Dining: Taste of class meets a touch of quirk

“This is no ordinary hotel. It’s been transformed from head to toe and is very stylish indeed,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON

QT Hotel (formally Rydges Lakeside) describes itself as offering an eclectic mix of design and art; style and luxury; a touch of quirk.

It’s true. I’ve checked it out. This is no ordinary hotel. It’s been transformed from head to toe – lobby, restaurant, bar and rooms – and is very stylish indeed.

Each of the five designer hotels in the family has its own distinct personality. QT Port Douglas, for example, is themed Mad Men-meets-the-Hamptons and QT Gold Coast is a mix of nostalgic surfer chic meets Miami swim catwalk. And QT Canberra? You guessed it … Australian politics and all that entails. I’ll say no more ‘cause I don’t want to spoil the fun for when you visit.

“CityNews” was invited as a guest to a media dinner so we could get the full experience, including the food offerings of the Capitol Bar & Grill.

QT Hotel is bold enough to call this a “concept restaurant” and the menu has been designed by chef Robert Marchetti, who has been cooking since he was 14. He’s been in the kitchen in big-name restaurants and is now QT Hotel’s creative food director working his Italian magic on many dishes.

I’ve declared I was a guest, but can put my hand on my heart and declare that the food is damn delicious.

The bistro menu is extensive and if you love to share, which I do, then you’ll love the seasonal antipasto (small $19, medium $26 and large $33). It was sensational.

The main course pasta line-up includes a spanner crab, garlic, brandy and tomato passata baked in a paper bag ($37) and a saffron risotto with seafood and finished off with a dash of Pernod ($39). The grill department includes a grain-fed rib eye on the bone (100 per cent Black Angus) for two ($78) and a mixed grill with garlic bone marrow ($38). Fish options feature baked, whole, line-caught rock flathead (market price) and from the farm is chicken and quail and the menu proudly presents some classics such as meat loaf, osso buco (which Italians do so well) and veal chops.

If I was forced to pick a favourite from the feast presented to us, it would have to be the Mac n Cheese, with black truffle, white parsley, and a cheese sauce to die for, including Reggiano, Asiago, Taleggio and Gruyere. A moment on the lips and a lifetime on the hips, but did I care? No, I did not.

The Pollies Pie was a close second – dry-aged beef, braised in Italian wine, tiny champignons, a pea and mint mash floater and a superb wine gravy ($32).

After dinner we all tumbled into Lucky’s, the hotel’s prohibition-style bar.

QT Hotel. It’s worth checking out.

QT Hotel, 1 London Circuit, Civic. Call 6247 6244.


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