Considering I celebrated my last birthday at Tetsuya's, the only worthy restaurant for my 24th birthday would have had to be Quay; recipient of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide's three chefs hat since 2003 and Restaurant Of The Year in 2003 and 2005.
Quay's breaktaking views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Opera House makes it a destination for special occasions. But it was the exquisite four-course degustation that completes the superb view and makes this place one of Sydney's top restaurants.
We started with an appetiser which was a sublime showcase of what would be on offer. I don't recall the ingredients but the taste and texture was delicious... and the presentation which included little edible flowers were almost too pretty to eat.
Zen's entree of sea pearls were made up of delicate morsels of sea scallop, aquaculture caviar, creme fraiche, smoked eel, tapioca, crab, yuzu and egg white pearls. There was a $20 supplement associated with this dish but the interesting blend of flavours was rather divine. We love love loved it.
I had the sashimi toro and loin of South Australian Blue fin tuna which was served with minuscule radishes, dashi jelly and horseradish cream. It was bold, artistic and tasty.
A standout was Peter Gilmore's signature rare breed pig belly served with shavings of green lipped abalone and Japanese mushrooms. The lavish flavours were naturally balanced with handmade silken tofu and decorated with tiny chive flowers. The richness of this dish made me almost lick the plate clean... and led me to pay little attention to Zen's order of slow cooked quail breasts, shaved baby squid, hazelnuts, truffle and grey ghost mushrooms, which he gave thumbs up to.
The main dishes arrived with a side salad, tossed in a cabernet vinaigrette. My butter poached Murray Cod with shaved sea scallop, green garlic, pea shoots, celery heart cream and smoked eel reduction was tender, light and comforting.
Zen's poached fillet of pure black Angus Beef was rich and earthy. The beef was a perfect pink medium and was served with a khaki green blend of young spinach, morels and fresh Tasmanian wasabi butter. The wasabi butter wasn't as overpowering as you'd expect and went hand in hand with the poached tenderloin.
Earlier research had also mentioned a chocolate cake featuring Amedi 'Chuao' chocolate which boasted eight different textures. The waiter brought out a perfect circular mould of 7 chocolate layers. The last one was scooped from a pan of warm chocolate sauce which sunk the centre of the cake. It was a rather amazing process to watch. The cake was truly decadent... and not at all too rich. I loved the subtle hint of hazelnut... the textures, oh, the textures. Mmmm...
The pear creme caramel, sauterne jelly, pear icecream and caramel cream was nothing short of being fabulous either. Zen finished spoonful after spoonful in no time.
We finished off with tea and these beautiful passionfruit infused petit fours. The marshmallows were fruity and spongy, and the white chocolate truffles completed this memorable night on a sweet note.
While I don't think the service is up to scratch, Gilmore makes Quay a remarkable dining experience.
I felt so spoilt... hehe... thanks for the lovely night, Zen ;-)
Overseas Passenger Terminal
The Rocks, Sydney
Phone: +61 2 9251 5600