54. Eat an incredible meal

7 02 2012

Upon looking at Quay’s four course tasting menu, it quickly became apparent that I should choose the plate with the most exciting first word and ignore the rest of the incomprehensible explanation.

With the best view of the Sydney Harbour and Peter Gilmore’s name behind the menu, it is no surprise Quay is currently the 26th best restaurant in the world. I was being taken here as a Christmas present from my incredibly lovely aunt and was immediately wowed by the large glass windows and their panoramic views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

With two tasting menus to choose from (there was also a mammoth eight course menu), eating at Quay is not just a meal – it’s an experience.

To start was a complimentary amuse bouche. Cubes of jelly-like tuna sashimi were floating on an egg white cream. Likes and dislikes disappeared as I tasted the food and the combination of ingredients subtly greeted my palate.

My first course was the Marron. Aware I had no idea what this entailed, the waitress was quick to inform me it was a crustacean so I chose the dish in anticipation of what was to come.

The marron arrived on a bed of young almonds, bergamot marmalade, grapefruit, green mango, elder and chamomile (see what I mean about ignoring the description?!). The Marron itself was beautiful. Gently poached, it tasted not dissimilar to langoustine but with a meatier texture, whilst the surrounding flavours certainly packed a punch.

Next came the Tiger flathead line caught in Tasmania, salt cured wild oyster cream, black lipped abalone, ice plant, sea cabbage and warrigal greens. Clueless to what any of this meant I established it was fish and thought I’d follow my sea theme as I overlooked the harbour water.

A small white fish fillet arrived with a salad of micro-greens and a smoothe oyster cream. As I attempted to combine all the ingredients in one mouthful  it was easy to see Gilmore’s attention to detail coming across in the dish.

I went vegetarian for my third course. Risotto made from Acquerello rice enriched with rice germ, truffle and white asparagus cream translated onto the plate as rice crispie risotto. Obviously the flakes of truffle and asparagus flavours gave the rice a grown up taste, but the rice germ added a crisp texture to the dish that was unlike any risotto I’d ever tasted – in a good way, of course.

My cousin’s Berkshire pig jowl was the softest pork I’d even bitten into whilst the Poached Wagyu beef was equally melt in the mouth.

Dessert choices tend to be pretty easy for me. I see the word ‘Chocolate’ and my mind is made up.

Quay’s Eight texture chocolate cake was to be my final challenge of the night. As the eighth layer, a rich chocolate ganache, was poured onto the round cake the centre of the cake gradually sunk as the waterfall of chocolate cascaded into it. Could I taste eight textures? No, not quite, but I could definitely establish about six different textures ranging from a solid disc of milk chocolate at the top of the cake to a biscuit layer near thebottom with mousses and pralines in between. Delicious.

My aunt opted for the snow egg – now famed from its appearance on Australian Masterchef – which was created using white nectarines in this current incarnation. In a rounded glass sat the egg with its crisp shell, soft white and rich orange yolk. Just how Gilmore originally created this dessert is certainly a question of science with the egg itself balanced on tart nectarine flakes of ice.

Also worth a mention was the Ewe’s milk ice-cream with the most delectable pulled toffee base and chocolate bark that made the presentation look like a feat of architectural design.

As we left feeling fuller than ever, reminiscing on the experience we’d just had something became apparently to me. Gilmore’s menu is not primarily about the tastes; it’s about the textures and flavours and how they marry one another to create something worthy of his three Chef Hats.

Quay is something special. It’s somewhere worthy of a special occasion meal – although I can’t see myself justifying the cost for an entire wedding party as was the case with the table next to us – and certainly will be a meal I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

Now I guess must remember I start student life in the next week or so. I’m feeling I may have to take a huge step back to prepare myself for Melbourne’s student dining options.

Any recommendations?




One response

8 02 2012

As a Sydney gal living in Melbourne I am glad you got to visit my beautiful hometown before heading down here. The locals here can be a bit negative about Sydney so it’s nice you got to see it untainted!

There are loads of cheap food options in Melbourne. Close to the Uni there is a great dumpling house called “Ma’s Dumpling House”.

If you need a hand with any items on your list I am happy to help out. Particularly music related as I have a little crew of music fans down here and I also have a list of things I need to do – seeing more live music is one of them for sure! Here is my list: http://onekindofme.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/101-in-1001-i-liked-it-so-i-stole-it.html

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