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A week in Sydney: two restaurants per day plus cake


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Will post a few more thoughts in a few days when I get some time to myself and amn't rushing between lunch and dinner reservations.

Really impressed to see a bar with a geuze on tap. Especially impressed to see some Cantillon bottles available. Even if they were in the $40 per 750ml ballpark.

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Pier or the end.

Last but most certainly least came Pier. There was a bit of fuss last year when owner Greg Doyle handed back a couple of the Sydney Morning Herald's hats.

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The menus. There was a degustation but it was basically the same as ordering a full meal off the a la carte menu.

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The knives looked interesting but were somewhat ungainly to use.

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Someone's squid ink risotto with calamari.

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I opted for the tartare cones purely because I remembered them from Doyle's excellent book, Pier. Here you see one cone each of yellowfin, kingfish, salmon and ocean trout. I understood that the fish was of an excellent quality but to me it was dominated by the salty wonton wrapper cones. The textural contrast was nice.

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My main course of crispy-skinned snapper arrived. The fish itself was beautifully cooked (the chef assumes everyone wants fish medium rare but will, if you insist, cook your fish to your liking) and was certainly of noble birth, but like the cones entree this dish was ruined by salt, salt, salt. The shredded kaffir lime leaves were nice but the spinach puree was bland. The baby onion and leeks were presented in a really odd way--hollowed out so you only got one layer. I really wanted vegetables on the plate. I'll happily purchase sides but I don't want to feel forced into it. It's just dodgy when a restaurant says hey, I'll charge you $40-50 for a piece of fish but won't give you a handful of buttery pearl onions or braised leeks to go with it. This dish was ruined by the sheer amount of salt applied to it. The skin was dusted with flakes of sea salt and that was okay--I brushed it off--but the flesh itself was also really salty. I tried a bit of someone's risotto and it too was very salty.

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Nich ordered dessert, dessert, dessert, dessert. Here you see the 'chocolate cremeux'--chocolate mousse, a dehydrated chocolate wafer, crushed macadamias, pear icecream, Earl Grey jelly, date and cinnamon puree, chocolate biscuit and, of course, salt.

Next you can see the kiwifruit vacherin. The meringue shards are actually a yoghurt meringue. There's apple sorbet and various other bits and pieces related to kiwifruit. A very elaborate and busy presentation.

Then the rhubarb cheesecake icecream. That is one seriously large serving of icecream.

And, finally, the slow-poached quince with chestnut, warm malt milk, malt icecream and, maybe, popcorn.

My dessert was a glass of 15-year-old Glenfiddich.

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The cheese platter was well-received.

I knew, from the outset, that in visiting 14 restaurants I was sure to hit a dud. Maybe even two or three. We've had a good week so far--some restaurants being better than others, some being nice surprises--but we haven't struck a true dud. Until tonight, that is. Pier was a mediocre restaurant with mediocre food and mediocre service charging as if it was a nice restaurant with nice food and nice service. So many little things went wrong: sometimes dishes were given a full summary, sometimes it was a case of, 'Oh, here's your kiwifruit dessert.' Or sometimes they forgot to say anything at all. Questions and requests were forgotten about in what was a very small restaurant. We'd paid a lot of money for some of our meals and this was one of the 'cheapest'--but it offered the least bang for buck we've experienced. I seriously regret not going to, say, Cotton Duck or District Dining instead. Next time.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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epilogue--a summary

Most of the restaurants were great. Most of the dishes were great. 13 out of 14 restaurants being nice was more than I expected--as I said earlier, I always figured I'd hit 2 or 3 duds. I was impressed with the consistently high quality food, presentation, service and flexibility. A nice trip.

Overall

Best overall experiences--fine dining: Marque, est.

Best overall experiences--much bang for not much buck: Bentley, Etch

Worst overall experience: Pier

Best sense of balance (not too heavy, not too light): Sake, Bentley, Etch

Right in my happy zone: est., Four in Hand

Best red meat dishes (overall): Four in Hand

Best poultry and game dishes: Marque

Best seafood dishes: Sake (an honourable mention to est. for its lovely ocean trout entree)

Best soup: Etch

Best desserts: Bentley (honourable mentions to est., Becasse, Quay, Four in Hand--for the Snickers, not the rice pudding)

Best petit-fours: Bentley, Guillaume, Marque

Best 'simple' food: Local Tap House, Etch, Sake

Best use of modernist techniques: Marque, Bentley

Best service: Becasse, Marque, Quay, Four in Hand, Bentley (Quay and Becasse are probably ahead of the pack for responding well to difficult situations)

Best view: Quay, Aria, Pier

Biggest surprises: Bentley in general, Etch being superior to Becasse, Zumbo's cakes being bad(I figured it'd be at least okay), Pier's obvious decline, Quay sending out the beef dish in the first place

Best beer lists: Local Tap House, Aria (I'll give Sepia a nod for its short-but-decent list)

Best cider lists: Quay, Becasse (Etch, too--nothing special but good enough)

Best spirits lists: Bentley, Sepia

Best serviceware: Quay

Best dining room: Becasse, est.

