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The transformation is a success, the food is excellent and the service is genuinely friendly and knowledgeable.

Whether you know that little spot behind the El Alamein Fountain as Potts Point or Elizabeth Bay, likelihood is you know Gazebo. You may also know that this Sunday drinks staple, tucked underneath apartments of the same name, has had quite the extensive refurb. The result: a sophisticated hotel-style restaurant and bar that locals of both suburbs will find it hard not to fall for.

Owned by the large lifestyle group Keystone, the new and improved Gazebo has well and truly shaken its garishly colourful and quirky character other ‘stone establishments like the Winery in Surry Hills are renowned for. It’s now a chic and elegant, two-part venue divided into a casual outside bar and dining space channelling a touch of West Coast LA, and a curving, low-lit restaurant sporting a water-droplet inspired chandelier and a grand piano, to name just a couple of art deco vibes this once hotel for the ‘60s international in-crowd would be proud of.

Manager Michael Gavaghan tells us Gazebo was “long overdue” some love, especially with the likes of The Apollo and Monopole upping the ante mere moments away, and with a menu designed to share created by ex-Est. head chef Jason Dean on offer, long gone are the days of oversized sausage rolls and double dipping. We began by crunching through some carrot crisps with Chantilly goat's curd and a delicious blast of balsamic ($6) before flipping textures with kingfish in smoked oyster dressing, cured with cucumber and freshened further with apple and lime ($19).

For mains, we devoured the tiger prawns in green chilli, daikon and coconut ($21) before moving onto the spiced lamb ($27) — both cooked by wood oven, by the way — and the duck ($28). The lamb accompanied by butternut, roasted lettuce, black quinoa and parmesan was very nice, especially the black quinoa with its amazing nutty, almost popcorn flavour. The duck, however, clinched the title as best dish, cooked perfectly and dripping with all the flavours — including beetroot, smoked almond and salted honeycomb.

As wine goes, there isn’t a huge selection, but the staff will still happily suggest something to complement your meal, so certainly shout for their recommendations if you want/need. When our bottle of Some Young Punks' Double Love Trouble Nebbiolo arrived ($53), we were glad we did.

Cocktails-wise, pre-meal we tried the house special Chilcano de Pisco of lime, honey, ginger, soda, bitters and Campo de Encanto pisco ($13 and on tap), and the tequila-based Tommy’s Gazebo of Don Julio Blanco with pomegranate, coconut nectar, bitters and lime. Both are sweet and refreshing and just what you fancy if you’re looking to soak up some outside and feel a little fabulous.

And to be honest, while personally I’m a little biased as a pianist myself, if you manage to score yourself a table on a Wednesday or Friday when the grand piano is being played (beautifully, may I add), it’s kinda tricky not to feel a little fabulous in here. The transformation is a success, the food is excellent and the service is genuinely friendly and knowledgeable. Nicely done, indeed.

Published on October 30, 2014 by Jack Arthur Smith

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