Jun 25, 2018
The revamp of Sydney’s Quay is the most significant Australian restaurant happening of 2018, writes Akash Arora.
In an age of open kitchens, uproarious dining rooms and shared menus, Quay is going against the grain, relaunching this month as a next-level fine-diner (quay.com.au). “A lot of restaurants are doing a more casual environment and that’s great but you’ve got to have differences. We’ve always walked our own path,” says Quay’s executive chef, Peter Gilmore (right). He’s the man who invented Australia’s most iconic modern dessert, the Snow Egg, and is now transforming one of our most extraordinary restaurants. Here’s how.
The restaurant will be broken up into six separate dining spaces, including a private room for 12 guests, giving the establishment a boutique vibe. Dividers – about a metre high – will create these semi-secluded zones and each table will have a view of either the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House or both. Each zone will have its own waiter and every table its own lighting to reflect the stage of dining – brightest at the beginning, dimmest towards the end.
The age of dégustation isn’t over, with Gilmore completely doing away with à la carte and introducing two tasting menus. A six-course option with the choice of main ($210, excluding drinks) will be available from Sunday to Thursday for dinner and Friday to Sunday for lunch, while a 10-course extravaganza ($275, excluding drinks) will be available on Friday and Saturday evenings. And, yes, there will be vegetarian options. Dishes are inspired not only by regional, seasonal produce but also by the ceramic pieces specially created for the venue. Gilmore is also experimenting with new methods, techniques and ingredients, including unusual varieties of shellfish that haven’t been commercially released before.
There will be three matching options: one featuring premium wines, a second with a mixed variety of drinks (such as wine, sake and beer) and another that includes non-alcoholic beverages. You can also simply order a bottle of your choice from the 400-strong wine menu.
After a sensational 10-year run, during which it appeared on the cover of five magazines and in the finale of the 2010 MasterChef series, the Snow Egg is taking its final bow. And Gilmore is determined that it will never return. “There’s a little bit of me that’s sad to see it go but I have made a commitment that it won’t come back on the Quay menu. I’m doing a total change and a total renewal. It’s very liberating and exciting and you have to let go of some classics to be able to move forward, to reinvent.”