For any food blogger, this is on everyone’s list of must try places! Awarded one of the best restaurants in Australia, and the world, bookings are not easy to come by. Quay Restaurant has held onto three hats for more than a decade, making it the longest restaurant to hold the title in Australia, plus has also held a position in the S. Pellegrino’s World’s top 50 since 2009.
Post popularly known for its debut in 2010 on MasterChef when Peter Gilmore impressed us with his ‘Snow Egg’ dessert masterpiece. Still on the menu today, this has become one of Australia’s most iconic desserts.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
We had made a booking weeks in advance for a table at 6:30pm (the only time left) and jumped on the offer. The four of us had gotten ready, had a drink at the hotel and jumped in a taxi to head to the restaurant. Stuck in traffic, we called the restaurant to let them know we were running 10 minutes late. Much to our surprise we found out the restaurant had booked us in last week instead of this week! Frantic and upset, they were able to fit us in at 9pm. With a few hours to spare, we headed out for drinks nearby before making our way to Quay at 9pm.
Not off to the best start, we arrived at 9pm, and were asked to take a seat, order drinks and our table would be ready soon. We ordered a round of cocktails, which didn’t arrive until we were finally seated for dinner.
The restaurant is situated on the second level of the Overseas Passenger Terminal with an amazing view of the Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour. The floor to ceiling windows surrounding the restaurant help boost one of the best views in the city. The fit out of the restaurant has been set up to ensure everyone has a breathtaking view. White clothed tables line the windows with additional seating perched up a few steps as well.
The service once seated was spot on and absolutely nothing to fault here. Our waitress was very helpful with the menu, recommending beautiful wines to match our food. Each of the dishes that were brought out were explained in great detail to ensure we knew exactly what we were eating.
The menu is based around a tasting menu, which was 4 courses with the option of matched wine. At $225 a pop for the food only, this makes Quay’s tasting menu the most expensive in Australia, however you know you are in for something special.
The 4 course menu offers a selection of four dishes per course to give you a good variety of dishes to choose from. I started with the ‘Raw Smoked Blackmore Wagyu’ which was served with light spiced horseradish soured cream, fermented rye crisps and raw shaved funghi. Stunning! Presentation was beautiful, the hero being the wagyu, with subtle hints of crunch from the fermented rye crisps.
My second course was the ‘Gently Braised Quail’ served with cultured black barley, chestnut mushroom chawanmushi and smoked quail broth. Once placed in front of me, I was a bit unsure, however after my first taste, I was hooked. The thinly sliced quail was tender and juicy and took on the flavours of the smoked broth.
My third course was the beautiful ‘Slow Cooked Duck’ served with black rice miso, celery heart cream, black garlic and ice plant buds. I am a huge fan of duck so was pretty excited to see how this dish was going to come out. As I suspected, the duck was immaculate. Strong flavoured and tender duck was accompanied by crunchy black garlic and the ice plant buds left an interesting finish to the dish.
I’m usually not one to order dessert, however our four course dinner included dessert and it was a must to try the notorious ‘Snow Egg’. I decided to go with the egg and MC went with the ‘Chocolate Ethereal’ so we could share both dishes.
The Snow Egg, one of Australia’s most recognized desserts is a poached meringue egg, with a ‘yolk’ of custard ice cream, then coated in a crunchy praline maltose shell which all sat on a beautiful bed of guava granita. Do I need say more? The sweetness of the ice cream balanced out the creaminess of the custard, all finished off with a refreshing granita.
MC went with the ‘Chocolate Ethereal’ which consisted of Jersey Cream, Salted Caramel, and Ethereal Sheets. The concept of the dish is another difficult, time consuming masterpiece, which is extremely well presented. The jersey cream acts as the base to the dessert, which holds a variety of pulled caramel, chocolate and vanilla milk skins. Another well perfected dessert!
I knew we were in for something special the second we made the booking, but Quay has blown my expectations out of the water. Although off to a slightly bad start with the booking mix up, once seating, the service, breathtaking view and immaculate food erased any negative thoughts we had coming in.
This restaurant is definitely kept for special occasions and for those looking for a real fine dining experience. Don’t expect to have large portions presented to you, portions are kept small, however I did leave satisfied. Fridays and Saturday evenings do require a credit card to guarantee the booking, so if making a booking, make sure you are ready to fork over some large coin for the night.
Overall, Quay has left a special place in my foodie book nad will definitely need to head back for the Snow Egg and a breathtaking view!