I am off to a dinner at Quay hosted by one of our advisers. As is the protocol on major corporate transactions, our advisers host a dinner to celebrate the closing of the transaction. They are always fun events.
We first set off on a boat around Sydney harbour accompanied with some drinks and canapés to start proceedings. Sydney’s winter weather lived up to its expectations and we certainly did feel very cold but the views somewhat mitigated the sense of discomfort.
We eventually head to the restaurant and commence pre-drinks, discussing memorable moments during the transaction, our upcoming holiday plans and even discussed the state of Australian political affairs (which gets one in the mood to drink immediately). The table settings are amazingly beautiful.
The wine choices for the evening was set and I weighed up the options and opted for the Shiraz to be my partner for the rest of the evening’s proceedings.
Knappstein Mayor’s Vineyard Shiraz (2013), Clare Valley
The wine has wonderful aromas of rich jammy red fruits, spice and smoky notes which provide the perfect tonic for frosty Sydney. On the palate, an alluring set of red berry, plum and blueberry flavours overrun the palate with a seductive sense of grandeur. The wine eases into a savoury finish which lingers on the palate while some lovely powdery / fine tannins tie into the finish. It is a rich wine which proves perfectly comforting for the winter weather and turns out to be the perfect dance partner for the dishes I choose for the evening.
The bread with the lovely minerality of the salt and rich creamy butter proves to be a nice commencement to the evening’s food offering.
For my entrée I decided to opt for the Wagyu Beef.
Raw Smoked Blackmore Wagyu, Horseradish Soured Cream, Fermented Rye Crisps, Raw Funghi
The raw wagyu has a lovely jelly like texture with some residual smokiness retained in the meat. The horseradish sour cream adds a little bite to the dish to jolt one out of any sense of complacency. The rye crisps provide a unique textural contrast which is rounded out by the deep earthiness of the funghi. A sense of freshness, earth and textures define this dish; a lovely introduction to the menu I must say.
Here are some dishes which my dining companions chose for their entrees:
Mud Crab Congee
Smoked Eel, Young Walnuts, Aged Black Pig Pancetta, Black Vinegar Laver, Grains and Fermented Mushrooms
We then move onto the Main Course.
I opt for the beef again… yes I am starting to get a little boring aren’t I.
Roasted Grass Fed Beef Fillet, Black Rice Miso, White Maitake, Black Garlic
The beautiful succulent juicy fillet of beef is the star of the dish and a clear example of good produce being put to work. The texture of the black rice melds with the sweetness of the miso which fights, in a flavour context, with the robust earthiness of the maitake and strength of the black garlic puree. A very similar theme to the entrée and it works well with the wine.
My dining companions choose the following for their Main Courses:
Steam Murray Cod, Kabu turnips, hatsuka radish, garlic chives and fragrant both
Slow Braised Quail, Brioche, Grains, Morel, Coco Mushroom, Manjimup Truffle
When it comes to dessert, I can’t go past a signature dish…
Quays Seven Texture Valrhona Chocolate Cake
When I receive the cake, I eagerly await for the eighth layer (a gooey rich chocolate sauce) to be poured on top. Alas it is not forthcoming. I voice my displeasure at the waiter. He informs me that at functions they only serve the seven textured cake not the eight due to logistics around pouring the sauce at each table. I am so disappointed – it is just heartbreaking. I decide to not sulk but to make the most of it by fully experiencing the seven textures on offer.
Now this cake has seven delicate thin layers of different chocolate flavours infused and melded together to deliver breathtaking taste experience. Let me walk you through the layers:
- First Layer (The Cake Base): This is a beautiful moist fluffy cake base to hold the structure at the bottom.
- Second Layer (Chocolate Mousse): A smooth creamy rich dark chocolatey layer with a touch of vanilla to pair.
- Third Layer (Milk Chocolate Praline Discs): A rich infusion of chocolates with hazelnuts and almonds intertwined with super sweet sugary hit.
- Fourth Layer (Caramel, Vanilla and Chocolate Ganache): A gentler milk chocolate base with some hints of vanilla but no discernible touch of the caramel.
- Fifth Layer (Chocolate and Hazelnut Dacquoise): A sensuous whirl of hazelnuts and almonds held together in a fluffy consistency mix.
- Sixth Layer (Chocolate Caramel Cream): A smoky milk chocolate creamy textured layer.
- Seventh Layer (Dark Chocolate Disc placed on top): A rich dark chocolate cocoa hit to round things off.
It is a beautiful dish which is simply stunning and delivers a rich velvety truly exhilarating taste experience. I felt so overwhelmed by the end of the dish that I almost forgot my disappointment at not having the eighth layer.
Here are some of my dining companions choices for dessert:
Walnut, Oloroso Caramel, Muscovado, Dulcey, Muscatel, Pecan
Confit of Prunes with 15-year-old Maderia, Bittersweet Ganache, Brulee Cream
We round out with some petit fours to sweeten the end of a long night.
A lovely night with fantastic company. The food was lovely, the wine as is typical of most functions wasn’t a premium one but certainly proved a wonderful lubricant and partner for the dishes I ordered. I did enjoy it. The setting against the backdrop of the harbour was amazing and it is always nice after a milestone transaction to stop and savour the outcome, reflect on the process and celebrate the success. And what better way to do that than at Quay Restaurant, one of Sydney’s finest dining establishments.