Sunday, June 28, 2009

Incredible dinner at Quay

I’ve been waiting for an occasion to visit Quay restaurant (at the end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay, Sydney), so as for bf’s birthday was this week I decided we’d go there to celebrate. He actually wanted Japanese, but we went to Ocean Room for his birthday last year, and to Azuma for mine, so 'we are going to Quay', I said/demanded.

Quay has won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award for 2009 from both Australian Gourmet Traveller and the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, so my expectations were high. And yes, the meal was incredible!

The two of us were seated in the couples’ turret in the upstairs section. It shares a terrace area with the function room next door where there was a wedding on. The tables in this section is mainly for twos, with a table for four in the centre.

The service at Quay is spot on, attentive and friendly without being uppity. The waiters are really knowledgeable about the menu and the sources of ingredients, much of which is sourced from local producers. The menu consists of an a la carte where you order 4 dishes from a selection ($145 per person). Or there is a ‘signature menu’, where you get 5 dishes from a set ($195 per person). We went for the 4 courses.

After ordering, we received an amuse bouche of tuna tartare, with cucumber jelly and yuzu crème fraiche. It was one of those dishes where you put some in your mouth and then go ‘Oh my god, this is reaalllly goood!’. They also have a selection of breads, including a delicious sunflower seed and polenta.

My first entrée was the mud crab congee, while bf had the sea pearls ($25 extra supplement). These 2 dishes are considered signature dishes for Quay. The ‘congee’ is more like a very flavoursome broth, with lots of mud crab pieces. The sea pearls are ball of seafood, like tuna, caviar, scallop, smoked eel, octopus and pearl meat. It’s presented on a faceted glass dish and if you ever go to Quay, you have to have it.

A bit of a break to take in the view:

Second entrée was pork belly for me and partridge for bf. Crisp pork belly (a bit dry, though the fat was rendered, a la Masterchef) came with a shaving of abalone and delicious Japanese mushrooms and handmade silken tofu. The partridge was poached, giving it a soft tender lusciousness. It was accompanied by truffle custard (OMG!) and a bitter chocolate black pudding (double-OMG!!).

My main was a boneless lamb shoulder that had been roasted for 24 hours. Tender, melt-in-the-mouth, it was. Bf had the fish, a groper served with Asian-inspired winter melon, periwinkles, scallops, abalone, with a green tea consommé poured over it at the table. I think he got the best dishes of the night, and rightly so, since it was his birthday!

My dessert was my highlight – so pretty I couldn’t stop taking photos of it. A melange of raspberries, sorbet quenelles, sugared almonds, vanilla cream - and violets! The flavour was light, refreshing, sweet and enchanting. Bf had the cheese plate ($10 supplement), which had a hard cheddar and soft sheep’s milk brie (both French), and a blue cheese (Irish).

I had a tea and petits fours ($8) to finish. The serving sizes were just right, though bf had about 3 serves of the bread (‘well, they keep offering it’) and he really enjoyed it as well.

I think this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Quay is probably more of a special occasion restaurant, but with food this good, I won’t have any problem coming up with ‘special occasions’ so I can visit (may also need a second income to pay for it, but let's not worry about that for now).

And a final look at the view before we ventured into the night.

Quay restaurant is in the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney. Ph: 02 9251 5600

Quay on Urbanspoon


  1. It is just such a lovely space as well as having the best food in Oz....

  2. Oh everything looks amazing! I can totally understand why you couldn't stop taking photos of the dessert :) Happy birthday to the bf! I was tossing up between here and becasse for my graduation dinner, I will have to save it for another upcoming occasion.

  3. the food looks fantastic! and the view is definitely a bonus! my b'day isn't till the end of the year but i'm already secretly hinting to the boy that i want to come here for dinner...i should amp up my hints after reading your post!

  4. This place has been in my wish list.. thanks for such a lovely review.. the food look amazing !

  5. Wow. Looks like a fabulous dinner. This is on my list for special occasions!

  6. Oh you are one lucky chicky!!! Quay has only been in my wildest dreams and I suppose will remain there for some time but it's ok hehe! Oh and that dessert is looking quite soooo good!

  7. Food looks stunning, so does the view! I like how they have the 'couple' seating as it really makes a difference when dining with a partner or on a date :)

  8. Oh wow, I think I need to get here soon! It's so different to what I remember (in a good way :) )

  9. Those sea pearls look wonderful. Mud crab congee - wow! Quay is definitely on the top of my 'must try' list.

  10. OOhh I can't wait for another special occasion so I can go there again!

  11. Hi tummyrumble/reem – you are 100%correct, Quay has everything going for it!

    Hi Steph – Becasse is fantastic as well, but there’s no view. You definitely have to try Quay next time.

    Hi panda – just log onto their website and print off copies of their menu and leave them lying around!

    Hi bean sprout – thanks, it was a lovely place and very easy to find compliments about!

    Hi Betty – Quay was on my list for ages. Lucky bf’s birthday is before mine!

    Hi Trisha – the dessert was so amazing. It had real violets sprinkled through it, too.

    Hi Howard – yes, it’s good that the larger tables are all downstairs, so the atmosphere upstairs is more romantic!

    Hi Lorraine – I’d love to see you review it! The presentation and everything at Quay was tops.

    Hi Zina – the congee wasn’t lik traditional congee, but sooo tasty. And the sea pearls – swoon!

    Hi FFichiban – I wish I could go every month, week, 2nd day!

  12. I've wanted to go to Quay for SOOO long! Every time I see someone write an entry about it a little part of me becomes so jealous! One day I'll get there, it will just have to involve and interstate trip. The sea pearls look so interesting!

  13. hi Maria - but there are so many fabulous restaurants in Melbourne as well. Why don't we swap places for a week and then you can visit Quay and I can go to Vue du Monde?

  14. I'm so glad you've posted on Quay! I'm hoping to go in October for my birthday and it's great to hear you had a fantastic time:)

  15. hi Anita - you lucky thing! My bday's in October too, and it's far enough away that I can plan another visit, I think...

  16. Looks so good and the view is to die for! I've heard so much about that mud crab congee. Must go!

  17. Hi Belle.

    I've just booked for lunch at the end of the month, and we're really looking forward to it. However, they're going to be seating us on the terrace. As someone who's been there, do you know if we will still have a nice view?


  18. hi Paula - you'll love it at Quay! The restaurant has full windows on both levels, I think, so you should be able to have a great view regardless of where you're seated. The terrace sounds lovely. Please let me know how your meal is - I wish I could go again soon.