"If the lingual nerve is damaged, there is a risk of altered taste sensation" I read in the list of Possible Complications of Surgery. This was enough to make me quietly ask Bill whether we could go to Quay before I possibly lose my taste sensations and he agreed it was a good idea WOOHOO! But he also went one step further and offered to take me again after my surgery for the tasting menu "just to see if my taste did change" - best bf ever.
Quay is located on the Overseas Passenger Terminal (Circular Quay West) with an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House all lit up. It's currently ranked 26th Best Restaurant in the World in the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants. Upon entering Quay we were greeted by friendly staff offering to take our bags and led us to our table. The crisp white linen against the dark furnishings and candle lights gave it a very elegant atmosphere.
We were both very excited about our dinner at Quay, we had even discussed what we would each be ordering before hand so we could try most of the dishes we wanted by sharing. Unfortunately the night did not go swimmingly due to the actions of one waitress below but moving forward. After ordering we were served an Amuse Bouche of Smoked eel jelly in white carrot cream with caraway crumbs, whilst I was a bit hesitant of the smoked eel, it was very subtle and enough to whet our appetites as we readied ourselves for the rest of the evening. We were also served bread of our choice with unsalted butter - I chose the polenta and sunflower seed bread which turned out to be quite a heavy bread and Bill chose the rye.
For Course One Bill chose the Mud crab congee which wasn't the traditional type of Chinese congee we were used to but I loved it nonetheless, the flavour of the crab was subtle and I loved the clean broth and the egg emulsion added a creaminess and thickness to the dish. Me on the other hand could not go past the Sea Pearls presented so beautifully I almost didn't want to eat it...almost. Four perfect and delicate pearls placed in front of me, resisting the urge to pop them into my mouth whole, instead dissecting each one to savour the uniqueness and complexity of each pearl and also giving Bill a little taste too. My favourite was the crab pearl with a silver foil and the octopus came at a close second but they were all so delicious I'm definitely ordering these babies again next time.
Our Second Course arrived, and the alarm bells started ringing in my head because what was served in front of me was not the dish I ordered, the Black lipped abalone, pearl oyster, shiitake, ginger scented milk curd, earth and sea consommé was placed in front of me. Though it was not the dish I ordered, I decided to go along with it anyway and it was beautiful and I especially loved the ginger scented milk curd where the ginger was not overpowering but complemented the rest of the broth. Bill ordered the Butter poached coturnix quail breast which deceptively looked like it had a liver texture, was tender and very earthy with the mixture of walnuts, chestnuts and ethical foie gras pudding. It was definitely the richest of flavours we have had so far this evening and the crunch of quinoa made it a very interesting dish.
Our Fourth Course came out and we found that this time it was not the dish Bill had ordered, quite taken aback Bill kindly told the waiter that he had ordered the Berkshire pig jowl. The waiter apologised and headed back to the kitchen and promptly informed us that the chef would be making the pig jowl now and there would be a 6 minute delay, which didn't bother us at all. My Poached Wagyu Beef was tender, the morel gave it a deep flavour and a hint of sweetness from the black pudding made this a delicious dish. However the dish of the night was hands down the Berkshire pig jowl which filled the air with the sweet aroma of caramel. We're told jowl is the lower part of the cheek, a delicacy which was incredibly tender and melted in our mouths, the prune balanced the sweetness and the maltose crackling was different and not what we're used to but we loved it. The portion looks quite small but it definitely fills you up. We were also served a mixed green salad with sauvignon dressing which helped balance the heaviness of our meals.
Now for the piece de resistance - dessert! Bill chose Quay's eight textured chocolate cake which only had seven textures when placed in front of us, with a waitress bringing out the eighth texture - a chocolate sauce in a copper pot and ladled upon the cake creating a sexy dent. Bill isn't really a chocolate person but he devoured it. The chocolate cake was rich, bitter and sweet all in one and was sinfully good. I chose the Guava and custard apple snow egg which was absolutely divine, from the crack of the shell revealing a soft, airy meringue and a gooey custard to the very last spoon of guava granita. It was so fruity and refreshing, I could have had another one and was a delightful way to finish the night.
Unfortunately our dining experience was dampened by what I felt was a slack waitress. She was quite lovely at first, but we were concerned as she took our orders:
For my Second Course I had ordered the Gently poached southern squid & rock lobster to which she replied "yes, the abalone is a good choice" which left both Bill and I confused and I just assumed she knew better and that the squid and rock lobster dish also contained abalone. However what was placed in front of me was a completely different dish, believing it was partly my fault for not confirming with her I happily had the abalone dish which indeed was lovely.For our Fourth Course I had ordered the Poached Wagyu Beef and Bill ordered the Berkshire Pig Jowl to which she replied "ohh great the pig jowl as well for you" which had Bill and I looking at each other as we had ordered different dishes. I shook it off thinking she had a brain fart when what you say is not what she wanted to say. However, when the time came disappointingly we were both served the Wagyu Beef which was quickly rectified by the friendly waiter. Unfortunately the original waitress who had taken our order brought the correct dishes back with a side of nasty attitude as she said "Sorry about that. I do this for a living you'd think I wouldn't make these mistakes but anyhoo" which I perceived as passive aggressive and yes she really did say "anyhoo". If you know Bill, he is not one to get angry at little things but this really infuriated him as he did say he wanted the pig jowl, and the waitress also did not look at us as she "apologised" nor did she look at us for the rest of the evening, which we found very insincere, rude and disappointing service.On the other hand the waiter who had brought out two Wagyu beefs came back at the end of our meal to apologise for the mix up and was very sincere and friendly about the situation and we felt that it was a very lovely gesture on his part.Admittedly we were quite daft as we felt pangs of concern as she was taking our order, yet we didn't press her to read and confirm the order out to us. However, I don't feel as if it was fault on our part and in no way did Bill deserve her nasty remarks. Sadly this dampened our spirits and poor Bill felt uneasy for the rest of the night.
Nevertheless dining at Quay was a culinary experience, we were left amazed at how beautiful each dish was presented and I especially loved the sexy curves of the ceramics. I don't believe my photos captured the delicateness, uniqueness and complexity of each dish placed before us and how amazed we were. It was also an enjoyable evening learning more about foods such as the divine jowl, the edible palm hearts and the freshly sprouted grains making ezekiel bread. Though our evening was somewhat ruined by the actions of one waitress, we will definitely be heading back there for another exquisite meal.
Amuse Bouche Smoked eel jelly, white carrot cream and caraway crumbs
Mud crab congee, fresh palm heart,
Hand shelled mud crab, Chinese inspired split rice porridge
Crab and tapioca, smoked eel octopus, sea scallop and sashimi tuna with aquaculture caviar
Gentle braise of black lipped abalone
pearl oyster, rare breed pig, shiitake, ginger scented milk curd, earth and sea consommé
Butter poached coturnix quail breast
pumpernickel & ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle, chestnuts, milk skin
pumpernickel & ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle, chestnuts, milk skin
Poached Wagyu beef
oxtail, morel, black pudding, farro, buckwheat, hazelnut, ezekiel
Berkshire pig jowl
maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil
Quay's eight texture chocolate cake
Guava and custard apple snow egg
Latte in a cute cup
Petit Fours Milk chocolate praline and dark chocolate puff