Quay surpassed any expectations that I had of it. Currently sitting at #58 in the World’s Best Restaurant list, it’s one of the few high-end Australian restaurants that I haven’t tried in my time here. It’s been on my list… at least since Peter Gilmore’s Snow Egg dessert landed in the consciousness of tens of thousands of Australians who watched contestants on Masterchef try to make it.
So, I had the inspiration to book it for my birthday this year, falling on a Tuesday, so it wasn’t so hard to get in. We opted for the degustation menu with the regular, not premium wines, but really, before any of the food came, I was already there… The view. And the gorgeous glass lamp on the table. My god.
Comparing the food to some other Australian restaurants, it felt more modern and complex than what I experienced the last time at Tetsuya’s; it’s not as avant-garde and bitter as Marque; it’s not as textural as Sepia. But it felt pretty much perfect: not showy but complex, the focus really was the flavours, rich and salty; and it was hard to choose a favourite: every dish was consistent, interesting and tasty.
I won’t go into individual descriptions. In fact, I’d actually planned not to take as many photos as usual, but then couldn’t help myself. All that accomplished was not taking photos of half of the courses…
But I do have to comment on the Snow Egg.
Here you can see me below, all in heaven, surrounded by twinkling stars.
The dessert was extraordinary and unexpected. We did remember, upon tasting it, the components of the dish. There’s a gorgeous flavoured granita, sitting on top of a fool (custard mixed with fruit puree). The snow egg itself is a perfectly smooth meringue that has a shell, a sugar disc of praline melted over it, a thin layer of crunch. And then a beautiful soft yolk to the meringue; which is an ice cream. I vaguely recall the waiter saying the flavour of the dish changes seasonally. I think this one was plum.
The various textures were distinguishable but played with each other in such a complex way I actually had to close my eyes to not be distracted by my sense of sight. And in tasting the particular combination of flavours, and more so, the textures, I actually felt transported. I’m not sure where, but it was good. More on the snow egg (including a recipe, but I can’t imagine ever trying this) is here.
Apparently, the second dessert was also featured on Masterchef, and my god, this one was good too, although we had a version of it in Scandinavia. I can’t remember where. Each of the layers inserted into the chocolate holder were delicious, one was of milk, another of chocolate. Visually playful, delightful with the different textures. Yum.
And to finish things off, some lovely truffles, along with an espresso that I managed to half-spill on the white tablecloth, the coffee stain spreading like my embarrassment. Ah well, the waiter pretended not to see (service was top notch of course), and we stumbled out into a wet and wintry Sydney night, now counting myself a year older, and very happy to have tried Quay.
I’ve gone to some huge efforts to try to eat at lauded restaurants on my travels; but this one was just at my doorstep. How spoiled we can by our surroundings.