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Quay Restaurant

Wow! After 3 years of dreaming the famous Snow Egg from MasterChef, I finally got to savour it! Did Peter Gilmore float my boat? Read on!
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Date of Visit: January 23, 2013

The Quay Restaurant at Circular Quay is No.29th in S.Pellegrino’s World Top 50 Restaurant (2012). It is the only Australasian restaurant included in the ranking. To get a table at Quay for a party of 2 to 4 would need at least 3 months reservation, however, because we are a party of over 5 people, we got a table with relative ease.

Since we entertaining guests from overseas, we look for location and accolades. What is a more iconic setting than the night time views over the waters of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge? Fret not, the cruise liner parked at the Overseas Terminal usually sets sail around 6:30pm – but do enquire when you make reservation.

The decor of the restaurant is nothing to gush home. Blue carpet, mirrors on the ceiling and walls. The bar looked rather nice, except when I looked closer, it’s just a drinks prep area. AnywaZ, I was given the honour to choose the wine for the table. Since I’m an adventurous drinker, I chose a white and a red varietal from Portugal:
2010 Dona Paterna (Alvarinho), Vinho Verde A$80 – floral varietal akin to sav blanc but with more weight
2006 Niepoort Vertente (D.O.C Douro), Douro Valley A$128 – light chocolate cherry, smooth with some age

I am very pleased with my choosing. I must say that the wine list is very good and easy to navigate, perfectly structured with international selections in magnums and half bottles too.

Our table decided on the 4-course dinner menu (A$165).

FIRST UP

Amuse bouche was goat’s curd, tomato, crunchy fennel seed – my taste bud is getting tickled… loving the texture…mmm… looks like the stage is set for a rather fine meal.

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Amuse Bouche

Just being a country bumpkin here, got to take pics of everything including butter and salt for the bread! LOL

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ONE

My choice of salad did not disappoint. See how beautifully it was presented? Sweet juicy cherries, tangy beets and smooth creaminess of the creme fraiche are beautifully balanced with savoury ‘toffeeish’ crunchy croutons

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Salad of preserved wild cherries,
albino and chioggia beetroots, radish, crème fraîche, violets

Beautiful presentation

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Fragrant poached chicken,
white radish, sea scallops, smoked eggplant cream, pea blossoms

Bugs Bunny’s Delight

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Carrot seedlings, white lentils,
almonds, Reggiano emulsion, cumin, daylilies, Job’s tears, coriander flowers

TWO

This is where service falls short… 3 persons at our table (including me) ordered squid without thinking that the squid will be replaced by scampi tonight. We thought that it was only for the tasting menu. So a mistake was made when the waiter who took the order did not clarify with us again that squid is also off the 4-course menu when we ordered ‘squid’ (and I had also informed the waiter than I am allergic to shellfish!). In my opinion, a restaurant of this calibre, should simply reprint the menu. How much does an A6 reflex paper cost?

Back to the story…When the replacement scampi arrived, I could immediately smell that it’s crustacean which I am highly allergic to. (And if I can smell crustacean, it only means that it is not fresh, that’s how sensitive my nose is!) A little disagreement ensued with the waiter who brought out the dishes…yadda..yadda… to cut the story short, the waiter should have just removed the plate and not argue with the client! Duh?!

Picture of the wrong order: My source told me that the scampi was ‘mushy’ no ‘crunchy freshness’

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Scampi, squid ink custard, society garlic, pink turnips

I’m happy with my replacement. It looks fancy. Puffed quinoa and nuts on the thinly sliced squail (master knife-work here). The brioche came across as dry. Since I can never ever taste truffles no many how many times I have tried, it is perplexing to me why truffles are so highly regarded.

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Coturnix quail, farro, hazelnuts, quinoa,
steamed truffle brioche, egg yolk confit, Vin Jaune cream

THREE

Look at the tiny onions! Too cute to eat. But the rice in broth was a tad too salty for me

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Korean green rice,
mountain spinach, barletta onions, green radish
asparagus, chestnut mushrooms

Dining source’s comment on the lamb was that it was sinewy and not ‘that great’

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Suffolk lamb loin,
eggplant skin and olive purée, sheeps milk crème fraîche,
fresh and preserved flowers

Looks like a chocolate cake. Dining source’s comment was that the beef was bland. Oh well… course THREE was only so-so.

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Poached Rangers Valley beef,
bitter chocolate black pudding,
morel, ezekiel crumbs, shaved mushrooms

FOUR

Dessert time! This is THE moment!

Eight texture chocolate cake is the latest signature dessert of Quay. The 8th texture was actually the hot choc sauce served at the table. (Note it melting in the middle). It was a very rich and powerful – me likey!

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Eight texture chocolate cake

What it looks like in cross-section. Check out the DIY video here.

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Eight texture chocolate cake

This is the moment I have been waiting for! MY Snow Egg arriveth! Apparently, they change the flavours seasonally. They have done jackfruit and guava previously. The process of making the Snow Egg is highly technical. Ice-cream inside lightly poached meringue and encrusted with very thin caramel, resting on cherry granita with bits of dehydrated coconut. Check out the DIY video here

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Cherry and coconut snow egg

What was my verdict of the Snow Egg? I liked the presentation but apart from the cherry and coconut granita, I couldn’t remember what was the flavour of the supposed yolk, and whether it should be ice-cream or cream since it was a sludge when I cracked open the egg.

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Cherry and coconut snow egg

I saw people from the next table having the ‘Jersey cream, salted caramel, prunes, walnuts, ethereal sheets’, also on the dessert menu. The presentation looked ‘deconstructive’ with the sheets wedging into the cream and sorts. I’m sure it must be delish too!

Finally, some chocky with our nightcap

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Petit Fours – extra A$10 with coffee/ tea

So, did Peter Gilmore float my boat? Needless to say, the presentations rocked and the techniques involved in the desserts could not be faulted. Unfortunately, for the main meals, there are other places that offers better. If I am coming back, it will definitely be for the desserts.

Degustation menu (updated)

Degustation menu

Degustation menu

FYI and comparison sake, do check out Andy Hayler’s review here.

Quay on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “Quay Restaurant

  1. Back in 2010, we ate at Quay and all had the Guava Snow Egg. All four of us declared it to be the highlight of the meal. It wasn’t till later that year that the Snow Egg featured on Masterchef, and we had it confirmed how special it was.

  2. Hello,
    I wonder what is korean green rice, where to find it and, if it’s known as an other ame~
    Thank you for your answer.
    Conrad.

    • Hi Conrad, I presume the Korean green rice is unhusked freshly harvested rice. I am not sure where you can get it in Sydney, perhaps you can try the Japanese shops in Northbridge? Otherwise, the rice importers. Then again, I did some googling and found out recipes for green rice by simply mixing green tea or spinach to your short grain rice – which I reckoned how Quay cooked this dish, by adding spinach to make it green. I hope this helps! Cheers!

  3. Went to the quay – someone forgot to tell us that we were paying $400 for 2 people to put up with stuffy waiters & look at the side of a big f%#*£ ship

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