Best up-sell: the cheese courses at Marque and Bentley

Worst up-sell: Becasse's truffle risotto

Specific ingredients and techniques

Best sandwich: Marque

Best beef dishes: Guillaume, Ormeggio, Four in Hand

Best veal dish: est. (Ormeggio's had a great flavour but was let down by the connective tissue)

Best lamb dishes: Four in Hand, Aria

Best pork dishes: Four in Hand, Aria, Bentley, Etch

Best crustacean: Sake's crab hand rolls

Best shellfish: est.'s oysters, Guillaume's scallops

Best vegetable dishes: Marque, Etch, Quay

Best icecreams and sorbets: Bentley ... by far

Best bread: Becasse

Best realisation of a fun concept: Quay's chocolate cake, Sepia's scallop sushi

Things I was very happy to see: flexibility, Vegemite, beer sorbet, savoury desserts, a lot of pork (interesting cuts, too), braised meats, Miles Davis on rotation, vegetarian courses

Things that popped up everywhere: corn, crab, passionfruit, apple, a distinct lack of cider or drinkable beer

Things I wanted to see more of: good beer, game, interesting petit-fours, Bentley-quality icecreams and sorbets, nice bread

Things I tired of very quickly: wagyu, jarring jumps from very light courses to very heavy ones (take note, Sepia and Quay)

Things I grew to like: crab and scallops

Things I still don't care for: drinks lists that only show wine, truffles, caviar (the ocean trout roe, on the other hand, was always welcome), lobster

Things I could do without: entire packets of sea salt poured on top of my food at seafood restaurants, stupidly noisy dining rooms (Ormeggio, Pier, Sepia)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Wow, what a journey. Thanks Chris and Nich.

I must say that reading your descriptions of being worn out by the eating journey put me back in the mind of being overseas visiting Art galleries whose collections only rarely come to Australia. Here you linger over them: there you get "museumed out" and race through them without gaining full enjoyment. Did you feel that you suffered from top-class restaurant burnout because of the compressed time frame within which you visited them all?

Thanks for the summary of the restaurants and your opinions. Which ones would you go back to? Which ones were the ones where once was enough? Which ones would you go to for a different sitting (eg. Bentley for dinner)?

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I suspect the week would have been somewhat like the seven day "super-size me" experiment conducted by Jay Rayner in Paris three-stars.

Some surprising information though: Pier is clearly nothing of what it once was in terms of quality, and I'm stunned that a completely raw beef dish made it to the table at Quay.

Thanks for the write up anyway, this thread's made great reading over the last week.

James.

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I suspect the week would have been somewhat like the seven day "super-size me" experiment conducted by Jay Rayner in Paris three-stars.

Some surprising information though: Pier is clearly nothing of what it once was in terms of quality, and I'm stunned that a completely raw beef dish made it to the table at Quay.

Thanks for the write up anyway, this thread's made great reading over the last week.

James.

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Where would I go back? Well, when I go back to Sydney next year I want to try other places first: Rockpool, Tetsuya's, Cotton Duck, District Dining, Bilson's. Heard good things about Balzac, Bistro Ortolan? Ortolon? Bistro Osomething. Head out to Berowra. Maybe Momofuku will be open by then: given I'm likely to get to Sydney again before New York and all. I'd return to Bentley and Etch purely because I enjoyed them so much. I'd maybe even go back to Quay and Marque if the menus had changed significantly. I'd probably leave a couple of days free (or at least with only a single meal booked) so I could go to other places I was recommended by waitstaff and try and get into restaurants that don't accept bookings (Billy Kwong). Next time I'll kick up my exact dates and times on eGullet and attempt to organise a dinner meet.

It does get tiring: that's the reason we agreed to ditch Berorwa in favour of a pub. And why I'm making cheeseburgers right now. After a few degustations of carefully presented, carefully cooked food you want simple food. I think next time I'd leave, say, the Wednesday free of fine dining experiences and eat pub grub or Cantonese food.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Well the Quay menu is completely different (bar the snow egg) to the time I last went there in November last year, and the only dishes remaining on the Marque menu are the almond gazpacho and sauternes custard, again from last November (though I've had those dishes every time I've been since February 2010).

I went to Bilson's a few weeks ago, and it was great, the El-Bulli polenta dish is one of the greatest things I've ever eaten, texturally speaking. It's not remotely cheap, but it is very good.

