It could only be one place: Quay.
The rest of this post is probably going to be a bit of a jumble of words, because dining at Quay has been a something of a dream. Something to be reserved for a special occasion.
In short: it did not fail to impress.
My memory has been looping the flavours and textures of every single bite of my 4-course lunch, and it will probably remain that way until my next meal at Quay. And honestly, words are starting to fail me at this point as I was that impressed by the whole experience. Everything was immaculate. Amazing.
Friends of friends had been trying to make a reservation for a while, but to no avail. So when I made the reservation request for lunch, I had every expectation that the reply would be that they were fully booked. The first surprise was the reply I received on the same day, saying that they could book us in for lunch the next week. I, er, dropped my iPad as a result. That night, my lunch date and I had clothes and shoes and bags all picked out.
Excited would be an understatement.
|View from seat|
|Amuse bouche: sashimi of native marron, pomelo, roasted almond slivers, bergamot marmalade|
|Sashimi of Corner Inlet flathead, hiramasa kingfish, salt cured oyster cream, black lipped abalone, raw sea cabbage, nasturtiums, warrigals, periwinkles.|
Lightest of light in terms of treatment, the flavours of each ingredient shone through. The contrast between the soft kingfish, slightly elastic flathead and chewy abalone was rounded off perfectly by the oyster cream. The vegetables enhanced the freshness of the fish, with the sea cabbage highlighting the natural saltiness of the ocean. The portion was more generous than it seemed, which was a big plus.
|Jasmine and cassia scented poached chicken, shaved hand dived scallops, ginger curd, white eggplant cream, smoked eel pearl|
The taste was as clean as the presentation. Delicate, immaculate, beautiful, nothing was left on my lunch date's plate.
|Roasted quail breast, steamed truffle brioche, confit egg yolk, new season white walnuts, fumet of Vin Jaune|
Finally, a generous enough serve of truffle to satisfy my curiosity. Earthy, mushroomy and pungent, the truffle brought out the gamey umami-ness of the quail. The texture of the brioche was somewhere between bread and cake, it was very moist, very truffle-y and very, very soft.
|Smoked and confit pig's cheek, shaved scallops, Jerusalem artichoke leaves, juniper, bay|
So good it was, lunch date was rendered speechless - and that doesn't happen very often. The crispy Jerusalem artichoke leaves were paper thin and not at all greasy. Despite having next to no sauce there was enough moisture in the tender scallops and pig's cheek to carry through the flavour.
|Roasted pink snapper, ginger scented milk curd, kabu turnips, young leeks, shaved abalone, fennel, radish, oyster and seaweed consomee|
The lingering slight smokiness of the oyster and seaweed consomee permeated the dish with its umami taste. Perfectly balanced, perfectly seasoned, the only complaint was that the snapper was slightly overcooked and just a touch dry.
|Poached wagyu beef, oxtail, morel, black chocolate pudding, farro, buckwheat, hazelnut, ezekiel|
|Eight-textured chocolate cake|
Dessert was simply amazing. It was beyond our every expectation. The visual theatrics of the eight-textured chocolate cake, with the hot chocolate ganache melting the centre of the cake was surpassed by the delight of every bite. The crisp chocolate disc, the creamy mousses... every component was a delight in itself, and formed a harmony of chocolate eaten together. No other chocolate cake will ever come close.
|Guava snow egg|
The final surprise: petit fours. One of the waitstaff had found out that we were celebrating not one, but three special occasions, and brought this lovely plate out to congratulate us. One was a cocoa dusted, dark chocolate truffle covered in chocolate covered puffed rice, and the other was a caramel truffle with a roast hazelnut centre. These were the most delightful truffles I had tasted all year. So immaculate and beautiful the writing was, we had to be prompted by the waitstaff to smear it with our fingers.
Quay is truly worthy of all its accolades. I have never encountered lovelier staff, better service, amazing food and greater attention to detail. It is a dining experience that will remain as one of my fondest food memories, I am sure.