Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quay Restaurant, Sydney

Ten minutes to opening time. We arrive at Peter Gilmore’s Quay. There’s already a line outside. Inside, the wait staff are huddled around each other and being briefed for the night. Quay was rated Australian restaurant of the year according to a few of Australia's industry ratings.

As can be expected from a restaurant of this calibre, the staff are all very friendly, attentive and refined. However, to my liking, the staff were personable and not uncomfortably posh. The restaurant itself is situated at Circular Quay, which offers fantastic views of both the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge (if you manage to get a good seat). Inside there's nicely lush carpeted interiors, and windows stretching the entire length of the waterfront side.

View of the Sydney Opera House from Quay

The dinner menu at Quay currently provides you with a choice of two options: the four course dinner menu (with 5 choices per course); or the signature menu. I opted for the four course menu.

The amuse bouche for the night was raw tuna on a bed of tapioca and cheese base, topped with an edible flower. The taste was subtle yet worked well together, providing a nice appetiser for the meal to come.

Sea Pearls - Sashimi tuna, aquaculture caviar, sea scallop, smoked eel, octopus, mud crab, abalone

The first course I had was the signature sea pearls which, based on my last visit, seems to be a welcome fixture of Quay. Each sea pearl is delicately made into small bite size pieces that look like someone has handcrafted them. Eating the sea pearls live up to their name - each being full of distinct seafood flavours. The sea pearls are unlike anything I've had before and are hard to describe - and whilst it's not intended to be a main course sized seafood platter, the taste combinations and textures left me wanting more.

Five textures of Southern Rock Lobster

My second selection was the five textures of southern rock lobster served in two dishes. This dish presented five very distinct textures of lobster from chunks of lobster to lobster bisque. This dish gave a different way of looking at lobster without being your typical lobster mornay (or like) or mounds of lobster cooked in sauce. You may have had lobster in various guises before, but this dish brings together a combination of them into one serving.

24 hour slow cooked milk fed Suffolk lamb, sheep’s milk fromage, heirloom baby carrots, Arbequina olives, capers, nasturtiums and rosemary flowers

My main course was the milk fed Suffolk Lamb served with a side salad to share. The lamb was tender and flavoursome, the meat tore apart effortlessly, and had a layer of ‘skin’ coating the top of the lamb with additional flavour. The vegetables and sides were very fresh (the carrot tips were still very green) and complimented the lamb well. Quay sources some of its produce from an organic farm it maintains. This just adds to the freshness and quality of the ingredients that you can taste .

Eight texture chocolate cake featuring Amedei 'Chuao' Chocolate

This chocolate cake contained seven textures of chocolate to form a round chocolate cake. As it is served, an eighth texture of chocolate ganache is poured onto the chocolate cake. The combinations of the textures obviously took a lot of skill to prepare and presents nicely as you delve into it. The chocolate cake was delicious, and despite its name was not overpowering with chocolate. The different textures allow you to experience the difference tastes in the cake giving a lot more character than your standard chocolate cake.

To sum up, Quay serves some innovative food that has been expertly put together with service and views to match. The recurring theme is the attention to texture and taste combinations which give the food that added complexity and uniqueness. As a whole, Quay offers a special restaurant experience or a meal to excite a discerning taste bud.

Points to note:  One of Australia's top restaurants.  Very good and fresh food, very well executed.

Go for: Taste combinations and textures. Excellent fine dining experience for a special occasion.

Quay Restaurant
Upper Level Overseas Passengers Terminal Circular Quay West
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9251 5600

Trading Hours:
Lunch - Tuesday to Friday: 12 noon to 2:30pm
Dinner - Monday to Sunday: 6:00pm to 10:00pm


Tamarind Restaurant Mt Hawthorn said...

Wow the milk fed Suffolk Lamb would probably be my main course too and I would love to try the Eight texture chocolate cake yum yum! They look and sound so good and tasty!

Adrian said...

The eight texture cake is pretty amazing. I read the recipe from it in the Quay book and it looks intensive. Maybe one day I will try when I have a spare day,