Anyway, thanks again for the great weeklong blog. I'll have to post a review of Becasse this week, though I don't have a camera and would feel really self conscious and, well, touristy taking photos in a restaurant, so we'll have to rely on your photos.

Edited by Broken English (log)

James.

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I was planning to go back to Bentley tonight for desserts with a couple of friends who hadn't been before, but apparently Sunday evenings are not busy enough to be open for. I'm thinking of maybe heading to Bilson's with some friends this week, if I can get a dinner booking at such short notice.

The next time I'm up - I try to visit Sydney at least once every 4-5 months - I'd want to revisit Etch and Bentley, and probably Marque and Quay. There are a few places up in the Blue Moutains that I'd try to make room for, and a few other places - Rockpool, Tets, Billy Kwong, and a few others I would definitely do a lot more research (not hard, hah) and find some places that specialise in desserts, or are specifically known for their desserts - it's where my palate is most developed, and what I most enjoy, so I feel like I'd be getting more out of that.

I'd probably be happy, if I did something similar again rather than a last grasp at my 20s, to only book one thing per day, whether it be lunch or dinner. I'd fill in most of the other meals with sugestions from staff at places I liked, or I'd just be happy to only have one degustation per day.

The first few days of last week were okay, but I guess it got beyond silly when we started eating for more than 75% of the day. Becasse definitely felt like it would have been a lot more enjoyable if we had done nothing else that day.

As far as taking photos, if you have a camera, go for it. There are enough people with blogs and whatnot, these days, that I can only imagine really insecure establishments are going to be offended or say something.

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As far as taking photos, if you have a camera, go for it. There are enough people with blogs and whatnot, these days, that I can only imagine really insecure establishments are going to be offended or say something.

That's not what I meant at all, I just mean that I hate feeling conspicuous, and I just find it a little awkward. I'm all for the taking of photos, it gives a good preview of the dishes I will hopefully enjoy one day.

I managed to get a table at Bilson's at less than a weeks notice, so if it's a weeknight you shouldn't have too much trouble. The 15 course menu is very good, although you'd best not eat lunch beforehand, and of course, it is very expensive.

James.

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A belated thank-you as well. Thoroughly enjoyed reading through everything, I especially appreciate your honesty- not a hint of the pretension that can creep into formal reviews or food blogs. I have a gift voucher for Ormeggio and am looking forward to using it, hopefully it will be quieter! I sometimes work opposite Bentley and next time I'm working in the area I will book dinner there.

I will put in a quiet word of support for Zumbo. There's an outlet by the Manly ferry wharf and it's easy to drop in on the way home from work with no expectation or fanfare. There are never any queues and I'm often the only person in the shop. Despite being initially suspicious due to Zumbo's profile (is he the only Australian pastry chef to get his own TV show?) I have always been impressed by everything I've eaten. But $9 a slice means I've tried a lot, but not as much or as often as I'd like to. But I've never been disappointed.

Otherwise, thanks again for sharing your trip with us.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some notes from what I remember, as I go through and archive a bunch of this stuff. A few clarifications, too, because I'm finally sitting down to look at the menus of the places we visited; I deliberately wanted to go in with no expectations whatsoever, which worked against me for a few things.

Now that I understand what Ormeggio were doing with their chocolate dessert, I am happy with how strong the coffee taste was - after all, it's meant to be a mix of equal parts coffee, cream, and chocolate. I still think it dominated the tokay, but that's my preference for very sweet with a little bitter, rather than very bitter with a little sweet. Normally, anyway.

When I was younger, I worked at a raspberry farm for a few years, and so I got quite used to picking the overripe berries for myself to eat while picking the ones you usually see on sale at market for work to sell. There's nothing like an over-ripe raspberry, that is more blue and purple than red; it's incredibly sweet, has almost no texture from being so soft (to the point that they turn to mush if any weight is placed on them), and yet remains that lovely tartness that raspberries are known for. Knowing why these can't be sold commercially or used in kitchens has still made it hard to be let down when most places use ripe, or barely ripe, fruit. I was definitely too harsh on a number of places for using perfectly fine raspberry fruit. So much for my exptectations not getting in the way of enjoying new and strange food.

That being said, I still think the raspberry mille feuille at Guillaume was lacking.

The ginger rice-pudding at Four-in-hand was amazing, especially with the shaved and roasted coconut. I want to make this for at home, and at some point for at work to replace the vanilla rice-pudding. I need to remember to add more egg yolks. Much more. So. Incredibly. Rich.

I really liked the eel at Sake (it is hard to ruin eel for me, TBH), but my favourite were the tonkatsu cups. It's the first time I've had porkbelly and it's been *light*.

