I've been spoilt. Many times.
I must have eaten at Quay on a dozen or so occasions during the last few years (one of the lovelier aspects of being a cookbook publisher !) and have formed a close friendship with a few of the crew - including Peter Gilmore (one of the nicest and most talented chefs you could ever wish to meet, the fabulous Mr John Fink (General Manager of the Fink Group who own the restaurant) and Kylie Ball (uber lovely and clever Operations Manager). Handy peeps to be buddies with at the end of the day - but as it happens they all rock ! As do the rest of the team who make me feel part of the family every time I walk through the door - and like a princess when I'm at the table. Thanks guys.
Each time I have the pleasure of dining at Quay I have a moment where I anticipate the possibility that I might, on that particular occasion, start to feel like I have "been there, done that" because, sadly, it has happened to me at many restaurants on repeat visitations... But not once have I felt that way at Quay - in fact, if it is possible, it just keeps getting better. Peter Gilmore is a freak - in the best possible way.
Last week I enjoyed lunch with 3 sake makers who were visiting from Japan. One of them spends over 300 days a year travelling and eating his way around the best restaurants in the world. He is rather difficult to impress when it comes to food and sways strongly towards straight up French haute cuisine - so I was a little nervous about introducing him to Quay (which was utterly ridiculous of course - it is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world for bleep's sake!). Naturally he was blown away - as were his colleagues - and so was I. All over again. In fact it was as close to perfect as a meal might be.
There's no point in gushing over individual dishes as they were all as wonderful as each other - instead I shall let the pics speak for themselves...
Amuse bouche of smoked carrot puree, eel jelly, rye crumbs
Black winter truffle, roasted hazelnut, jamon de bellota, salsify, shaved mushrooms, juniper, pea flowers (the sauce underneath is an mayonnaise-like sauce made from whipped jamon fat)
Salad of pickled rhubarb, endive, beetroot, purple carrot, rosa radish, kohlrabi, sheeps milk curd, pomegranate molasses, violet
Organic heirloom carrots, cumin, fennel & celery seeds, comte-infused curd, almonds, amaranth
Gentle braise of black lipped abalone, rare breed pig belly, shiitake, native warrigal greens, ginger scented milk curd, wakame juices, tasmanian wasabi flowers
Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil
Roasted new season chestnuts, grain, nut and seed risotto, truffle cream
If there was ever a restaurant that DIDN'T require a view... but hey, what can you do - Harbour bridge on my left, Opera House straight ahead... ho hum....
Guava and custard apple snow egg (even after all the hype - it's still sensational)
Wild cherry compote, coconut cream, chuao chocolate crumble, cherry juice and chocolate sorbet (OMG)
Quay's 8 textured chocolate cake
(Now let me tell you - before we tested this recipe for the book we thought "hey, it is just going to be too hard for the home cook" - but our recipe tester nailed it - a testament to Peter's recipe writing skills. It is a lot of work, but not difficult - and worth buying the book for this recipe alone!!. I am a little biased of course... but it IS a thing of beauty and works just as well on the coffee table as in the kitchen - so go on - what are you waiting for?!)