Saturday, 23 February 2013

Quay - 15 October 2010

Today’s entry is an old one: dinner at Quay back in 2010 (unfortunately as this is an old review, I do not have many notes, everything I write is from memory, so you will have to resort to staring at pieces of art on the plate; I am sure you won’t be disappointed any way!).

Quay needs no introduction. Widely considered the best restaurant in Sydney and one of the top 50 restaurants in the world! The views here are obviously amazing and the food is even better! Great views and great food don’t usually go together, but that is not the case at Quay.

We decided to take the plunge after seeing Peter Gilmore’s snow egg featured on Masterchef and we booked about 4 or 5 months in advance as Fridays and Saturdays are solidly booked out. I remember at the time Quay’s website could not cope with the level of traffic and the the restaurant was inundated with callers desperate to try the snow egg. To say I was looking forward to dining here was an understatement, months of anticipation!

The guests that you see lurking around above are guests at a wedding reception, wow! For any of my friends who are considering a venue for a wedding reception, please consider Quay and invite me too haha !

Today we went for the 8-course tasting menu (my wife went for the vegetarian option of course). To start things off we had this amuse bouche: a brilliant mushroom consomme with a slice of truffle. It was amazingly clean and flavoursome!   

First Course: Smoked eel & sea scallop pearl, horseradish
Vegetarian first course: Raw Chinese artichokes, pickled kohlrabi, celery, horseradish creme fraiche nasturtiums & pea flowers

Two visually stunning appetizers! The one thing that I love about Quay is the freshness of the ingredients, in particular the vegetables and flowers that are straight from Peter Gilmore's garden! 

Second course: Salad of pink turnips & breakfast radishes, pickled beetroot, goats curd, blood sorrel, olives, pine resin, balsamico

A very good salad. It was wonderfully fresh and there were lots of good textures. Beetroot and goat's cheese are perfect together.

Third course: Gentle braise of pearl oyster, Southern rock lobster, shaved squid, lettuce hearts tapioca, scallop velvet, oyster cream, wasabi flowers

A brilliant seafood course! Since I am a lover of all things from the sea, I was in heaven.

Vegetarian third course: Silken tofu, baby spinach, lettuce hearts, garlic chive flowers, spring onions, ginger, soy & mirin glaze

This was an amazing vegetarian course and my wife's favourite savoury course of the night! The tofu wonderfully silky, the glaze full of flavour, earthy mushrooms and spinach. Beautiful combination!

Fourth course: Butter poached coturnix quail breast, chestnuts, truffle, bitter chocolate pudding, milk skin, walnuts 
Apparently the quail is first poached on the bone in a salted quail stock, then taken off the bone to finish poaching in a clarified butter. The meat is infused with flavour and the chestnuts, walnuts and truffle give the dish an earthy component and wonderful texture. Although this was a very good course, it was probably my least favourite savoury course out of a meal full of highlights.   

Vegetarian fourth course: Organic heirloom carrots, cumin, fennel & celery seeds, comte-infused curd, roasted almonds, quinoa, comte broth
I reckon the vegetarian dishes are actually more visually stunning than the standard dishes! This course looks great.

Standard Course 5 - Poached Blackmore wagyu fillet, Tasmanian wasabi, morels

All I could remember about this dish was the beef was so incredibly tender, melted in my mouth and so flavoursome. 

Vegetarian Course 5 - Shitake, enoki & king mushrooms, truffle custard, mushroom consomme

My wife and I love mushrooms so we loved this course. You might notice that the vegetarian tasting menu starts to get a bit repetitive now. A lot of the courses share similar ingredients / elements. I think we have seen truffle custard, truffles, mushrooms and mushroom consomme elsewhere... 

Standard Course 6 - Slow braised Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil

AMAZING! This is a signature dish and is for a reason. Brilliant 'crackling' (according to Peter Gilmore, it is virtually impossible to create a crackling with  pork jowl due to the large fat content, so the crackling is made with maltose), As you can see the pork jowl is very very fat! But who cares, it was so delicious! The sweet and salty elements in this dish are perfect together.    

Vegetarian Course 6 - New season white asparagus, lentils, faro, hazelnuts, quinoa, truffle custard

More quinoa, truffle and truffle custard (how can one complain though - maybe Quay feels sorry for vegetarians so they load you up with truffle)!

Course 7: Jackfruit Snow Egg

The dessert that EVERYONE comes to Quay for. The dessert definitely deserves its reputation. It is one of the best desserts out there. The granita is very refreshing (wonderful palate cleanser). The flavours of the ice cream and the poached meringue inside are truly amazing. And then you have the cruncy shell created from the maltose tuilles. No words can do justice to how great this dessert is. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of what it looked like inside, but basically it resembles an egg (ice cream = yolk, meringue = white).   

Course 8: Preserved wild cherry compote, coconut cream, chuao chocolate crumble, milk meringue crystals, cherry juice and chocolate sorbet

I was hoping to get the other famous dessert, the 8 texture chocolate cake but didn't get it. I actually don't remember this dessert. All I remember is that it was no where near as good as the snow egg and not particularly memorable. 

Petit fours

Highlight: Snow egg!
Lowlight: There weren't many negatives. I would say the vegetarian tasting menu is a bit repetitive.
Overall: Quay is the pinnacle of dining in Sydney. Gorgeous food with amazing views.  9/10 (Outstanding)

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