Eat & Drink

QT Newcastle

It's official! QT Newcastle is opening on June 9

The countdown has officially begun....

Be sure to mark June 9 in your diary as a date to remember! Why? It's the official opening date of the highly anticipated and long awaited QT Newcastle!

It was 2017 when we first heard the art and design focused hotel brand QT, would be moving into the heritage-listed David Jones building, bringing with it a new and exciting future for the Newcastle Mall and city centre. Whilst the wait has been a long one, it has been absolutely worth every minute. 

On our most recent behind-the-scenes visit we were literally over the moon (you’ll get what we mean when you visit) as to what has transpired within one of Newcastle’s most iconic and beautiful buildings.

We also had the opportunity to speak with Executive Chef, Massimo Speroni who is spearheading QT Newcastle’s modern Australian Bar and Grill, Jana.

Entering through the lobby area, the transformation can only be described as breath-taking with the floor to ceiling glass windows creating a dramatic yet welcoming space. Moving into Jana's dining area, the exquisitely styled 75-seater restaurant offers guests a variety of relaxed dining options from alfresco through to to private dining.  

Taking some time out from the kitchen Massimo shared with us the concept for Jana, the importance of working with local producers and just what has brought a Michelin star chef to Newcastle.

qt newcastle massimo

Prior to taking on the Executive Chef role at QT Newcastle, had you spent much time in the Newcastle and the Hunter region? 

I’ve always enjoyed the Hunter Valley region and have had the opportunity to spend some time in the community after moving in January to join the QT family. I’ve used the last few months to travel, exploring wineries, farms and producers to gather inspiration for the menu. 

qt newcastle jana

You have worked for some incredible restaurants throughout your career (1 Michelin-starred restaurant Café le Paillotes in Pescara, 2 Michelin-starred restaurant San Domenico in Imola, Italy and more recently the multi-award winning Bacchus in Brisbane) what drew you to this particular role with QT Newcastle? 

After leaving Bacchus in July I returned home to Italy to travel with my family. While away QT Hotels reached out to tell me about their exciting new project in Newcastle. I had fond memories of the Hunter Valley region from my past travels. Knowing the region, the unique offering and the magnificent produce I gladly accepted the challenge. 

For locals the launch of QT Newcastle is incredibly exciting, what type of dining experience can we expect from the Signature Bar & Grill, Jana.   

Jana is modern Australian cuisine, with a hint of my Italian heritage. My Chef de Cuisine, Manuele Erriu is also Italian so you can see that influence filtering through the dishes. We love to use classic techniques and flavours mixed with innovative new twists so guests will experience dishes they’ve never tasted before. 

The restaurant prides itself on friendly service. When we designed the look and feel, we wanted guests to feel comfortable and have a great time with a touch of friendliness and warmth that Newcastle is so well known for. 

qt newcastle jana restaurant

Without giving everything away, can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect to see on the menu? Perhaps a few of the signature dishes?

The menu showcases Australian products, many of which are sourced from right here in the Hunter Valley region. Though the menu will change seasonally, we’ll always have a selection of rock and Pacific oysters, scampi roe and Italian caviar.

One of my favourite entrees is the signature dish called “The Beetroot”, seasoned with Pukara extra virgin olive oil, spiced beetroot vinegar, served with house made cannolo with goat curd. 

A stand out main dish is “The Kingfish”, a dish that I hope will please many customers. We use the Cleansease Hiramasa Yellow Tail Kingfish from South Australia, cooked sous vide, served with corn textures and sour cream. 

qt newcastle jana restaurant

As you were designing the menu, are you able to provide some insights around how approached this? Particularly in relation to deciding on sourcing products/produce, did you look to the local area for inspiration?

When designing a menu, the first rule to follow is to move with the season. We’ve tried to use as many local products from the Hunter Valley region as we can to celebrate the phenomenal producers and farmers within our own community. 

We’ve also spent a lot of time researching unknown or underrated products you won’t find in any other menus to give guests something entirely new to try. We wanted the menu to feature comfortable, yet elevated dishes inspired by the region with a hint of my Italian heritage.