Friday, 1 January 2010

quay @ overseas passenger terminal, the rocks

Hope everyone had a good christmas and happy new year! I had a week off work which swept by in a whirlwind and going back to work today felt like I didn't even have a break. I guess that's what work does to you. Well given the new year, I've been asked a couple of times what my new year's resolutions are and I have to say, amongst the many is the need to clear my backlog of posts. Over the break, the pile seems to have grown and here goes for an attempt at sticking to this resolution for this year.

For my birthday (it's not too bad, just a month ago), J had organised for 4 of us to go to dinner at Quay. The booking was made months in advance, during which time J probably called half a dozen times to change the booking and well, on the day, I was joined for dinner by Mrs Rookie and her hubby.

Mrs Rookie & me.
We asked for the menu whilst we waited for Mr Rookie to find parking (generally not the best on a Saturday night) and was asked whether we wanted the complete go-through of the menu with the 3 of us at the table as apparently it takes a good 10 minutes to go through. We opted to wait as we had already had a quick squiz off the menu outside at the front door.
Mrs Rookie and her hubby have both been here before and suggested taking the 4 course menu @$155pp (which I thought was just right at the end of the night). Otherwise, on offer is also the Signature menu which consists of 7 courses @ $210pp. To be honest, if you're dining as a group of close friends you can actually try more getting the 4 course menu and just taking forkfuls of each other's dishes. Anyway, starting the dinner that night was this amuse bouche of tuna with creme fraiche, horseradish and tapioca. I love tapioca as a sweet and was very surprised how fitting it was in this savoury dish.
I'd read about them and sitting down at the table, Mrs Rookie already said that this was a must order. The Sea Pearls - a combo of sashimi tuna, aquaculture caviar, sea scallop, smoked eel, octopus, mud crab, abalone. This dish does come at a $20 supplement which might seem a little excessive when you're first looking at the menu but you can't say you've been to Quay unless you've tried this dish. There's every reason why this is one of Quay's signature dishes.
The prettiest of them all. This was Mrs Rookie's Confit of shaved South Australia squid, garlic custard, baby radishes, flowers, roasted squid consomme.
There were 3 types of bread on offer that night: organic white, malt and sunflower seed bread. As usual, J had a good time eating his bread :)
Crisp confit of pig belly, braise of abalone and cuttlefish, handmade silken tofu, Japanese mushrooms, chive flowers. This dish tasted uncanningly like one of the dishes that my dad cooks at home - which is usually a braise of leftover pork belly, tofu and asian mushrooms. Both flavours the same but this one was definitely much more artfully presented.
Here was my second course: Gently poached quail (usually partridge breast but wasn't on offer on the night), bitter chocolate black pudding and walnut crumbs, truffle custard, fresh palm hearts, white borage buds. I was intrigued to order this one by the range of flavours and unusual ingredients in it. It's probalby not as pretty a dish as the others but definitely one packed with new and intriguing flavours.
Slow cooked red mullet, tomato and mussel confit, pink onions, octopus, wild mountain radichhio, chilli threads, radish flower.

This is actually a meat dish (the meat is just hiding behind); sous vide pure bred Suffolk lamb loin, spring vegetables, comte-infused fresh milk curd, roasted quinoa, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, hazelnuts. How and where does the chef come up with such amazing combos?
A complimentary side green salad, lightly dressed.
Crish pressed duck confit, kabu turnips, winter melon, hasuimo, garlic scapes, sea scallops, duck juices. Mr Rookie's comment after tasting was that this was yet another Asian inspired dish. It reminded him of the crispy BBQ duck you buy at Asian BBQ stores.
Slow braised Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, Pedro Ximenez noble sour vinegar, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil. Quite a sweet dish and the toffee like crackling is simply luscious.
The four of us!
For dessert, we ordered 4 different ones to share amongst the table. Here's the well matched combo of mangosteen, rose jelly and meringue.
My favourite dessert for the night would be this Eight texture chocolate cake featuring Amedei 'Chuao' chocolate. I ended up asking one of the waiter what the 8 textures were and well, I'm keeping that one a secret for now. Do try this if you find yourself at Quay.
White Peach Snow Egg. Another one of Quay's signature dishes which you just have to try to see how good it is.
Wild strawberries with butterscotch icecream. How tiny and juicy were the strawberries!
It goes without saying that we cleared each and every plate that landed on our table, and that includes even the butter dish/es! And well, had they left the bread basket on the table, I'm sure J and Mr Rookie would've been more than happy to eat it all.

Service here was immaculate and wait staff were friendly and knowledgeable about the food on offer. Every waiter that we interrupted or came to our table eagerly went through each dish with us and you could see how their faces lit up when they were talking about the food. That's certainly a first for me at any restaurant and kudos to you for it.

And did I mention that our table looked out onto the water and the Sydney Opera House? Couldn't really get any good photos once it started to get dark but one amazing view, paired with good wine, good food and good company, I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my birthday. Thanks Mr & Mrs Rookie for joining us for dinner - the night wouldn't have been the same without you both. Thanks J for organising. You guys are the best!


mashi said...

hey Jenny, happy belated birthday. The dinner looks fantastic!

panda said...

mashi - thanks! you should definitely try quay, definitely one of the top 10 places i'd recommend for dining :)

Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

I have booked at Quay for 13th Feb.. so excited ! Definitely order the pearls. What main should I choose? hehe..

panda said...

beansprout - 2nd course, i'd say try the poached patridge breast for something different and for third course/main - i think you'll quite like the lamb loin. try to get everyone ordering different things so you can try a bit of everything.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I have read so many wonderful things about Quay, but still haven't been! It will happen, it will happen...

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time! I waiting to see what you thought of it. Isn't the view just sublime!

panda said...

mademoiselle delicieuse - do try quay some day! it's definitely very worth it.

nqn - arguably the best view for any sydney restaurant!

Betty said...

aw this is on my list of to eat but i would only be going for the vego degu, but the deserts look amazing!

char said...

aww such a lovely review :) photos turned out really well too ! glad you enjoyed it especially after a whole week of birthday dinners hehe ;)

panda said...

betty - i didn't realise you were vegetarian? the desserts are good and you should definitely try all of them if you can :)

char - i do like it when it's my b'day :) it's an excuse to eat more food! thanks for being such great company on the night and always!