Quay is perched right above Sydney Harbor, so this was the view from lunch. No big deal.

The dining room also has mirrored ceiling, presumably for very private parties indeed.

Ooo la la.

Our schedule in Australia was pretty tight, so this was one of the few days we had time to slow down and attend to details like ironing and bathing.

As we were getting gussied, my dining companion Brad realized he lacked a tie tack. A few days before in Melbourne, Pip bought a pair of Victoria Mason tiny spoon earrings for us to split. She took one, I took the other, and then we braided each others’ hair and played Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board.

Anyway, I removed my tiny spoon from my ear, Breakfast Club style, and pinned Brad up.

Don’t you forget about me, baby.

The meal was so lovely and sun soaked. 

And they made me gluten-free bread, which I could have had for the entire meal. Breeeeeaaaaad.

Our menu:

Salad of albine and

Chioggia beetroots, preserved wild cherries, goat’s curd, scorched beet leaves,

violets. Paired with 2011 Crawford River Rosé, Henty.

I couldn’t figure out what those dark red bits in the salad were. Crunchy cherries? Deep fried beets? Turns out they were sourdough croutons

soaked in beet juice and balsamic, and then dehydrated. Gorgeous.

Cheers, Sydney Harbor. You are real pretty.

Raw smoked Blackmore Wagyu, fresh Dory roe, horseradish

juice, soured cream, milk skin. Paired with 2011 Thick as Thieves ‘The Gamekeeper’ Nebbiolo, King Valley.

This! It was like eating savory cherry blossoms and champagne bubbles.

Brad is allergic to eggs and milk, so this is the bubble-boy version they brought him. His looked so much like actual blossoms it was touching.

This wine was one of my favorites. It smelled boozy, but had such a smooth finish. Yum.

XO Sea, Paired with 2012 Ocean 8 Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula.

This is a take on traditional Chinese XO. Brad loved it, but the texture didn’t appeal

to me.

I found the bits of dried meat found uncomfortable to chew against the

softness of the seafood. Still…

This is the plate calling my bluff.

The wine  tasted like apricots with a toasted almond finish, and smelled like Lucky Charms. Magically delicious.

Gently braised quail, morel cream, brioche porridge,

hazelnut floss. Paired with 2010 Wooing Tree Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zeland.

This had a great texture too.

This is what they brought Brad:

I don’t have notes on their improvisations for him, but the plating was so pretty I thought you’d like to see it. Kind of looks like it grew that way.

This wine was grown in a volcanic region, which apparently means the vines have extra long roots. It was citrusy on the back of palate, and tasted a little like green plums, and helped alleviate the mild nerves I get dining in extra fancy restaurants.

Duck breast poached in fermented ume and olorose master

stock, forbidden rice, umeboshi, spring almonds. Paired with 2011 Morgan White Label Barbera, Hunter Valley.

When I was a kid, the neighborhood church was built in an old almond orchard. I used to bike over and eat the almonds before they were ripe. They come in a green fuzzy casing, and taste fresh — the texture is a little like they’ve been boiled. 

This was the first time I’d come come across almonds in that state of ripeness otherwise. Eating it reminded me of being up in a tree with my bike crashed out in the dead grass below, pulling apart the green fuzzy shells with my thumbs.

Here’s Brad’s plate. I made him try an almond off mine, and he wondered why we don’t always eat almonds that way. 

Roasted grass fed pure Angus beef, mushrooms, miso, eggplant. Paired with 2011 Caillard Mataro, Barossa Valley.

Jackfruit Snow Egg. Paired with 2011 Disznóko Tokaji ‘Late harvest’ Furmint, Hungary.

This was the reason for our trip. It’s poached meringue with ice cream inside. 

The outside is a crispy layer of tuile, and the whole thing is served atop fruit and granita. I ate it all up until it was gone.

Cherries, chocolate, almonds, coconut. Paired with NV Renardat Face Methode Ancestrale Bugey Cerdon, France.

That’s salted caramel popcorn with truffle beneath the ice cream. Yow.

Coffee, Tea and Quay Petits Fours

I love the cool truffle that looks like a magnified bit of pollen or some corpulent little virus. 

We laughed a lot. Possibly because we’d had eight wine pairings. This is what Brad looks like after eight glasses of wine.

But overall the afternoon felt like this. Quiet, and happy, and close. 

I miss you, Australia.