One of Australia’s most iconic restaurants, Quay, reopens with a striking new dessert.
In an age of open kitchens, uproarious dining rooms and shared menus, Quay is going against the grain, relaunching as a next-level fine-diner after a $4-million-plus revamp. “A lot of restaurants are doing a more casual environment and that’s great but you’ve got to have differences and we’ve always walked our own path,” says Quay’s executive chef, Peter Gilmore. The man who invented Australia’s most iconic modern dessert, the Snow Egg, is now re-inventing one of our most reputable restaurants. Here’s what to expect from Quay 2.0.
The new Snow Egg
At the centre of the restaurant’s $4-million-plus revamp is a new incarnation of the Instagram-famous ‘Snow Egg’. Christened ‘White Coral’ by Gilmore himself, it’s a fluffy ball of “very light white chocolate ganache that has been super aerated under vacuum and then frozen with liquid nitrogen,” he says. “The effect is a light, porous structure that resembles an organic piece of white coral. This is served on a feijoa ice cream with a coconut cream. The white coral is shattered with a spoon by the diner and the flavours of feijoa, coconut and white chocolate harmonise in a light and refreshing yet intense way.” Just be sure to get a photo first.
The restaurant is broken up into six separate dining spaces, including a private room for 10 guests, giving the establishment a boutique vibe. Dividers – about a metre high – create these semi-secluded zones and each table has a view of the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House or both. Each zone has its own waiter and every table its own lighting to reflect the stage of dining – brightest at the beginning (when you want to read the menu without having to use your smartphone’s flashlight), dimmest towards the end. For the first time in 30 years, white tablecloths have been taken off Quay’s dining rooms. Instead, timber-topped tables and Adam Goodrum-designed armless chairs populate the rooms with sea-blue carpets and wood-panelled ceilings.
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) is available from Sunday to Thursday for dinner and Friday to Sunday for lunch, while a 10-course extravaganza ($275, excluding drinks) is available on Friday and Saturday evenings. 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 are three matching options: one featuring premium wines, a second with a mixed variety of drinks (such as wine, saké and beer) and another that includes non-alcoholic beverages. You can also simply order a bottle of your choice from the 500-strong wine menu.