Quay

Hello again everyone! This is going to be the first of a two part blog post; Quay vs Tetsuya’s. As you can guess, this one is dedicated to Quay. Hope you enjoy it!

Last weekend my cousin was getting hitched so it gave my family and I an excuse to run over to Sydney to catch up with uncles and aunties, cousins and little rug rats I haven’t seen in a while. It also gave us an excuse to eat like kings! Big thanks to my parents for booking and shouting for these two extravagant meals. Love you! 🙂

We arrived on the Friday and visited Quay for lunch which is the perfect stomach lining for dinner at Tetsuya’s. Quay is situated in the dress circle of Circular Quay *shock horror!* where head chef Peter Gilmore created the now famous “Grava snow egg”. If you are two ninths of a foodie, you should know what that is.

Quay has been one of Australia’s most awarded restaurants holding 3 hats and currently sits ranks 26th in the S.Pellegrino worlds best restaurant list; the highest is Australia. Quay creates dishes inspired by nature and let the natural flavours and textures speak for themselves. This year, Peter Gilmore was awarded Chef of the Year in the Sydney Good Food Guide.

The view at Quay 

My parents, brother and I got dropped off near the restaurant and eventually found the place. The inside was really nice. There was a lot of floor to ceiling windows making the place feel very open. The fact that it was a really nice day made it look even prettier. We were whisked to the second level and sat in the centre table of what I’m going to call the atrium. This was pretty bad ass, stunning views with the Sydney Harbour bridge on the left, Opera house on my right though obstructed by a giant yacht and thick sexy table cloths to top it all off.

 Menu at Quay

Our maître de Barry soon came round with water and showed us the menu. We didn’t waste any time and went with four degustation, naturally. We did give it a quick look and saw that the infamous snow egg was not there! Never fear, Barry is here and allowed us to make the easy swap for one of the deserts…the poor poor feijoa ice cream never stood a chance. They even had to twist our arms and tell us it was the strawberry and guava snow egg (the masterchef version).

In Gilmore fashion, the menu takes the time to acknowledge and give thanks to the famers and individuals for the great produce they use at the restaurant. I think this should be done more often.

Back to the food, unfortunately I wasn’t feeling great and it was lunch time so we all opted out on wine matching (yes I went to the bathroom to cry a little) so to the wine lovers out there, my apologies. I did get to check out the wine matching lists though and after eating here, I must say, if you do come to Quay, I would highly recommend getting the pairings. It would really enhance the dishes. OK food time.

Amuse Bouche

Ginger scented milk, conbu, oyster consume

We start off with the amuse bouche of ginger scented milk, conbu and an oyster consume, “complements of the chef”. The dish came out in little cups and the oyster consume was poured into them. Not much to look at I must say but it highly tastey! Tastes like having a shot of oyster! Lovely smoked flavours, hints of sweet carrots and lovely toasted wood notes. Think a Japanese octopus with bonito flakes and a touch of ginger in the back. Nice way to start the day.

Course 1

Sashimi of Corner Inlet rock flathead, Tasmanian trumpeter, salt cured wild oyster cream, black lipped abalone, raw sea-cabbage, green radish, warrigals, periwinkles

This is a pretty looking dish, fresh alluring. The taste is really reminds me of what you smell from steamed lobster or crayfish if that makes sense. The sweetness and freshness of the fish is the thing on display here.

The entire dish is a good mix of funky textures but it’s a little bland. Flavours came from the herbs and sea cabbage and the oyster cream is too subtle and doesn’t add much. I think the dish needed more direction, either going with more flavours from the sauce to give it more depth or lift the dish with something like lemon giving it a fresher and lighter feel. As it stands, it’s too much in the middle. The wine may have made the dish.

Course 2

Congee of Northern Australian mudcrab, fresh palm heart, egg yoke emulsion

When this dish came out, I was expected a tonne of rice and a dash of crab but turns out it’s the other way around. This smells very very nice, very aromatic with flavours akin to shark fin soup. After the first mouthful we all looked at each other and said “hummm this would go great with some cognac! (something us Asians add to shark fin). The discs of palm hearts are a well deserved addition adding a gentle crunch to offset the smooth congee on the mouth. The egg comes in to add richness to the dish. This is such great dish with a lovely mixture of flavours. Was my favourite dish of the day…day!

When a waitress came round to collect the bowls, my mum suggested that they add 2 drops of cognac and to our amazement, at the end of the lunch, she came around to tell us that she had left a note for Peter Gilmore! So next time, if you get cognac, you know who to thank.

Course 3

Gently poached southern rock lobster, hand caught Tasmanian squid, golden tapioca, lobster velvet

This was a cute looking dish coming in these “pac man” like bowls along with some sweet looking cutlery. Once you take off the lid, you got some extremely lovely aromas of buttered lobster with the look to match. The lobster is nicely cooked with a great bite. The lobster velvet is like a lobster bourblanc and adds mouth weight and feel to the dish but is a tad grainy. The squid and tapioca is wonderful, very smooth and bouncy, rich in flavour whist still allowing the lobster to come through. Delicious dish and well presented and my second favourite dish of the lunch. Reminds me of burnt butter marron!

