Some Australian business names are so beloved by the public, they become part of our everyday language.  
Boldness in a person is described as ‘more front than Myer’.  
‘Gone to Gowings’ came from an advertising campaign in the 40s promoting the reputable haberdashery.  

After that, ‘gone to Gowings’ came to mean that someone had suddenly disappeared – similar to ‘doing a Harold Holt’.  Even criminal legend Darcy Dugan scrawled it on his cell wall before he made good on an escape from jail.  


So the #BestFoodieFriends aka #BFFS: renowned photographer Belinda Rolland and I [renée brack] felt it was about time we’d gone to Gowings, too.

Some of the dishes we enjoyed had a 70s vibe so we each chose a favourite song from that era for you to play while you check out what went down at Gowings Bar & Grill


                 ROCK YOUR BABY by George McCrae  1974  #BFF BR                          JUMP INTO THE FIRE by Harry Nilsson  1971 #BFF RB
Gowings dates back to at least 1890 and in its heyday, looked like this…

Wth a sexy New York-styled makeover, it now looks like this!


We kicked off with a couple of glasses of Prosecco Brut Canella.


It took an entire drink to read the menu.  Being so extensive and detailing the nuances of each dish, we decided two entrées would be too predictable for two people so we ordered three.

I’m not keen on fried food but the Hot Spanner Crab Cakes with double smoked bacon, celeriac, hot sauce, aioli, lemon surprised and delighted.  We were very sorry to see the end of that dish. 

To counter our fried fetish, we thought we’d go for the healthy option of the Salt Baked Baby Beetroot Salad with Ashed Chevre – beet juice, goat’s curd, garnet leaf salad, shallots, beet pepper.  But this was one sexy salad with seductive soft cheese that offered a lot more than just health.  Sensational.

I normally steer clear of the daggy prawn cocktail but not this time.  Gowings has reinvented it as the Beer Steamed Prawn Cocktail on an enormous, textured glass serving platter with a rowboat full of cocktail sauce on the side.  Two peeled prawns bowed to the mishmash of cucumber, tiny shrimp prawns and horseradish.

While waiting for our mains to arrive #BFF Belinda enjoyed a Vodka Reviver – a cocktail of Grey Goose Vodka, lemon Solerno, Lillet Blanc, Absinthe. 

The atmosphere around us was friendly and inclusive generating easy conversation with patrons, sharing a beautiful decanted red with sudden friends we may never see again but then again…

Belinda was torn between the popular and highly recommended Fish Pie – then she saw The Wall St Party Pig but upon reading it was for a minimum of 10 people, she thought it might be challenging for her to get through after 3 entrées.  And I wouldn’t be much help as I don’t dine on swine – not due to religious reasons – I don’t fancy the taste and I’ve met a couple of pigs I like very much. 

So Belinda went for the 10 Hour Cooked Moorish Beef Rib with cinnamon, carrots and chickpeas, gremolata and a side of buttered macaroni – another 70s throwback. 

If you like ribs but hate the mess, Gowings counters this by peeling the meat off the bone and artfully placing it back so you have none of the hard work to do.

I went for the Line Caught SA Snapper – pan fired with a classic lemon butter sauce, frisée, mint and shallot salad.  People were looking across with food envy.

It’s hard to believe but we ordered sides of beans and mushrooms while toying with how many desserts we would / could eat.

We backed away from the table for a breather and a belt-loosener then we armed ourselves with spoons and took a few swings at the 70s-inspired crunchy meringue dessert called My Pavlova – a soft and sticky baked meringue with passionfruit sauce, sugar bananas, green coconut flesh, candied coconut and vanilla Chantilly.

And soon that beautiful meringue looked like this.

If you haven’t gone to Gowings, it’s time you did a vanishing act from the daily grind and turned up there for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a couple of quiet ones at the bar. 

It’s a place steeped in history with a big future.

Lada of Gowings

#BFFs give it 8/10

Entrees $20-something
Mains $40-something
1/49 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000

02 8262 0062
breakfast | lunch | dinner

Gowings Bar & Grill is described as a ‘European brasserie food and wine in a hip,
contemporary space with a wood-fired rotisserie and bar.’