Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Birthday dinner at Quay!

This year for my birthday Mr Duckie planned an amazing surprise dinner!

Normally Mr Duckie is not very good at keeping secrets, especially exciting secrets! Normally, every year for my birthday we go to a restaurant at the Overseas Passenger Terminal called Wildfire - it was one of our traditions! However, sadly they closed this year :(

So, poor Mr Duckie had to find an alternative! Leading up to my birthday, I really wasn't expecting too much - Mr Duckie had been very busy at work and I didn't want to make too much fuss. Mr Duckie had also cleverly been priming me - for weeks, he kept lamenting how he was so disorganised and had no plans. He also kept asking me to run through all the best restaurants in Sydney and saying that we should try some of these restaurants!

On the night of my birthday, Mr Duckie suggested a nice walk around Circular Quay and to go to the OPT to see what happened to Wildfire. As we approached where Wildfire used to be, Mr Duckie kept walking. And as we got to the end of the terminal, Mr Duckie started getting quite excited and a sneaky smile appeared on his face.

When we got to the end of the terminal, we saw the signs for Quay. Mr Duckie led me towards the elevator going up to the restaurant, and said "Let's have a look up here, they won't mind!". At which point I figured out that this had been his plan all along! I was so surprised and amazed! Most of all, I was so impressed at how far in advance Mr Duckie had planned (it takes months to get a Saturday night dinner booking at Quay!) and at how well he had been able to keep it a secret! Also extra brownie points to Mr Duckie as I inadvertently threw a spanner in the works - I only told him at the last minute I had a hen's night to attend that very same night, and he managed to change the booking to accomodate a later start!

The dinner was an amazing experience from the very beginning! When we arrived, we were led to the bar area whilst we waited for our table to be ready. We were met with the stunning view of Sydney Harbour, looking out onto the Opera House and the night-time ferries travelling back and forth in the water.

We started off with a delicious mocktail, which was a mixture of ginger, lime, and apple. It was a genius flavour combination and I was so impressed!

Ginger, apple, and lime mocktail
We were then led to our table, which looked right out onto the harbour!

Beetroot and goats cheese
We started with an appetiser of beetroot, rosehip, and goats cheese. I thought I had misheard the description, as at first I couldn't see how there was any beetroot. Then when we dug in, we saw the beetroot hidden underneath! The sweet, earthy beetroot was complemented perfectly by the salty and creamy cheese. Also the cheese looked like it would come as hard shreds, but was in fact soft and melted in the mouth! Also all the details were great - note the pearl handed spoon!

Then came the first course. I had the mud crab congee. It was the fanciest congee I had ever tasted! The egg yolk emulsion tasted like a steamed egg custard like my grandma used to make, only made much more fancy. It reminded me of traditional Cantonese food but with that special twist! Also I apologise for the captions - I didn't take notes on the night so I may not have complete description of the dish.

Congee of Norther Australian mud crab, fresh palm heart, egg yolk emulsion
Mr Duckie had a dish of finely diced raw smoked wagyu. It was served on a lilypad shaped plate which so pretty!The meat was tender and soft, and had a light smoky flavour. The creamy topping was a perfect complement to the meat.

Raw smoked Blackmore wagyu, dory roe, horseradish, soured cream, milk skin
For the second course, I had the XO Sea five sea textures. Again, it reminded me of traditional Cantonese food but fancied up! The dish was a small bowl with lots of beautiful sweet seafood (I think there was octopus, prawns, clams, squid, and scalllop), topped with a salty and flavoursome XO sauce and some crsipy cured pork.

XO Sea, five sea textures
Mr Duckie's second course was the confit pig cheek. this dish was so delicious as there were multiple layers that complemented each other so well - the tender pork, a very soft layer of melty fat, the sweet and soft scallops, and the crunchy toppings. The best part of this was the crispy cracking, which offset the perfectly meltingly soft pig cheek (and who doesn't love crackling!).

