Thursday, July 19, 2012


29th in the world, best in Australia. Three hats and three stars. Peter Gilmore.

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
Two graduations, one new job, and one farewell: we had rolled four reasons into one to justify splurging at Quay. Not that anyone needs a reason to visit Quay other than for one of the best dining experiences available in the country, of course. We relaxed into our seats and took our time looking through the menus.

Amuse bouche: sashimi of native marron, pomelo, roasted almond slivers, bergamot marmalade
Being impressed by the first bite happens a lot. Being continued to be impressed by subsequent bites doesn't happen often. Languishing every bite doesn't happen often. Frozen in liquid nitrogen, the pomelo presented the most interesting texture, with its hardish exterior and somewhat chewy yet soft-ish interior, somewhat changing and almost disguising the taste of pomelo. The marron was soft, tender,  slightly salty, and the bergamot enhanced each bite with its fresh, citrusy bursts.

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
In one word: it was impressive. Rich, tender, juicy, the beef was perfectly cooked. The crust and pudding formed an interesting textural contrast, and it worked. Every bite was relished with delight, though it did get slightly salty towards the end.

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
 Yet another visual delight, and an absolute masterpiece. Cracking the snow-dusted toffee exterior, there was first a white layer of meringue before reaching the guava yolk custard centre. The contrast between the softness of meringue, cold refreshment of the guava granita was offset by the bottommost layer of cream. Nothing short of perfection.

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.


Quay Restaurant


  1. Great celebration lunch!
    Feels like it's my turn to try to book a table again. Oh the anticipated potential disappointment. lol

  2. Hi Yas! Long time no see!
    Lunch was fabulous. Good luck with booking a table! Seems like lunch reservations are easier to get than dinner ones.

  3. Have to say, the food looks beautiful. Clean, subtle, light.. yet the combinations are unique. and the petit fours! they look beautiful!

    1. Come and visit, and I will make sure we're there for something. Miss you!

  4. hmm...i wrote a comment last night, it probably didn't get thru. so glad u punched out this post so quickly!! i must say when L and I went for her bday we were slightly underwhelmed. but i do think i'd enjoy a day meal more! your dishes looked great. me thinks i will do that next time as well. loving your work! do keep it up!

    1. Interesting... wonder why blogger ate up the comment last night. We spent an afternoon going through the online menu trying to work out the 'right' combo of dishes, actually. Thanks, I'll try and keep up with this current pace.