Sunday, 3 June 2012

McNevins Gunyah Restaurant, Warwick, Queensland.

07-4661 5588
We had heard rumours about how good the food was at the Gunyah restaurant at the McNevin’s motel in Warwick and decided now was the time (no kids for the evening) to investigate.  As soon as we walked in the door we felt the warmth of the fire place and the atmosphere provided by the live music playing in the back ground.  Our hostess led us to the bar and lounge area where we were made comfortable and given food and wine menus to browse as we ordered drinks.

The décor is absolutely 80’s retro with lots of exposed brick work, leadlight windows and timber highlighting the subtle patterned wall paper.  The bar is padded with leather and framed with hanging glasses.  The key feature in the bar area is an attractive circular glass and enamelled fireplace.  The whole dining room, bar and lounge areas are spotless, bright and fresh.   We immediately felt at home. 

While we sat and enjoyed the drinks around the fireplace, the guitarist played soft sixties and seventies numbers that added to the retro feel of the night.  I found out from our hostess that Grant Tilbrook was the resident musician and a big part of the Southern Downs Jazz Community.   The Gunyah have regular jazz evenings with menus for the night specially designed by Chef Grant Calvert. 

Once we were ready, our hostess took our order and led us to our table.  They have a really nice wine list and I’m pleased to say a very good selection of beers all at $6 each, which is quite reasonable considering most good restaurant are charging around $10 for a beer now days.

Our entrees arrived in good time and we decided to share them both.  Kelly ordered the tea smoked duck (I knew she would) and I ordered the pumpkin and ricotta tortellini with pine nuts and sage butter sauce.  Now, if you’ve read my article on duck you will know that I’m not a big fan, but this duck was different and quite delicious.  The outside was chargrilled and really smoky, while the inside was juicy and tender not unlike lamb.  Kelly absolutely loved it and I am very impressed with the technique, presentation and flavour (not bad for someone who doesn’t like duck).   The tortellini was to die for.  The silky pasta with the rich nutty sauce came together perfectly.  As an entrée, it did its job stimulating our appetites completely.  I could have eaten this dish until it came out of my ears.  I was seriously tempted to lick the plate.  Wow.

Like all well run restaurants, the service was timed perfectly to allow us just enough time to enjoy a drink, each other’s company and soak up the atmosphere between courses.  Grant Tilbrook had now taken up the tenor ukulele and was singing along beautifully as he demonstrated what wonderful sounds he could create with this unusual instrument.  Most of the patrons were captivated and were really enjoying themselves. We certainly were.
The main courses we ordered was roasted lamb rack with semi dried tomato cous cous, tzatziki, steamed greens and balsamic glaze for Kelly, and Gremolata crusted Barramundi with sautéed kipfler potato, bean and almond salad with zingy lemon syrup for me.

As you would expect from such an experienced chef, the lamb and the barramundi were cooked perfectly.  The genius of the dishes is the remarkable combination of flavours that brought out the true character of the hero of each dish.  The cous cous and asparagus with the tender lamb was a beautiful marriage of textures, and the explosively tangy lemon sauce balanced out and carried aloft the fresh flavour of the fish with the saltiness of the potato and salad.  The execution and presentation of these dishes is first class and because of this we know that Chef Grant Calvert is at the top of his game.

The portions are quite generous and we took some time to relax before we were ready for dessert.  That’s just fine at the Gunyah because the culture of the venue is to stay as long as you like and relax.  Guests come to the Gunyah to just have a drink in the lounge and enjoy the music.  It’s this no rush relaxed atmosphere that has developed a regular clientele who appreciate such an enriching and enjoyable experience.
Chef Grant makes all of the desserts himself and one of his masterpieces is a study in chocolate caramel indulgence.   The dark chocolate and salted caramel tart with Chantilly cream and berry coulis is so rich and delicious that I had a hard time getting Kelly to give me a taste.  It’s a chocoholics dream.  It tasted positively wicked, one spoonful and I felt my bum get bigger.  Kelly was in heaven, she had that look on her face that could only be love.  The only cure was to try the coffee cheese cake, also with Chantilly cream and berry coulis.  That didn’t help because we have never tasted such a silky smooth full flavoured cheese cake, ever.  The crust just melted as the rich caked popped your eyes and put a huge smile on your dial. 

We both look at each other and we both had the same questions on our lips.  Does Warwick know what an amazing chef they have here?  Do they know what a brilliant restaurant this is?  We feel like we have discovered a hidden treasure.  This was an unbelievable meal and wonderful experience, and the bill only came to $130 including drinks, which is such good value.
It will be no surprise to you to read that we are talking about going back to the Gunyah very soon to enjoy the food, the atmosphere and the music.  The jazz afternoons with a $10 cover charge are definitely on our list, as is the “Jumpers and Jazz in July” concert with the ‘Clem Four’ which is on the 28th July from 6pm at only $59 per person with a special menu for the day.  If you can make it to Warwick for the winter festival, be sure to put the Gunyah Restaurant on your list of places to visit.  I’ve included the links here and on my links page to make it easier for you to research.  Bon Appetit.


  1. My wife Helen read the review and was so impressed with it , she has decided to book there for her Birthdday comming up soon. After reading your review , I have to say I too am looking foward to the dining experience. thanks. James

  2. mmmmm I have lived here in Warwick for just over 2 years and didn't know this place existed. Thanx guys for the great info, might drag the nose bag and "she who must be obeyed' out for a feed and a drink.

  3. I have worked for Mc Nevins on and off now for a few years as a second chef and have learnt so much and have a broad mind for flovour and the love of making a picture perfect meals is such an enjoyment gives me such pride and something proud to show off and boast about for us that work there and cook for those who appreciate fine dinning it such a pleasure to be reviewed and have such a possitive one at that so as a cook and employee i say thank you to my employer for the oppotunity to be part of something as remarkable as this .....2nd cook dale..w

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