Continuing my birthday celebration at Quay restaurant in Sydney…
Bone Marrow Noodles, Mud Crab; Miso Butter
Who knew… that a bowl of noodles could be this flavoursome! First of all, a big thumbs up to the noodles… creamy, sticky and chewy. The bite reminds me of the Shanghai noodle but the body and the texture of the noodles were more jellylike.
The fattiness of the bone marrow, the hint of the sea from the crab and the umami flavour from the miso butter coated the noodle deliciously! This bowl of goodness was meaty (although hardly any meat), luscious and satisfying. This was no doubt my favourite course of the night and Kent’s too. Needless to say, we wanted MORE!!!
One of the main reasons why I chose a modern Australian cuisine to celebrate my milestone birthday is, as a Chinese girl born and raised in Taiwan, I have been living in Australia longer than my homeland of Taiwan. I think it’s fair to pay homage to Australian food on this special occasion. Plus, I couldn’t find a hatted dégustation menu based on Chinese or Taiwanese cuisine anywhere in Sydney. If you happen to know such venues, please let me know in the comments.
2016 Maretti Barolo, Piemonte, Italy
Finally an Italian wine (our sommelier that evening was an Italian lady)! This red wine had a beautiful ruby hue. The taste was dry but had earthy undertones. Very smooth and well balanced. Another great choice we liked. Kent swears he’s doing well tasting the various terroirs tonight.
Slow Cooked Pig Jowl, Umami Custard; Black Pig Salami
Meaty, juicy and rich! We loved how the silky, tender pig cheeks melted in our mouth when we took a bite. The saltiness of the salami and the sweetness of the pork jowl complimented each other in harmony.
Layers of the Umami Custard provided a rich depth of flavour. For a dish like this, the dry red wine proved to be a great choice.
2014 Giesen Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marlborough
This time our wine journey took us to New Zealand. This red cherry coloured Pinot Noir had good intensity.
Maremma Duck, Preserved Blueberries; Black Garlic, Kampot Pepper; Ice Plant
We don’t always get what we wish for in life… And that’s exactly how I felt about this duck course I had. I love duck!!! So I was really looking forward to trying this duck – Quay style.
Well I do love duck with fruit combos such as duck with plum sauce (Chinese), duck à l’orange (French) and Thai’s red duck curry with pineapple and lychees. Duck with berries is tasty too, but these Preserved Blueberries didn’t have the fruity sweetness I was searching for. The jus had vegemite-like flavour which I thought was rather unpleasant. Not only did I not enjoy the flavour profile on the plate, the meat was undercooked for my liking. Not all fusion dishes fuse…
I really wished this dish had turned out differently; it was my least liked plate of the night. By the time we finished this course and our vino, Kent and I were both thinking that our wine parings tonight might have outshone the plates.
2017 Kracher Cuveé Beerenauslese Welschriesling Blend, Burgenland, Austria
Fabulous wine just kept coming – although we found it a bit hit-or-miss with the meals. Kent and I both think the wine list was outstanding! Hats off to Quay’s Head Sommelier Shanteh Wong.
White Coral, Greengage Plum Sherbet
I first saw Chef Peter Gilmore’s White Coral dessert on MasterChef Australia in 2019. This was the replacement of his lauded and much loved Snow Egg – a gastronomic masterpiece that made Quay a destination restaurant. I had mixed feelings when spotting White Coral on the menu as it confirmed that I had missed out on the Snow Egg – forever! As I had never tried it, my chance was gone… On the other hand, I was eager to try its successor and was hoping it would be as mind-blowing visually as what I had seen on television. And of course, to experience the taste sensation I could until now only imagine.
White Coral – aerated and freeze-dried white chocolate ganache, crowning Greengage Plum Sherbet. When it arrived our table, there was no dry ice fog effect as I once saw on TV and have seen repeatedly through Quay’s commercial images. In terms of taste, I found the whole thing icy and underwhelming. Texture-wise, although there were ganache and sherbet, it was still a bit one-dimensional to me. For a dessert that replaced the world-famous Snow Egg… Huge expectations dashed! Sorry but I expected more.
Pereira D’Oliveiras Tinta Negra 5 Year Old, Madeira, Portugal
Sweet, with a subtle savoury edge aftertaste which I like. Our wine journey was consistent high marked.
Moo, well named from its visual effect. Dulce de leche mixed with cream was the prize when scooped into the smooth, velvety centre through its crispy biscuits sealed on the top. Creamy, sweet and rich! It’s not the sort of dessert I normally go for, but it was a nice scenery change after the White Coral.
Honey Tartlets and Salted Caramel Canelés. To be honest I think the Salted Caramel Canelé I had was a little dry.
My Seven Textured Valrhona Chocolate Birthday Cake
‘What would a birthday be without a cake!’ Says our smiling waitstaff. And just when we thought we had reached the end of our food journey, here comes my surprise birthday cake! Well it’s an impressive one – Quay’s Seven Textured Valrhona Chocolate Cake. Here’s my tip, always mention it if you are celebrating a birthday or other special occasions, as we choose the venue and we deserve to be spoiled by the house if you ask me.
What makes it a multi-textured cake? Here’s what I’ve learnt… It consists of a fudgy chocolate cake based, chocolate mousse layer; a crisp chocolate and hazelnut meringue layer, a caramel; chocolate and vanilla scented ganache layer, a crunchy milk chocolate layer containing a hazelnut praline and finely chopped caramelised puff pastry; milk chocolate whipped cream and a tempered chocolate disc on top. Sounds impressive? It tasted delicious! This chocolate cake was the perfect grand finale to our four-and-a-half-hour dinner celebration.
Living through these COVID times, it seems like anything could happen at anytime. An uninterrupted birthday dinner plan was simply good luck and good timing (don’t think they’re the same thing, are they?)! At the time of writing, we are in the beginning of the Greater Sydney’s 14-day lockdown. (On the day of publishing, this lockdown extended another seven days.) We’ve learnt not to take things for granted long ago, and with an attitude of gratitude, we cherish this dining experience. I was hoping we could celebrate my milestone birthday in style and I guess I got my wish.
Thank you universe for the blessing, thank you Kent for being there and documenting and enjoying it all, and thank you Quay for taking us on an unforgettable epicurean journey.