Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Only two restaurants in Australia made it to the World's Top 50 Restaurants, both of which are in Sydney. Yesterday, I visited Quay, ranked #27, the highest in Australia, surpassing Tetsuya's (perhaps the more well known of the two).

The location is breathtaking. I can only imagine how magnificent it would be at night, with the shimmering lights, water and Australia's iconic harbour bridge. But, even during the day, the openness of the restaurant leaves you feeling a little indulgent.The restaurant itself, is on the upper level of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, in Circular Quay (same location as the Opera House). The space is what I would say understated, with the view being the hero.

Before I continue however, let me make something very very clear, Quay Restaurant, is not for the faint hearted and your pockets need to be deep...very deep. This my friend, is where the platinum cards come out to play. This restaurant is perhaps one of Australia's most expensive restaurants - lunch with some drinks, was the equivalent to a degustation dinner in Melbourne.

Starting off with a complimentary shooter of salmon sashimi, which came with creme fraiche and microherbs. Simple but nothing new.

I opted for their regular menu, as they also offer their full 7 course degustation, which I thought was a bit much for lunch. Sea pearls came as 4 spherical balls of things of the sea. Their menu has smoked eel, tuna, sea scallop, abalone and octopus as the features. I really can't remember all the elements, but sashimi style scallops were brillaint.

For mains I elected to go with a roasted mulloway with a mish mash of flowers, currants and bits and pieces. Presentation, in my opinion, was brilliant. The mulloway itself, was cooked to absolute perfection, beautifully crisp outside with the perfect amount of seasoning, and the flesh itself, succulent and moist. This without a doubt, is up there with best fish dish I've ever eaten. The photos speak for themselves in regards to the visuals of each dish. Intricate, contemporary with a wow factor that is not often seen.

The pomme puree - freaken amazing. It tasted like potato. It tasted so much like potato that sometimes even a real potato doesn't taste as good. I don't know how to describe it.It epitomises what potato should taste like.

Dessert was a surprise, a strawberry guava and custard apple snow egg, was a spherical meringue with a crisp caramel coating, and a custard-like centre, surrounded by ice, or "snow, with a fruity base. To clarify, I am not a fan of meringue, pavlova, or anything with "sugar and egg". But this was stunning.

At a place like Quay, you'd hope, and in fact, expect service that is flawless in every aspect. But, there was something a bit mechanical, but to too proper that did not seem to tick the boxes for effortless service. To be fair, it was technically great, but I didn't feel immediately at ease. For example, at Jacques Reymond, you are made to feel instantly welcome. Ezard, accomodating and personable, but I felt Quay lacked this element. Something that is more tacit and not so clear that I can pinpoint.

But what do I know? It has been ranked #27 in the World, and really, that speaks volumes rather than my random rant.

Overall, Quay is, most definitely, a destination restaurant. An occasion restaurant for the most special of occasions. But please bring your Platinum card,...


Quay Restaurant, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney


ebr999 said...

When are you going to do a review of Macdonalds? Or Subway? I feel that you are not reviewing the whole spectrum of restuarants and thus your loyal readers are missing out on potential dining experiences.

Dave said...

Why would you sully my post with such comments? OF ALL my posts, you choose Quay to sully. You have dirtied it beyond recognition. I am now really angry. You know, reviewing things is a lot of work. Taking photos is so embarrassing. Maybe next time when you're back, you can come with me and take photos. Whilst you're at it, you may as well pay the bill.

ebr999 said...

I'll photograph away. I have no shame. There is a place in Dublin called the Epicurean Food Hall, and it has all these stalls where you pay 10e for a plate and can pile on as much as you want. Derek always makes me go in to get the food cos I have no shame in making my pile as high as possible, then we both eat it. That's how little shame i have. Photos is nothing!!