Review: Quay restaurant

White Nectarine Snow Egg

Our outing to Quay was amazing. I had been dreaming of the Snow Egg since Masterchef last year, and then after I bought the Quay cook book a month or so ago I have been obsessing about it. Peter Gilmore is a very impressive chef, and I really love the commitment he has to local and artisan produce. He works closely with a farm in Blackheath to produce organically grown boutique crops, such as the Heirloom carrots I had.

The attention to detail is impressive. Every plate looked divine and you could see the care that went into the preparation. I was also really impressed to see that the vegetarian option for each course were well thought-out and executed. It certainly felt like the vegetarian options were given the same amount of care as the meat and seafood choices, and with a good balance of flavours and textures, I certainly didn’t notice the absence of meat for my first two courses.

It was a moody day, but the restaurant is very open with loads of mirrored surfaces to catch the light. It comes as no surprise, but its booked out for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights until late this year, but we scored a Friday lunch booking the same week, so perhaps aim for a lunch booking if you aren’t fussy? I actually really liked the daytime view, all the boats going past and the Opera House in full view.

Obviously this kind of dining doesn’t come cheap, but that is to be expected of a restaurant that won 26th best in the world in the S.Pelligrino awards and also a three-hat restaurant. The four-course lunch option is $135, or you could choose the three-course option for $115. This includes an amuse bouche and yummy Sonoma bread. For dinner, the four-course option will set you back $155 and you get an extra choice per course. There is also a Tasting Menu which is $220 and is available at both lunch and dinner.

Overall, I loved it. Every course was impressive and really hit the mark in terms of flavour, texture and skill. I would definitely consider heading back there, perhaps in summer to experience the seasonal variances (and if I can convince Reece!)

Smoked eel jelly, carrot cream, breadcrumbs and fennel

Sea Pearls: Sashimi tuna, sea scallop, crab, smoked eel, octopus

Salad of French breakfast radishes, pickled beetroot, goats curd, blood sorrel, violets, olive, pine resin, balsamico

Butter poached coturnix quail breast, pumpernickel & ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle custard, milk skin

Organic heirloom carrots, cumin, fennel & celery seeds, comté-infused curd, almonds, amaranth

Bass grouper, white carrot puree and baby vegetables (there was more but I can't remember)

Quay's Eight texture chocolate cake

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Raspberry, rosewater and vanilla layer cake



Raspberry, rosewater and vanilla cake
Makes three 16cm cake rounds (which are then halved)

This recipe is adapted from Call Me Cupcake.

1/2 cup (113g) butter
2 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cups iced water
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites

Additional ingredients for the separate cakes
1/4 cup pureed raspberries
1 tbs vanilla paste
1/4 cup iced water
2 tbs rosewater
2 tbs iced water
Pink/red food colouring

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until its light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add alternatively with the iced water to the creamed butter and sugar. At this stage the cake will look rather thick and almost dough-like, but persist.

Now you need to separate the mix into three parts. Each bowl should end up with 450 grams of mix. Add 1/4 raspberries to one bowl, 1 tbs vanilla paste and 1/4 cup iced water to the second and the rosewater and iced water to the third. Beat each mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add 40 grams of whipped egg whites to each bowl and red/pink food colouring. Fold in until well combined and pour into greased cake tins.

Bake for 30 minutes of until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Set aside to cool. The cakes should be completely cooled or even chilled for when you want to slice in half.

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Makes 7 cups (enough to fill and ice the cake with leftovers)

This recipe is (only slightly) adapted from the amazing Sweetapolita. You should also check out her great step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

8 large egg whites (30g each)
400g caster sugar
450g unsalted butter
1 tbs vanilla paste
Pinch of salt
150g white chocolate, melted and cooled

This icing is totally worth the few steps it takes. Trust me, once you make it once you will never go back!

Set a pot of water to simmer. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl and set on top of simmering water. (Make sure the water is not boiling and doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.) Whisk constantly but gently until the temperature reaches 65 degrees Celcius and the sugar has dissolved completely and it hot to touch.

Now you need to whisk the egg white mixture until it is smooth, glossy and thick. You can do this with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or with a hand whisk. Either way, you will need to mix for about 10 minutes or until the bowl is cool to touch. Make sure the meringue is not warm or else it will melt the butter.

Change to a paddle attachment or beaters on your mixer and add butter one cube at a time, mixing on medium speed until it is mixed in well. The mixture may curdle at one point, but if it does, just keep mixing and it will come back together.

Add the vanilla, salt and then fold through the cooled melted white chocolate.

To assemble:
Cut cooled cakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife.

Smear a little of the buttercream in the middle of a cake plate and add the first layer of cake. Pipe a thin layer of buttercream around the outside of the cake and then fill in the middle. Add the second layer and pipe more buttercream. Continue until you have added all 6 layers.

Now apply a thin coat of buttercream using an offset spatula to create a crumb coat. The point of doing a crumb coat is to trap all the cake crumbs before you finish icing. Once you have a thin layer, refrigerate the cake for 30 mins or so to allow the coat to harden.

Then finish off with another, thicker layer of buttercream and decorate as you wish!

Tips:
Keep the cake cool, but not refrigerated or else the icing will turn hard like butter.

Cut the cake using a knife that’s been heated by hot water and then wiped clean.

Three little pumpkins all in a row

So I got me some butternut pumpkins. Murderously expensive pumpkins in actual fact…but more on that later.

Aren’t they cute?

WTF? Why is she blogging about this I hear you cry.

Well let me enlighten you.

In this neck of the woods (the Manila woods) butternut pumpkin is rare…like really rare…like rare like hens teeth rare. And I truly love pumpkin. I love it not only for me and how much I love the taste, but also because it is one of only a handful of vegetables I can feed my fussy vegetable-hating husband.

And the pumpkin here is monotonous…always the same boring jap. Now don’t get me wrong, the jap pumpkin is a fine vegetable, but it is boring. And doesn’t have tham same nutty sweetness of the butternut variety.

Plus, variety is the spice of life, and there is precious little variety to be found here in the comforting vegetables of home. There is only one kind of potato, only one (maybe two) kinds of onions, certainly only one carrot (the large and misshapen kind). I like choice! So when choice is offered to me, I go mental. Mental to the tune of 15 Aussie dollars for three small pumpkins.

So I need you to tell me…what can I do with my murderously expensive pumpkins?

What would you do with three beautiful butternut pumpkins? What is your favourite pumpkin recipe?

Help me O internet friends.

And for those non-pumpkin lovers out there…what vegetables do you like choice in? And what would you miss if you lived away from home?