Remember the old Gowings Department store in Sydney? Originally It was the place to go for rural chaps in town for the Easter Show. The following image is a self -measuring form, dating from 1910.
The advertising catch-phrase ‘GONE TO GOWINGS‘ became part of the Aussie vernacular, which of course was great for business.
The expression evolved to mean an excuse being absent…..no matter what the occasion!
In 1929 Gowings moved from its original George Street location to a new building on the corner of Market and George Streets.
A journalist had a bit of fun with the store’s slogan in the 1940s, when reporting on a theft;
Sadly, the store closed a good while back, much to my disappointment. I loved the eccentricity of the place. Along with clothing they sold camping goods and novelty items. Mind you, I took a teenage visitor from NZ there in the late 1990s and she was not impressed. She glared at me and said, ‘Why can’t you take me to proper shops, like Aunty Margaret does? Oh dear, what a blunder that was. The Queen Victoria Building was also a big fail. I had to find some of those trendy little fashion shops with blaring music.
GOING BACK TO GOWINGS 😍
The site has been revamped and the building now incorporates the boutique QT Hotel and its Gowings Bar and Grill. I have to say that the lift to restaurant is a bit difficult to find from street level in Market Street (No 49, next door to the State Theatre). I suspect many patrons are guests of the hotel, and enter from the upper levels.
My partner Rob and I ventured in one summer afternoon to book for dinner. While we were there I took the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful rum based cocktail with banana liqueur called Aka-Daka. Because I was a bit weary from shopping it packed quite a punch. Two would have knocked me out, although I was sorely tempted to risk it.
We skipped starters at dinner, having over-indulged at lunch. However here is what we could have had;
ON TO THE MAIN GAME….
It’s rare for Rob and I to order the same dishes, and he almost chose the Minute Steak, but neither of us could pass up a main course of seafood and bacon on a bed of new potatoes ($44) Pricey? Yes, delicious though. The accompanying lemon and dill sauce was great.
We also ordered a side dish of green peas served with fresh and dried ricotta and basil. ($12)
For dessert we wanted something very light, and again both chose the same thing; Orange and Campari granita over coconut vanilla yoghurt. Oh my word, this dish was absolute perfection. ($22) I swear I would go back just for this. Note the vintage serving bowl.
Like many restaurants it can get a bit noisy; definitely not a good choice if you are hoping to enjoy a quiet, romantic meal. To sum up….great fun, attentive but non-intrusive staff, and VERY good food. Above all, it brings back memories of the dear old Gowings store. Note the cardigans on offer for Fathers Day in the following pic.
FOR DETAILS OF A BOOK ON THE HISTORY OF GOWINGS, CLICK HERE.