For A's birthday this year (aka my bestie), her hubby organised a surprise dinner for four of us at Pier in Rose Bay. The booking was made about a month in advance and A had no idea till the night that J&I were coming. It was only when she was seated at a table of 4 with her hubby that it occurred to her that there were two more people coming. Apparently, her first guess was that it would be me so to the hubby, you did a good job and we managed to keep it a surprise!
I've known Pier by name for awhile now and so I literally jumped at the invitation for dinner when it came my way. First thing I did was to go to the website to check out the menu which probably hasn't been updated in awhile - there wasn't any info on the degustations and I actually thought they didn't have one (which seemed a little odd). I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 degustations on offer when I got there on the night.
We ended up going for the 8 course degustation for $179pp.
Apologies for the following photos. I don't have the best of cameras and have yet learn how to use one properly! J requested a photo of his gin and tonic glass. See how the glass is shaped?
Sourdough to start with - served with butter and salt flakes. J went crazy on the salt flakes and very shortly afterwards was whispering into my ear whether or not we could ask for more bread. FYI: They come back with more bread after Course 5.
Course 1: Cone of King Salmon Tartare. You pick it up and eat it like an icecream. At first I thought I'd be left with an empty cone but just like an icecream, as you bite into it, you'll find that the filling falls down into the cone so you'll have a nice spread of salmon tartare throughout! The little black balls you see are capers.
Course 2: Carpaccio of Kingfish. We debated this one at the table - definitely have the kingfish pieces with the vinaigrette (otherwise it doesn't have much flavour).
Course 3: Tian of Spanner Crab. I didn't get a photo of the pea jus when it came to the table. It was actually in a small glass jar and the waitress poured it onto the dish at the table.
Course 4: Pan Roasted Scallops. I was told that the scallops were Pier's signature dish and A's hubby had been talking about it from the start of the meal. It certainly didn't disappoint!
Course 5: Crispy Skinned Murray Cod. As strange as it'll sound, my favourite item on the night was the bitter orange mash that was on this plate. If only they could serve up a little more on the plate!
There was a bit of a break between Course 5 and 6, during which A's hubby started telling us about the goat's curd in the next course. At some point, J asks the question 'So what's the shape of it' to which my response was 'We're not talking about goat's turd'! I'm so glad he didn't speak any louder or ask one of the waiters/waitresses.
Course 6: Capparis Goat's Curd. Eaten with the brioche and poached pears, it's actually quite nice - admittedly, goat's curd is a bit of an acquired taste as it has a strong, distinctive flavour which A's hubby wasn't a particular fan of.
Turns out A isn't a big fan of goat's curd either and she hardly touched hers. The hubby helps cleans the plate nonetheless and does it in one gulpful.
Course 7: Beet Sponge. I was fascinated by this when it came to the table - it's so soft and spongy and tastes great with the chocolate sauce. Would love to find out how they make this - it tastes and looks almost like the soft bit in a crusty bread roll.
Course 8: Caramel Rum Braised Banana. My favourite course would have to be this one. It's a work of art how the dessert comes to the table and the mix of flavours is perfect. I loved the coconut sorbet, the rum sponge, the tamarind jelly and the crumbling of almond brittle - there wouldn't be a thing that I'd change.
The four of us.You probably can't tell in the above photo but where we were seated looks out onto the water. I was saying to A how it would've been good to come during the day because you'd have a fantastic view to look out onto. At night, all you can see is the lights from buildings and houses.
Personally I thought the 8 course degustation hit the spot. I enjoyed every course, the food was immaculately presented (I was probably the slowest eater at the table because I wanted to keep everything intact) and at the end of the meal, I wasn't feeling uncomfortably full which is what I've found with other degustations I've had in the past. Admittedly, you need to love seafood to enjoy the degustation and for me, it was just perfect! Service was just as perfect and immaculate over the 3 hour period that we were there - I couldn't have asked for more.
Ample parking is available on the street (well at night time anyway). If you're heading here for the first time (from the city), keep your eyes out as you get onto New South Head Road - you'll be looking for a stand alone building that juts out into the water. You won't actually see the Pier Restaurant sign until you've driven past and look back. Obviously if you're coming from the other direction, you shouldn't have any problems.
Hope you had a great birthday A!