Say Buongiorno! Sean Connolly takes on QT’s Gowings with Italian Flair

When you look around a restaurant and come to the conclusion that it is decidedly more stylish than how you may have dressed, it’s hat’s off to the designers. Not even my Ted Baker floral lined teal winter coat can come close to the beauty which is before us thanks to a renovation of bar, restaurant and an incoming new chef, Sean Connolly.

Let’s start with the bar which previously had some awkward seating areas. Say Buongiorno to high chairs, sexy long banquets and new intimate padded booths. The main restaurant is nothing short of wow! Part of the reason for this is the stunning light fittings. It’s art-meets-sculpture and fashion as swathes of flowery fabrics are moulded into folds radiating soft rainbows of colours. The dining room is all grown up, with white tablecloths, candles, tapestry cushions and luxurious tan leather chairs. The pass has been lowered and opened up, along with a new chef’s table straddling kitchen to dining room giving groups the best seat in the house (which we sat at!).

Chefs Table – watch all the action in the kitchen

We start with a glass of Perrier Joulet served in a classic Belle Epoque flower engraved glasses. There is energy in this room, it feels good. The service is warm, knowledgeable and their team always bring sassiness. We start with the raw section. A golden sphere of crispbread hides a round of raw diced beef tossed with anchovy essence and Calabrian chilli which is cracked for us like the top of a creme brulee!

Hiramasa Kingfish

Generous slices of Hiramasa Kingfish lies on a doona of rock oyster cream and topped with scatter of puffed grains. Its an explosion of silky, creamy, crunch with a nice balance of acidity from the oil and lemon.

Snack attack! Cauliflower with pickled zucchini

Fun is found in the snack section with deep fried cauliflower pieces adorning a plate of green and white, thanks to pickled zucchini and lemon cream. It is texturally inspiring, as again, Sean nails the perfect bite with complimentary textures and flavours.

The orgy… of mushrooms

Pasta is where they up the ante….with an orgy – YES! and orgy of mushrooms, languishing on soft pillows of gnudi (ricotta gnocchi) it’s easy to share but do you want to? We split a single Skull Island prawn ravioli down the middle and it’s downed in one gulp each.

Glacier 51 Toothfish

There is finesse with the mains, a single fillet of Murray Cod is simplicity, carefully pan fried with a melting round of of salty sea urchin butter dripping over the top. Nowhere to hide and no need to. The Glacier 51 Toothfish is homage to the icy seas; it comes from a clear consomme aqua pazza is dotted with mussels, baby tomatoes and olives.

With QT hitting a decade she’s still got personality in spades, and now Gowings has a whole new look (and chef), Sean Connolly who creates a tight menu with a narrative which oozes his love affair with Italy.

Gowings Bar and Grill, QT Hotel, 1/49 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000
Restaurant Wednesday – Friday: From 12pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday: 3pm till late
Bar Thursday – Friday: From 12pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday: 3pm till late

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


Part theatre, art gallery and fashion studio QT Sydney’s Parlour Lane has more personality than Dame...

- Enter Your Location -
- or -