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Dress: Alannah Hill

'Alannah Hill' isn't usually a store I frequent (although everything is very pretty) but I have fallen madly in love with this dress. The colour is bold and the print is edgy and different. It isn't over the top girly and is extremely sophisticated. The length is lovely and the half peplum is unusual and different. 

Last night JE and I went to European-esque brasserie 'Gowings Bar and Grill' in the new Q1 Hotel which is located in the old Gowings building on the corner of George and Market Streets in the CBD. They have been open less than a week and only had their launch last week. I love how they have kept 'Gowings' in the name of the restaurant. As well as the restaurant they have the 'Guild Lounge' which is a cocktail bar and 'Parlour Lane Roasters' which is a cafe located on the ground floor. 

You know you are in for a great experience from the very beginning when you get to the entrance of the hotel and are greeted by several people dressed in character as though they have stepped out of the '50s. From the get go the staff were extremely attentive. A man dressed in a bowler hat escorted us past the downstairs bar (and '50s outfits in cabinets)to the entrance of the lift where another man ushered us into the lift and rode with us up to the restaurant. 

When we arrived at the level he advised us that it was just up the stairs, as did the massive neon sign on the wall which read 'Gowings Bar and Grill' with a massive arrow pointing upwards. He told us to take our time and stroll around the mezzanine level before we went upstairs. This level which I think later at night (it was only 7pm) would be bustling with people sipping cocktails was beautiful. An eclectic mix of retro '50s lounges, seats, tables, lampshades was accompanied by modern finishes. The side wall is made up of old suitcases, draws, televisions and original plans and prints apparently all sourced from the original site.

After several minutes of stepping back in time we thought we should head upstairs. We were greeted by several lovely waitresses dressed impeccably in black evening gowns. One showed us to our table. As we had an early booking we were amongst the first ones there but by the time we were leaving it was almost full. 

A lovely gentleman dressed in a tailored suit greeted us, took my coat (and gave me a coat number for the cloak room) and showed us the menu. On the way to our table we passed the extensive two-level wine cellar and the open kitchen where even the chefs were in character with their '50s style chef hats! 

He explained that we could purchase the house white, red and sparkling by the glass and gave us the origin of the wines. Everything else was by the bottle. We ordered our wines and were left to examine the extensive menu. When he returned with our wine, he proceeded to explain each section on the menu and told us about the specials. We were then left to decide. 

Glass of house red and house white $8 each

It was a fairly hard decision as everything sounded great. The entree options comprised of raw seafood, entree salads, soup of the moment, starters and main salads. This was already overwhelming! Then there were birds from the wood rotisserie, wood fired oven, fish steaks from the grill, beef steaks from the grill, other dishes, a sandwich and accompaniments. You couldn't go past the extensive dessert menu, which included sweets, little sweets, cheese and cheese dishes! 

After our order was taken a lady delivered us bread and butter but, however, neglected to give us bread and butter plates! The white and brown sourdough rolls were wrapped in a serviette and when you uncovered them they were still steaming and the aroma was wonderful! The butter was also real, soft, salty butter! The bread looked too good to wait to get someones attention about plates so our bread was eaten without them! When the waiter saw that we had no plates he had words with the waitress! 

We finally decided on the 'created detox organic vegetable salad' for our entree. It was extremely light and crisp. You could almost smell the freshness! There was great texture from the vegetables, the soft beetroot and the crunchy chickpeas.

Detox Salad $17

If mussels are on the menu JE can never resist so for her main she had 'steamed Kinkawooka mussels' which came with fries. Originally she was nervous that mussels wouldn't fill her up however received a big pot of over twenty five mussels and was extremely satisfied! I had the 'fish of the day' which was mahi mahi, rubbed in fennel seeds, coriander and rosemary and had a side accompaniment of a tomato salad. I was advised when I ordered the fish of what this week's market price was which I liked, as sometimes you feel uncomfortable asking. I was also advised that it was only available medium. I did enjoy the dish however my fish was a little overcooked and dry. It was not tender in the middle. 

Top: Complimentary Bread
Bottom Right: Mussels $38

Mahi Mahi Steak Fillet MP $34

What sides to order was a tough decision as so many sounded delicious. I so wanted to get the 'grilled red onion rings' but opted for the 'sautéed mixed mushrooms steamed in a bag'. They came to the table sealed in a bag and were cut open when placed down on the table. They were a garlicky goodness! 

Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms $10
Fries included with mussels

We were way too full to even consider the dessert menu. Maybe next time? Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at 'Gowings Bar and Grill' and it truly was an experience. It was great to be able to step inside and instantly feel like you have been transported somewhere else. I think this quirky hotel and restaurant is exactly what Sydney needed. I would dine there again just for the decor! I wish I had taken more time to absorb all it had to offer! As they describe themselves Q1 is 'a playground for those who love art, design, fashion, music and food'. 

Gowings Bar and Grill
49 Market Street 
Sydney NSW 2000

Overall: 8/10
Ambiance: 9.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Drink: 8/10

Gowings Bar & Grill (opens Sept) on Urbanspoon

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