Quay Restaurant has been a food lover's tourist destination for many years now. Through those years, it has earned quite a few accolades to its name, including earning Restaurant of the Year (2009, 2010) as well as three chef's hats (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) in the Australian Good Food Guide. It has also achieved 27th in the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2010. I was eager to find out if the restaurant could live up to its internationally renowned name and passion for culinary perfection.
Executive Chef Peter Gilmore's eight course tasting menu at Quay is the pinnacle of modern Australian cuisine. From seafood to game meat, the vast diversity of ingredients combined with high complexity techniques make for a unique dining experience that every Sydneysider must experience at least once.
Push open a large glass door and many of the staff greet and welcome you to the fine establishment. It is a dimly lit (perhaps romantic) room, positioned snugly between the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, surrounded in glass to offer a prime position for viewing.
It starts with a smoked eel & sea scallop pearl with horseradish, a delicate dish encircled in shiny mother-of-pearl shaped plate. A spherical pearl textured in white bubble-like egg whites is topped with a sprouting wasabi flower. On first bite, the eel instantly oozes a savoury, smoky flavour which creates an interesting gustatory sensation when fused with the uneven texture produced by the egg whites. A perfect start for a colossal food journey of eight courses.
Arguably the most aesthetically pleasing of the meal would have to be the salad of pink turnips, breakfast radishes, violets, olives, pine resin and balsamico. A colourful explosion of green, red and purple is made to look as if it all the ingredients naturally fell into place from the heavens. Gilmore cuts the richness of the previous dish with fresh, juicy turnips and radishes, and creates a brilliant balance between the crunchy vegetables with the smooth, creamy sauce dusted in pine resin. The thinly cut beetroot and vibrant violets further intensify the dish, adding sweetness as well as a pleasing visual quality.
My favourite dish of the evening was the butter poached coturnix quail breast with chestnuts, truffle, bitter chocolate black pudding, milk skin and walnuts. Never having consumed a game animal before, the quail was a pleasantly tender protein with lightly browned and buttered skin. However, the climax of the dish came with the amalgamation of black pudding, chestnuts and walnuts, erupting in rich, wholesome flavour of the quail compounded by a brittle crispiness of nuts and milk skin.
Lastly, no one can leave Quay Restaurant without trying their famous Jackfruit snow egg. Encapsulated in a wide circular glass, the base is a jackfruit granita with a poached egg sitting in the centre, dusted with icing sugar. Gently tapping on the top of the egg, it cracks open and cream seeps out into the 'snow'. The 'snow' is a light sweetness, soon compounded by the blow-torched malt biscuit skin of the egg – the texture of the egg exudes silkiness, which is all completed by the chill of the melting 'snow'. Impeccable technique is exhibited to craft such a dish, a flawless balance between texture and freshness of flavour, nothing short of a superb finish to the evening.
A dinner at Quay requires months of booking in advance. It is open from Tuesday to Friday 12pm - 2:30pm for lunch and every evening 6pm - 10pm for dinner.
Wow I am so so jealous that you have eaten here! I have been dyyying to try the Snow Egg ever since it featured on MasterChef. I've seen the recipe and the ingredients list for this dessert is never ending.
I've never heard of jackfruit before though and I thought the Snow Egg was made of guava... Or is this something different? Was it all it is cracked up to be??
By Ashleigh - senior reviewer Thursday, 25th of November @ 12:55 pm
It is simply amazing, you must go there at least for lunch to try it out!
And the maitre d' said it'll never be taken off the menu :)
By Michael Sin - senior reviewer Thursday, 25th of November @ 02:35 pm
I have visited the Quay restaurant twice, once was enough for the price is %#*!! The food was very good but I found it to be truly not worth the price paid. But the view is wonderful and service excellent. It survives on it's reputation, but it really is a once and once only treat! Going a second time it lost the vibe and I really could spend the money a better way! But I must say the Snow Egg was very good. But at what price!
By bandi - reader Friday, 3rd of January @ 06:11 am