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Quay Restaurant: Chef Peter Gilmore's Culinary Travel Must in Sydney, Australia

Ask locals where to dine in Sydney, and everyone will say Quay. Everyone's right

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Quay Restaurant: Chef Peter Gilmore's Culinary Travel Must in Sydney, Australia

Quay's dramatic setting is pure Sydney excitement.

©Michael Hiller/all rights reserved
Quay Restaurant: Chef Peter Gilmore's Culinary Travel Must in Sydney, Australia

Quay chef Peter Gilmore in his kitchen kingdom.

©Michael Hiller/all rights reserved
Quay Restaurant: Chef Peter Gilmore's Culinary Travel Must in Sydney, Australia

Quay's Sydney Harbour view is one of the wonders of Australia.

©Michael Hiller/all rights reserved

Quay Restaurant in Sydney, & Why It's So Famous

Quay is one of Sydney's most acclaimed luxury restaurants, and perhaps its most famous. Under the brilliant handling of chef and founder Peter Gilmore, Quay is considered a must-visit Sydney restaurant for luxury travelers, and I have to agree.

Quay furnishes a perfect Sydney evening. The view is breathtaking and the atmosphere pure Sydney style. Chef Gilmore's take on Australian cuisine is often astonishing and always delicious. Here is the rare restaurant that lives up to its legend.

Quay's Spectacular Setting

Quay flaunts a stunning setting. The restaurant perches on the shore of Sydney Harbour, offering sweeping views of this exciting city's landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Any Quay table near a window, especially at dinner, is the best in town. Gazing out at Sydney Harbour is not touristy. It's thrilling.

Quay's dining room itself is low-key. It does not compete with the dramatic view, or with Chef Gilmore's dazzling dishes.

How Quay in Sydney Came to Be

Quay Restaurant opened in 1988 and quickly earned top marks for its memorable location and remarkable food. Quay's chef, Peter Gilmore, soon rose from relative obscurity to the peak of Sydney's culinary scene, where he and Quay remain today.

In fact, Gilmore is considered one of Australia's reigning kings of the kitchen. Not many chefs remain top toques for so long. But for Peter Gilmore and for Quay, it's not lonely at the top Down Under. It's busy.

Quay's Ongoing Honors

Not just diners like Quay. Restaurant reviewers do, too. For over ten years running, The Sydney Morning Herald's "Good Food Guide" has awarded Quay its highest rating, three hats. And this same publication named Quay its Restaurant of the Year in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013.

Other dining critics have similarly lauded Quay. It currently ranks 29 on San Pellegrino's influential list of the world's best restaurants. Peter Gilmore's fellow chefs respect him, too. Singaporan-American celebrity chef Pichet Ong named Quay to his 10 best places to eat in the world.

Quay's Acclaimed Chef, Peter Gilmore

Quay's brilliant chef, Peter Gilmore, was born in 1967 in Sydney. He is a passionate gardener whose love of local, seasonal ingredients inspires his cooking and menu.

Chef Gilmore is proud of his deep bonds with the farmers, fishermen and ranchers who supply Quay. He says that he hopes his food will make diners "think about where it came from."

"What we try to do is to produce original, beautifully crafted food with a big emphasis on layers of texture and flavors," he has written. "Food that tastes beautiful, that takes you on a journey of different sensations."

Gilmore means what he says about combining textures and flavors. Case in point: his smoked and confited pig cheek with Tasmanian shiitakes, shaved scallops, sunchoke leaves, and juniper. With its smoky, salty pork and al dente seared scallops, this dish struck me as an immensely satisfying plate of chow fun.

The Menu at Quay Restaurant

Gilmore says the menu's focus is always "food inspired by nature," with an emphasis on local, seasonal, and often unusual ingredients.

Quay dinners are not la carte but are offered in multi-course menus:

  • The four-course menu, $165 AUD (five choices per course)
  • The eight-plate Tasting Menu, $220 AUD
  • Wine pairings are an additional $95 or $175 AUD per diner
  • The Australian dollar hovers around parity with the US dollar

Some Quay Dishes Not to Miss

Gilmore continually reinvents Quay's menu, though a few classic offerings remain constant. Quay's iconic dishes include:

• A creamy Congee of Northern Australian mud crab with fresh hearts of palm and egg yolk emulsion, a clever take on the classic Chinese rice porridge dish
• The Guava Snow Egg dessert, one of Quay's most-ordered dishes, with a globe of poached guava meringue and nest of icy guava granité

The Best Way to Order at Quay

Considering Quay's ever-changing menu and endlessly creative chef, a diner's best bet is to allow Gilmore to select your dinner.

However, even a multi-course meal at Quay will barely scratch the surface of Gilmore's world of ingredients, techniques, and flavors. My Tasting Menu meal left me completely awed by its breadth and depth.

But there's so much more for me to experience. I'll just have to go back to Quay.

Find Out More About Quay & Make a Reservation

Watch Quay chef Peter Gilmore create his Guava Snow Egg >>

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