Peter Gilmore – the man who gave Australia its most iconic dessert of the 21st century, the snow egg – has done it again.

At his Quay restaurant in Sydney, he has curated a whole menu of non-alcoholic beverages and matched them with his spring offerings. Of course, you can still pair what you eat with wine; there are more than 500 Australian and international drops to choose from. But if you’re the dedicated driver at the end of this gastronomic journey then you might just want to stick to the non-grog concoctions.

There are many ways to experience the offerings at Quay – enjoy a three-course meal for lunch; a four-course menu for lunch or dinner; or, if you want to make an occasion of it, opt for the restaurant’s most decadent option, the eight-course dinner tasting menu. Whatever you do, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic pairings are at hand to enhance your experience. We opted for the tasting menu to offer you a glimpse of what’s cooking. Here are a few highlights.

An amuse-bouche of smoked eel sets the mood for the night. What the bite-sized morsel lacks in volume it more than makes up with taste, thanks to complex elements such as eggplant purée, dashi jelly and shaved radish creating a flavor sensation.

Ewe-milk curd, served with broad beans and infused with an apple-based dressing, kicks off the tasting menu, but it’s when you get to the beef course that things really get interesting. Small cubes of raw smoked Blackmore Wagyu arrive on a bed of horseradish crème fraîche, sprinkled with fermented-rye crisps and minuscule raw enoki mushrooms. The dish is suitably matched with house-made ginger beer, based on head chef Rob Kabboord’s Dutch grandmother’s recipe. While for wine-lovers it is paired with the creamy, pungent and light 2012 Picardy Chardonnay from Western Australia.

Among the tasting menu’s more substantial courses are steamed King George whiting, squid, scallops and white turnips (paired with warm dashi; or the cool-bodied 2013 Tasmanian pinot blanc from Clarence House Estate) and Flinders Island lamb with capers and native greens (matched with a glass of chilled tomato broth; or the 2013 Caillard Mataro from Barossa Valley).

When it’s time for dessert, of course, the snow egg – berry-flavoured this time round – takes the cake. You can pair it with a rock melon and fresh pear juice concoction, or opt for the semi-sweet, semi-sparkling 2014 Balivet Bugey-Cerdon Jura from France.

Images: Nikki To

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