Quay is in the World’s Best 50 restaurants at number 29 – it has held on to three hats in The Australian Good Food & Travel Guide for a decade. Quay also boasts its place for a third year as the Best Restaurant in Australasia. This takes real dedication to your craft.
The space – with the grand scale of the Sydney Harbour Bridge above you on your left, on your right the Sydney Opera House rises out of the harbour, like giant opalescent shells. Quay Restaurant sits simply in the middle. It is simplicity personified – the food, the service and the view is perfect – why would you add anything more.
The food – Peter Gilmore’s brilliance, sensitivity and fine tuned intuition with food shines through in every dish. We went for a first course of Congee of Northern Australian mud crab, fresh palm heart, egg yolk emulsion. The congee – an exquisitely fine, clear broth on top of the rice particles with succulent flesh of mud crab and the smoothness of the egg yolk. It was difficult to go past this dish for complexity – yet it’s simple.
We also started with sashimi of local lobster, bergamot, green almonds, pomelo, elder flowers. The fresh clean taste of the sashimi lobster, pomelo with the gentle scent of the bergamot - this was for us at Sydneycool our dish of 2012. Next we tasted Carrot seedlings, white lentils, almonds, Reggiano emulsion, cumin, daylilies, Job’s tears, coriander flowers. This was a fresh natural interlude with subtle flavours.
The smoked and confit pig cheek, shiitake, shaved scallops – another feast of flavours and texture – the scallops and pork worked together magically. At Quay, the flavours and the ingredients flicker back and forth between dishes with subtly and sometimes contrast.
Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil. The summing up of this dish – a soft sweetness that lingered with every mouthful and the fine carmelised crunch of the maltose crackling. The smooth sweet texture of the prunes with pork that tasted rich and deep – all balanced by the earthy freshness of the creamed cauliflower.
Hawkesbury free range chicken cooked in Vin Jaune and cream, steamed brioche, egg yolk confit, Alba truffle. This dish was the ultimate combination and balance of flavour and texture. The chicken was superbly succulent with the creaminess of the sauce – against the egg yolk and truffle.
The wine – we wanted to drink champagne and to try something different from the great champagne houses. We asked Addy Lam, the sommelier, to guide us to Récoltant-Manipulant champagnes. These champagnes come from smaller boutique ‘Champagne’ growers houses in France who produce champagne with fruit grown on their own estate vineyards. With smaller production, these quality focused wines exhibit the intricacies of their local area or terroir. He chose a Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Vrigny Premier Cru – 100% Pinot Meunier grapes – used to create a dry, cleansing palate with a pale gold colour – a good choice.
The desert was Peter Gilmore’s signature dish – Snow Egg – brilliant!. We finished our meal with a well balanced cheese selection and espresso.
The verdict – Peter Gilmore deliver perfection in food. Quay Restaurant – Sydney is fine dining in Australia.
Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, Sydney 2000
sydneycool rating ♥♥♥♥