Rolling Out the Red Carpet In Newcastle

Star attraction. A luxe new drinking and dining destination has checked into the city with the opening of QT Newcastle.

In the East End, you’ll find a little quirk here and a little cool there, some charm around the corner and a bit of sophistication behind that door. QT Newcastle has brought together all those elements and added its signature, cutting-edge flair with the opening of its restaurant and rooftop bar on Hunter Street.

Suitably welcoming and elegant, the five-star hotel’s principal restaurant, Jana, is helmed by A-list chef Massimo Speroni. Speroni’s notable career includes time at Michelin-starred restaurants San Domenico and Café Les Paillotes in Italy, and most recently at Brisbane’s award-winning Bacchus.

Plates are imaginative, modern Australian in style, and throw a spotlight on local provenance. The premium steak selection, sourced only from within New South Wales, is a highlight, along with lamb raised 40 minutes away at Little Hill Farm and extra virgin olive oil from Pukara Estate, with the olives grown and processed 90 minutes inland. The Hunter Valley’s family-owned Tyrrell’s is the hotel’s wine partner.

QT Newcastle general manager Michael Stamboulidis said Speroni is cooking up a unique dining experience by using remarkable produce to create a distinctive depth of flavour.


QT Newcastle general manager Michael Stamboulidis said Speroni is cooking up a unique dining experience by using remarkable produce to create a distinctive depth of flavour.

“I have worked with many great chefs in my time, with Massimo one of the most creative, balanced and educated I have ever met,” he said. “Sitting through many tastings and understanding the level of cooking detail behind a jus and various cooking techniques, knowing the provenance and locality – this is the most exciting element.”

For occasions that call for revelry, head to the ninth floor and step out at the Rooftop at QT to indulge in sky-high drinks or an open-air bite with vistas across the harbour. The comprehensive drinks list includes sake, umeshu and Newcastle’s largest selection of Japanese whisky, as well as local wines and inventive cocktails. Food is izakaya-style, with the kitchen preparing plates of sashimi, yakitori and robata skewers.

Stamboulidis said QT has focused on producing a refined, lively and inviting atmosphere in the bar.


“Expect a vibe,” he said. “The view takes my breath away. The artwork on the ceiling and the walls, and the unique bathrooms – yes, bathroom artwork – is stunning. The real fun will be with the cocktails and food, [think] a classic approach with a twist and plenty of flavour.”

While the hotel, bar and restaurant are all new, many Novocastrians will be familiar with the iconic site they call home. The historic building recently housed David Jones, and before that, department store Scott’s Ltd. QT’s flagship hotel in Sydney is located above the famous Gowings building, and Stamboulidis said QT Newcastle continues the boutique hotels’ close ties to fashion.

“You could say the building had been secretly calling for years, with QT being the only fitting brand [to move in]. We are very lucky to have an ambitious and driven owner, Sam, from Iris Capital. He has kept the facade the way it stood over 112 years ago, restoring archways and windows to keep QT Newcastle part of the local community for many years to come.”

Design architect Nic Graham created the hotel’s striking interior under the theme of ‘new beginnings’, incorporating key elements that give a stylish nod to Newcastle’s rich history.

“He had this vision and clear narrative from when he was first brought into the project, Stamboulidis said. “The theme of renewal carries gravity, with lunar influences throughout the guest rooms and suites. The city’s history of coal is seen in the caged metal wardrobe, rust red minibar and furniture casters, reminiscent of refineries.”

Stamboulidis said he’s incredibly proud to be working with QT Newcastle, and is looking forward to offering locals and travelling guests a world-class experience.

“I love great food, great wine and cocktails, and great service,” he said. When I come over the hill in the morning on my way to work, I always remind myself that I get to be part of something unique and that I will make someone’s day today.” ­