Remember the old Gowings Department store in Sydney? And their catchphrase, ‘GONE TO GOWINGS’ ? It was the place to go for rural chaps in town for the Easter Show.

Sadly, the store closed a good while back, much to my disappointment. I loved the eccentricity of the place. Mind you, I took a teenage visitor from NZ there in the late 90s 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.

Gowings Department Store

Anyway, 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 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. We did find the lifts eventually.

My partner Rob and I booked for dinner earlier in the day, and 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 been virtually a knock-out, tempting as the idea was.

Interior of Gowings Bar and Grill

We skipped starters at dinner having over-indulged at lunch. However here is what we could have had;


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)

Seafood main course at Gowings Bar and Grill.

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.

The perfect dessert at Gowings Bar & Grill

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.

Gowings store in Sydney 1960s
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