Keen on Quay – Quay Restaurant Sydney
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Hickson Rd, The Rocks, Sydney
Executive Chef: Peter Gilmore + Chef de Cuisine: Robert Kabboord
Awards: 3 hats (2016)
Third times a charm? When a friend is in Sydney and they want to dine at the most iconic restaurant location, there is no other option than QUAY. On the juncture of The Rocks, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, you cannot get more impressive, especially if you are seated right in the corner surrounded by windows. This was my third dining experience at Quay. The first, my party was seated near the entrance to the kitchen and unimpressively had drafts and noise the whole night. The second time, we had a much better table, but completely forgot what we were eating as the wine was so good and one of our guests was not much of a foodie. I actually cannot remember what we ate which equals no review. Third time was a charm and as we sat in prime position with a full view of the harbour, we were acutely focused on the meal at hand and it was beautiful.
Quay is iconic, not only for its location but also its impressive array of awards including ranking in the Top 100 Restaurants in the World (currently #98), Three Hats from the Good Food Guide (14 years running) and of course the celebrity of Peter Gilmore and his impressive collection of published works and television appearances. He is legend to say the least. The price is not for the faint-hearted and you will spend large on a good evening with good wine and good friends (Tasting Menu is $235 per person + Wine pairing – $105 for classic wine or $195 for premium wines per person).
It’s an 8 course degustation with a tip-of-the-hat to Australian ingredients – think organic, botanic and earthy. We start light with ‘New Season’s Muntries‘ which are plants that grow along the southern coast of Australia. It is a lovely fresh start and it continues to progress in an eclectic way including Wagyu before fish and fish before duck. This is not standard as a degustation in my experience progresses from vegetable to light/heavy seafood, to light meat (chicken/pork) to red meat (duck/beef) and occasionally a palette cleanser in between. The Wagyu is served up front as the first meat dish and it is raw. To someone new to degustation that would be incredibly confronting. However the raw meat is sweet which does not jar too much with the transition to ‘Uni, koshihikari rice, salted yolk, fish maw, sweet prawn, umami broth‘ dish which is also sweet but with completely different texture.
Stand out dishes are the Wagyu (with applause to the micro funghi), closely followed by the Roasted masterstock duck. The famous Snow Egg makes an appearance however it is then followed by another dish that was non-descript so probably should not have ended the meal. If I was to choose, I would add the beautiful optional shaved cheese course (just delicious) and end with the signature Snow Egg. It’s a personal choice and I am not the award winning chef, so just my two cents. Another nod should also go to the non-alcoholic drinks match which was excellent and well worth the extra $75.
Third time was most definitely the charm at Quay.