Smoked and confit pig cheek, scallop, kombu, koji, shiitake, sesame
For the main course, I had masterstock goose, with kombu and ice plant. The goose came on a very pretty blue plate. Decorating the plate was a crispy leaf, which was almost translucent yet still retained it's natural flavour. The goose itself was very soft and tender, and had a rich meaty flavour. Underneath the goose was a sorrel puree, which added a surprising citrus flavour. Also alongside the goose was some ice plant, which is a very interesting vegetable - it was crunchy and succulent, and covered in fine crystals that looked like ice crystals! Apart from the texture, it also added a delicate saltiness to the dish.

Roasted masterstock goose with kombu and sorrel puree
Mr Duckie had the Angus beef. The beef was so tender and perfectly cooked, with a delicious meaty flavour. The beef was topped with a mixture of crunchy grains of barley, which added both texture and a slightly smoky, nutty flavour. There was also a mixture of funghi on top which added extra earthiness that went very well with the beef.

Grass fed pure Angus beef, black barley, smoked and raw funghi
Now, onto the best course, dessert! Of course, we had to try the most famous snow egg, which really came to fame during Masterchef. Given how much everyone has raved about the snow egg, I was worried that it wouldn't live up to its' reputation. However, I had nothing to fear! In fact, the snow egg more than lived up to its' reputation, and Mr Duckie and I definitely are now a part of the snow egg fan club!

Snow egg
The snow egg dessert is a perfect sphere of the lightest, fluffiest, melt in the mouth meringue. In the centre of the ball is ice cream (I believe ours was guava flavoured). The meringue sits on top of a crunchy, icy granita, and on the bottom of the glass is a pool of strawberry cream. I was amazed at the technique involved - especially with filling the meringue with ice cream. Altogether, the dessert was a perfect mixture of soft, icy, and creamy textures and delicate, elegant flavours.

Inside the snow egg!
We also ordered the chocolate dessert. The dessert came out looking very artistically coated in curls o chocolate. In fact, these curls were nitrogen-frozen chocolate! The freezing processes gave the chocolate a very crisp and actually crunchy texture, which really crackled in the mouth. Underneath the curls was a base of many delicious components, including muscatels, nougat, salted caramel, and almonds, bound together with chocolate. Overall, this was a very decadent dessert!

Chocolate, almond, muscatel, olorose caramel
To finish we ordered some Earl Grey tea and Darjeeling tea (of course we had to have tea!). The tea was served with some delicious truffles,which came in a very cute pumpkin shaped bowl. I believe there were pistachio, salted caramel, crunchy ball coated, and a dark chocolate truffle.

Truffles in a pumpkin bowl!
One of the things that made this dinner so special was the attention was given to every little detail in the experience. I especially loved the unique cutlery and dinnerware that came with each dish, from the pearl handled spoon that came with our appetiser, to the unique bowls and plates for our meals, to the gorgeous tea service.

Look how cute the sugar tongs are, like angels wings!
The friendliness and attentiveness of the staff also added to the experience. In fact, when one waitress found out that it was my birthday, I was given a small box of truffles, packaged in a special Quay box, to take home as a small gift!

Overall, I had a perfect dinner in one of the most elegant and sophisticated restaurants in Sydney. The grandeur of the backdrop enhanced the luxurious feeling of the whole experience. Each course also flowed smoothly from one to the next, so that I felt perfectly satisfied and content at the end of the meal. I feel so lucky to have had such a special dinner! Thank you Mr Duckie :)

1 comment:

  1. haha of course you had to go for the chocolate dessert AS WELL AS the snow egg :P Their servingware is so cute! I wonder if much of it gets stolen.....(the chopsticks at my restaurant always get stolen, but then again we get a much different crowd to the one at Quay I guess haha). The food looks amazing! :O

    Did you actually think that Mr Duckie had no plans for you that day? :P