mushroom shortcrust tart ($ 27) – wild and cultivated mushrooms, wet mascarpone polenta, and mushroom jus. A perfect combination – the earthiness of the mushrooms with the polenta – with just a hint of fresh thyme coming through. A well balanced dish if a little uninspiring.
We choose the iceberg salad – cut into two pieces of half an iceberg lettuce with fine strips of red peppers, Ortiz anchovies and seeded mustard dressing. This dish worked – especially the saltiness of the anchovies against the freshness and crunch of the iceberg. We tried a Crawford River Cabernet Merlot – we always enjoy the wines from this winery near the Vic/SA border.
The verdict – The Q T Hotel lobby looked great! The Gowings Bar and Grill comes with the food pedigree of Robert Marchetti (ex partner in Icebergs) as Creative Food Director. The presentation of the food was basic and the overview of the cooking – it was inconsistent. The kitchen will need to try a lot harder to make this a special food destination, at the moment it is not.
Gowings Bar and Grill
49 Market St
Sydney CBD NSW 2000
sydneycool rating ♥