A post from No Experts Australian Correspondent
Quay is considered one of the best restaurants in Sydney, certainly at number 26 in the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list, it is the highest placed Australian restaurant. It is also one of only 3 restaurants in Sydney to be deemed worthy of 3 hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide this year. When we arrived, on a wet Sunday night, with a group of friends, our expectations were very high, and we had been saving this visit for a special occasion, my birthday.
Now I have to confess that my experience of the service at Quay may have been extra special, as we had an ace up our sleeves. One of the guests at our table is a wine distributor for some amazing boutique wineries, and we were fortunate that Quay are one of his clients. As a result, we were treated to one of the best tables in the house, with views of both the Opera House and Bridge, fabulous service, and a delicious complimentary bottle of Clover Hill Sparkling from Tasmania, courtesy of Daniel the sommelier. Service all night was exceptional.
The food at Quay was delicious, although we opted for the four course menu, over what the Aussies call the “dego” (short for degustation – how that makes me cringe), primarily because Peter Gilmore’s signature dish, the Guava and Custard apple snow egg, did not feature on the taster menu.
My starter of sea pearls was divine, a selection of beautifully crafted seafood dishes presented beautifully on a platter. Mud Crab, Yuzu and Tapioca with silver leaf, Smoked eel, Dashi and Abalone and Sashimi of Tuna were all delicious and left us with the dilemma did one pop a pearl whole into one’s mouth, or did one use a knife and fork to examine the insides and savour it slowly. Needless to say each of us took a different line of attack! In retrospect I believe that we were missing a 5th pearl, the Sea Scallop Sea Pearl. Check out this Peter Gilmore’s video and you’ll see what I mean!
The second fish course of southern squid & rock lobster, lettuce hearts, golden tapioca, lobster velvet, button squash, pea flowers, was a little unmemorable, but the Mr T’s Slow braised pig’s cheek with abalone, palm hearts and an amazing mushroom consommé was mouthwateringly delicious. For my main, I opted for the wagyu beef poached in an oxtail and morel reduction, molé puree, farro & ezekiel crumbs, which was accompanied perfectly by a 2004 Muga Rioja Reserva. Now in case you’re curious, Ezekiel bread is made without flour and is made from sprouted whole grains. It’s the original super food, and what the bible refers to as manna, i.e., mana from heaven. A pretty good description of this dish. Mr T chose the Confit of Suffolk lamb loin, smoked white carrot cream, fennel infused milk curd. This dish featured fennel pollen, although I have to confess I couldn’t really taste the pollen.
Lastly, the famous snow egg…..well never has something that’s so difficult to make, 3 hours and 8 different processes, been polished off so quickly. It was delicious with amazing layers of flavour. I also had a very generous portion of Mr T’s 8 textures of chocolate, which arrived with a hot chocolate sauce in a separate copper handled pot, which when poured on top, melted into the pudding, like a glorious chocolate volcano. Accompanied by a PX, it was sublime. I know I’ll be choosing this dish if I return to Quay.
Overall, fabulous service, great views and divine food, although in the food stakes, this didn’t quite knock Tetsuya off it’s number one spot for me.
Marks out of 10