It had been a several month wait before we could get a lunch reservation for three at Quay in Sydney but it was well worth the wait. We were there to celebrate TimmyC’s belated birthday (a lovely gift from his close friends), my Mumsy’s birthday and… I was just there to eat *blush*
We were notified several times that our sweeping views of the world-famous harbour and Sydney Opera House were going to be obstructed by a cruise ship which wasn’t due to leave until later that day, but that didn’t matter for us as we were there for the food and company.
It was a very warm day in Sydney and when we walked out of the elevator we welcomed with crisp cool air and attentive service. We were led upstairs to a beautiful separate space that would hold only 14 other guests during that lunch service.It was a spectacular day overlooking the Harbour.Then I remembered that there’d be a great big cruise ship.There were several dining options: 3 courses $150, 4 courses for $175 and the tasting menu for $235 per person, we didn’t need to really look as we had decided on the tasting menu before we even got there. They told us it was going to take 1.5 -2.5 hours and that surprised TimmyC and I but we ended up being there for 4 hours and was one of the last to leave, that part didn’t shock us.Mocktail~ The Johnnie Dancer. A union of lychee juice, passionfruit puree and muddled lime with a dash of cloudy apple and pineapple juice ($14.00).TimmyC and Mumsy both got gin and tonics but different gins which meant different tastes and different garnishes.Tasting menu ($235 pp)
Amuse bouche~ Beetroot, house cultured crème fraîche, violet and sour dough bread crumbs. TimmyC must have been in heaven having to not wait for me to take photos of dishes from every angle, so by the time I was finished taking my first photo he had finished the bite sized morsel but the surprising thing for me was to see TimmyC eating beetroot. The beetroot taste was subtle and paired well with the crème fraîche. I loved the crunchy unexpected bread crumbs. Raw smoked Blackmore wagyu, horseradish soured cream, fermented rye crisps, raw funghi. I was excited to try the Blackmore wagyu (I loved it at Chifley’s) but it really took a back seat to everything else. At first you can taste the smokey wagyu, followed by subtle horseradish and ends on the earthy fungi. I loved the depth of flavour you could get from one bite and the rye crisps really added a lovely crunch to what would have otherwise been a soft dish. It really set the bar high for what was to come.
The plate reminded us of a kidney.It’s amazing how much earthy flavours are hidden in the gills of mushrooms.Congee of mud crab, palm heart, egg yolk emulsion. If there is something you need to know about me, it’s that I love congee and I love mud crab (and steak!), so I was very excited to try this dish. I thought the addition of palm heart and egg yolk emulsion was an odd choice but after tasting it, they were really crucial to making this the amazing dish that it was. It had a ‘watery’ texture because there was more broth to rice ratio, but it made the dish easier to eat. The palm hearts added a really good crunch while the egg yolk emulsion was very creamy and tied the whole dish together. I tilted my plate to make sure I got every last drop.
White summer squash, umami juices, bay lobster, clams, sea urchin, chicken fat. This dish divided the table. TimmyC didn’t really like this dish and he thought the addition of chicken fat cheapened it. I on the other hand, really like this dish and I loved the addition of chicken fat (think pan juices from a roast chicken). The summer squash was the star of the plate, it was really fresh and gave a light refreshing feeling to the palette which was nice just before a heavy protein course.Complimentary bread and butter. We didn’t know if we were going to get any bread because it was served so late in the meal. I really liked the inner bready part of the white bread and loved the crust that had black sesame seeds from the sesame seed bread. The butter was ridiculously soft but I thought it lacked some salt, luckily they provided that as well.Smoked and confit pig jowl, roasted koji, shiitake, kombu, sesame, sea scallop, milk curd. It was a unanimous decision at our table that this was our favourite dish of the tasting menu. There were so many components but they all played a part with their flavours. Depending on the mouthful of ingredients you took, it could taste very different but without a doubt, all spoonfuls were AMAZING. This dish had everything; the pig jowl was tender and fatty, it had crunchy parts and it had creamy parts all topped with a light flavourful broth. If I was going À la carte, I would definitely order this dish.The broth was poured on each plate at the table.King George whiting, native coastal greens, hatsuka radish, smoked oyster crackling. I didn’t know what to expect from succulents but it gave the dish a unique texture. The fish was well cooked and a lot of the delicious salty taste came from the smoked oyster crackling.
Native succulents made a unique addition to the dish.Slow cooked duck, black rice miso, celery heart, black garlic, ice plant buds. I was really intrigued about the ‘ice plant buds’, it was like biting to a crisp juicy capsicum. All the dark colours and saltiness reminded Mum and I of salted black beans which I love, but I wasn’t so keen on the duck and thought it was a bit hard to cut through despite being given a Laguiole knife. In comparison to the rest of the tasting menu, I didn’t think it was as good.A close up of the ice plant bud.Snow egg cherry granita with a cherry ice cream centre. Cherry wouldn’t have been my first pick for a fruit but it didn’t take away from the technical difficulty to make this dish; I have the highest regard for anyone that can make this dessert. After taking a million photos, I used my spoon to knock on the egg to gauge the texture. It didn’t pierce but it didn’t take much to break through a fine toffee layer to expose a perfectly round sphere full of soft meringue with a cherry ice cream centre. I love the sharp contrast between the sweetness in the soft meringue and powder compared to the chunky slightly sour cherry granita, but everything balanced out in the end. An outstanding amazing dessert!
Chocolate ethereal. I must say having watched only a few episodes of Master Chef, one of them included the making of the chocolate ethereal; I had very high hopes for this dish but it fell flat in my mouth. It just tasted like a lot of sharp sweetness from the chocolate and muscatels which meant everything else faded into the background. I know how much effort that went into making the different shards but I didn’t think taste wise it added anything to the dish and it was more for show and texture. TimmyC didn’t agree and finished off my dessert.
We TimmyC couldn’t himself but to order another dessert, he suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to food.
Lychee, rose, coconut ($35.00). I prefer this dessert over the chocolate ethereal despite having less complex flavours, they have chosen a select few flavours that work really well together. The dessert itself was very cold, but when you placed a spoonful in your mouth, some parts gave a crunch, some bits were juicy and some bits melted. I really like this flavour combination and it was more of a subtle sweet dessert.Coffee, tea and Quay Petit Fours. I wasn’t going to eat any petit fours because I was so content after the tasting menu but I did notice that one of the truffles was covered in pop corn and inside had a molten caramel centre and I could not say no.Fresh peppermint tea.Not only was the food spectacular, the wait staff were unpretentious, friendly and attentive throughout the service. It is a lot of money for a meal but it has amazing views, it spans over several hours and is almost like entertainment with a meal when you’re experiencing the different flavour and texture combinations that are given to you.
Address: Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, 5 Hickson Rd The Rocks, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9251 5600
Reservations: Taken from their website “Quay is open daily for dinner service from 6pm – 10pm. Lunch service is Friday to Sunday, taking bookings from 12pm – 2pm.
We do receive a high volume of reservations requests daily. Please allow at least 48 hours in which to reply to your request. We do encourage you to contact reservations directly on 02 9251 5600 if you wish to make a booking within the 48 hour period.
We take bookings no more than 6 months in advance. Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings are booked out 6 months in advance for bookings of two and four guests.
Please note reservations are allocated to tables by booking date order. Guests can certainly request tables but unfortunately we cannot always guarantee your table request due to table configurations and also booking order.”