En-route to New Zealand we made a stopover in Sydney to specially visit Quay Restaurant. Touchdown in the early morning after enduring the red-eye flight, we arrived at hotel but too early for check-in. Went for a stroll in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney to counter the jet-lag before we head over for lunch. We reckoned that we would be too sleepy to catch dinner…
The bright daylight shining into the dining hall offered a fantastic view of the harbour~ We opted for the smaller 6-course set lunch instead of the 10-course one as we anticipated that we would not have regained our appetite after the flight.
Amuse bouche was Shiitake mushroom custard with pork crackling tart. The one-bite snack was a delightful blend of textures and balanced flavours.
Hand harvested seafood virgin soy, seaweed, aged vinegar comprised of octopus, scallops and vongole clams. The vinegar and seaweed dressing highlighted the umami characteristics of the crustaceans and mollusk. This light and appetizing dish was a showcase of the abundance of fresh seafood in Australia.
Sandcrab Tennouji turnip, kombu, squid, Wakefield cabbage was a unique vegetable dish combining the best produces originating from different parts of the World. The tennouji turnip is said to be Japan‘s oldest kind of turnip and has 1.5 times the sugar level of regular turnips! While the wakefield cabbage is a classic early cabbage originated in England and known for its distinctly sweet flavour. The addition of a piece of the dehydrated fried cabbage was a masterful stroke enhancing the texture of this dish.
Malted barley crumpets was presented at the mid-way point of our meal with butter loaded with Terra Preta black truffles. I would love to visit a truffle farm during the harvest season to witness a truffle hunt and tasting experience!
The next dish also had some Japanese influence: Tasmanian uni, Winter broth served with fish crackling and cured eggyolk. Once again I’m impressed by the amalgamation of textures. If there’s any significant takeaway from my experience at Quay, it has to be the perfect combination of textures for each dish thus far.
For the main course, there were two options to choose from and we tried one each. Maremma duck slow cooked carrots, red dates, karkalla. The duck has quite a gamey flavour on its own but was well-paired with the sweet concentrated carrots with red dates gravy.
The other main is considered Chef’s signature dish: Smoked pig jowl fan shell razor clams, shiitake, sea cucumber crackling. The version presented now had undergone several iterations and evolution since it was first created by Chef more than two decades ago! What remained unchanged was the protein pairing of a meat with a seafood.
There were also two options for desserts and we tried one each. Unfortunately the wildly popular Snow Egg has been retired from the menu at the revamped restaurant.
On the left is Crystalised oloroso caramel prune cream prune jam and on the right is White coral feijoa, white chocolate, coconut. I was particularly interested in trying White coral as it uses the feijoa fruit – something I intended to try when we visit New Zealand as the fruit has been associated with the country (other than Kiwi). This dessert also featured technique using liquid nitrogen.
Our meal should have ended with the two desserts but the service staff presented us with an extra surprise dish – Chocolate Cake after knowing that we had made a 1 night stopover in Sydney specially for this visit. This unassuming looking dessert, has rich chocolate mousse along with different textures of chocolate, was the best chocolate cake I ever tasted! =)
Last but not least was the petite fours: Salted Caramel Canelés and Creme Fraiche Postbrood Honey Tart. While the salted caramel canelés were well-executed, we were more impressed with the tarts!!! The staff explained that the honey came from the honeycomb that has raised baby bees. What a delightfully sweet ending to our meal.
Was it worth our 1 day stopover? I would probably say yes. Afterall Sydney airport is seamlessly connected to the city centre and is only a short ride away. Technically speaking we could even make a detour from the airport to eat lunch and leave Sydney within the same day – provided that there is an available flight out to our next destination. However we were more than happy to spend the night at Sydney revisiting the iconic landmarks which are well lit-up at night and recharge ourselves before heading over to Auckland, New Zealand.
Earlier Photos Taken:
Preordered the in-flight meal service and chose the Prawn Chu-Chee (Choo Chee) Curry with Steam Rice which is now my favourite Thai curry. P.S I don’t typically eat green curry. This dish uses red curry as base but has less spices and sweeter.
Transiting at Bangkok‘s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thai Airways meant free massage~ =)
Glad to receive a baby blue colour Rimowa amenity kit.
Had a late night supper after take-off. Fell in love with the Crispy Fried Oyster Mushroom with Tomato Salsa! It was so good that I started sourcing for fried mushroom snacks online thereafter. Although so far I hadn’t found one with similar quality…
We were also served the Caviar with condiments before our main dish. For main I couldn’t resist having a Pad Thai, especially when it comes with lobster.
Although I was really sleepy, I stayed up for this exquisitely plated Miniature of Thai Sweets and Sticky Rice with Fresh Mango dessert.
Though it was a relatively short red eye flight, instead of catching up on sleep I decided to wake up for Breakfast service after seeing what would be served.
The sumptuous spread of accompaniments with the boiled rice was so impressive – with 9 side dishes in total! Including braised duck, pickled turnip with egg (aka chai po neng), salted vegetables (aka kiam chai)…Very homey Teochew dishes. One of the best inflight breakfast I ever had.
It has been 8 years since I last visited Sydney, nice to see you again!