Course 4

Roasted partridge brest, steamed truffle brioche, confit egg yoke, new season white walnuts, fumet of Vin Jaune

I stuck my nose in this dish and it smelt like a honey glazed ham. We were asked to eat the yoke and breast together. I dug in and found the breast very soft and juicy but also very gamey, cured meat, prosciutto aspect. It has a lap cheong or Chinese sausage taste which I am not a fan off. The walnuts add a nice crunch to the dish and I do like the yoke brioche but it has a strong aftertaste in the back of your mouth and at times can overtake the dish.

By itself the breast is ok though as I ate, I think my dish was very undercooked and got mushy in the centre. My brothers was a little overcooked whist my parents were more consistent. The egg by itself is much like an egg yoke but together they bring complement in texture though I really wanted some bacon with that egg.

I think they wanted to go for a gamey meat but it didn’t work for me. Also needed more of a sauce to tie flavours together better. Not a great dish, nice to ok, maybe I got the short stick this time.

Course 5

Smoked and confit pig cheek, shiitake, shaved scallop, Jerusalem artichoke, juniper, bay

Now this is more like it! This dish came off very custardy. I picked off an artichoke by itself and itwas nicely crisped, sweet and makes you think of roast pork skin. Highly recommend you eat every component of this dish with each bite. It’s very very good. The dish just melts in your mouth. Soft, big hit if spices, herbs and aromas to something like wasabi peas though I think that is the juniper. The mushrooms and scallops add a lively sweetness and texture and the artichokes kick in for the crisp. Winner.

Course 6

Pasture raised milk fed veal poached in smoked bone marrow fat, wild grey ghost mushrooms, raw buckwheat young orach, land samphire, parsnip

Another beautifully looking dish, smelt good too! I was looking forward to a vue de monde style of bone marrow sauce so it was the first thing I tried. I was a little unimpressed, this is more subtle and almost like a consume. I started out trying the dish eating the individual components and it was a bit meh, but together….wow! The veal is cooked very very well, not melt in your mouth soft, its tender with a bit of bite. The mushroom and buckwheat adds differences in bite and everything is balanced with a lemon hit form the greens. But the king of the dish is the parsnip puree. It was key in bringing the dish together and was the peanut butter to the veal’s jam. Bring on more puree! A fab dish, evokes a feelings of being on the countryside. Lovely.

Course 7

Nitrogen frozen vanilla mousse, fresh mangosteen, custard apple, feijoa ice cream, coconut cream

I mean, Strawberry and Guava Snow Egg

Here we go, the snow egg. We were all excited to see Barry come round with his little crumb vacuum cleaner cos it meant desert was around the corner. Will it live up to the hype?

First off, sinking your spoon into the egg and hitting that caramel shell is an experience on its own. It’s surprising how hard the shell is, the cracking sensation is great and not what you expect! The crispy caramel top breaks into a soft almost airy meringue, then into the thicker guava ice cream. The ice cream has a vanilla/coffee taste to it (very subtle, not strong) and the caramel makes it feel that there is toffee in there also. The best part is the fresh and awesome strawberry and guava granita with the cream on the bottom of the egg. Enjoy picking caramel out of your teeth after.

So refreshing and a joy to eat. A great great desert and it certainly lived up to the hype for me. A must try; it is as good as you think it is.

Course 8

Jersey cream, salted caramel, prunes, walnuts, ethereal sheets

Well, what will be able to follow the snow egg? After my first bite, I thought that this desert….may be better….

Caramel and prunes go hand in hand to bring big bold flavours but it stays light on the palate with the ethereal sheets. Sweet sticky caramel and coffee mixes with the prune like rum raisin ice cream. Great presentation and very effective! Love love love.

Coffee, Tea, Petits Fours

Hazelnut with milk chocolate ganache

Amadei chocolate with ameratio infused with muscadelle raisons

We made it to the end and I wasn’t feeling like a slob. The quantity of food was just right, well just right enough to fit in two little delightful petits fours and wash it down with some coffee

I had the hazelnut ganache first. Surprisingly thick and dense on the inside and tastes like a chocolate Ferrero Rocher. The Amadei chocolate was yum, like a dark chocolate cake with crispy wafer balls. Dense yet somehow refreshing!

I had a really good time at Quay. I thought the food was very good (except for the partridge) and the meal flowed very well. The service was very friendly and even weathered my silly questions like “sooo….how do you know this squid is hand caught?”. Barry and the team enjoyed our company also and at the end of our meal, presented us with some Quay heirloom seeds for us to plant in our gardens (something they don’t usually do for lunch times) and of course, as previously mentioned, bothered to pass on our cognac suggestions to the chef.

See you next time! Smile Barry!

How does this compare to Tetsuya’s? How do you think it will go?

Tune in next week to find out!

Kenny

Quay on Urbanspoon

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