I really liked Becasse. Really really. The service was never short of amazing, the food was never less than good. They were understanding of my having to cut back on extra courses because we'd gone overboard at lunch. And yet I feel like lunch had killed the mood - or at least, three hours in the city, and no-where quiet and relaxed to unwind and recuperate. I definitely want to visit Becasse again in the future, and will definitely be making sure I don't eat much before I go there. Also, the kitchen looks pretty amazing. And, I don't know if I mentioned, but I was really really impressed with the winter still life. I've been to a few places that have done landscape desserts that show a natural setting. Becasse's is probably my fabvourite, if not my favourite dessert.

At est, I have to say that, yes, the wine was the best dessert drop I've ever had. I kind of suppose I'd want it to be, at ~$60/glass, but I know that's not particularly expensive in the scheme of things. The desserts were all nice, but I couldn't really say which I liked the most. I liked that muscovado was used with the fruit, and that the fruit was given a chance to speak with their own sweetness. The souffle was probably one of the better I've had, but I haven't had enough of them to know how a souffle should ideally be, so the centre felt a little too foamy and un-set to me.

As much as I tried to enjoy Sepia, I was well fatigued by that point of the week, and the noise was loud enough that I could not really hear anything said at the table I was on, nor most of what the staff said. The food was all nice, and the Japanese twist was a nice counter to everything else we'd eaten that week. The venison was, somehow too rich for me. The still-life dessert was a nice touch, as were the complimentary 'stones'. I really liked that the petit fours were made with Meyer lemons - they see so little use in this country.

Pier was... odd. When I heard that the pastry chef who had left, and probably helped cause some 'hats' being handed back, had potentially been worth those two hats on their own, I was really worried. And, when we got there, the service was very patchy, and the menu just didn't grab my fancy. It seemed to take a good five minutes to convince one of the wait staff that, yes, I wanted a four course meal entirely comprised of desserts. No savoury. Just cake. Only cake. And I wanted them roughly brought out as everyone else had a course brought out. Not four at once at the very wend after watching people eat for an hour or two. At some point, Chris and I went for a short walk outside to let our poor ears rest; surrounded by nothing but glass, the sound inside had nowhere to go but around in circles, even with only perhaps four or five more tables than us being seated. It was a little, uh, disturbing to see just how much better the overall service became once we walked back inside, camera and notepad in hand. The noise was still too much, tho', and so I sat there with a dozen friends, barely able to hear the person right beside me. With that being said, the desserts were mostly nice. I really liked the kiwi fruit one, and their use of yoghurt meringue - I ordinarily hate meringue for being too sweet (go figure). The ice-cream cone inspired one was very very nice. The Island one was inspired - Pier's take, I guess, on a still life by adding the movement of the tide, but tasted quite bland in comparison. The chocolate one was nice enough, but I'm not sure if the use of salt in among the chocoalte was, like the mains, a deliberate touch or just accidental heavy handedness with seasoning. I definitely enjoyed my meal more than most we were there with, but it still reflected quite poor value, considering the price I paid and the service I got throughout.

I ended up liking Bentley enough to go back, a week later, with a different group of friends (and some who'd been sick that day). The service was still good. I went with the vegetarian degustation, this time, which did some very very sexy things with vegetables. Really liked the spiced beetroot dish. A couple of people commented that, I think the lobster dish, was a little overcooked. About half of us went for the dessert degustation off the back of the savoury one, tho' we had to hurry it along a little; I'd booked us in for 1pm on a Saturday, but being Slurry Hills on a weekend, it took us over an hour to find parking and get inside. The ice-cream, as previously, was all superb. I ended up ordering a glass of $20 bourbon (Hudon's baby bourbon), just to see if I liked expensive bourbon more than cheap bourgon; I'm happy to say I did, tho' I'm confused that it took a non-sweet bourbon for me to finally appreciate bourbon.

I ended up going back to the Locla Taphouse again, too, for a liquid lunch with a burger. Such a filling burger. Worth pointing out that the cider-of-the-day on tap was called Dirty Granny. Teehee.

I ended up passing on Bilsons; I was just too worn out, even after a week gap of eating two courses per day.

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Just went to Quay, and overall impressions; not impressed. There were a couple of things that they did really well, like many places, the amuse was excellent and so was the 2nd course. First course was good, but the main course i think was a miss. Desserts were definitely interesting, although we all felt that they were too sweet. Wine paring was acceptable though the wine service itself was good. However, overall service felt cold, if not arrogant or jaded, and one of the managers (he was wearing a suit) seemed like he gave us a sneer when serving our mains. Anyway on to what I ate. Sorry for the shitty photos, i was using an iphone 3GS..

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Our Amuse: Really delicious, white carrot puree at the bottom with smoked eel jelly and rye bread crumbs. Smooth cream puree offset by the smoky eel jelly with a little hint of that smoked fishnyess went really well with the textural portion of the breadcrumbs which gave it a good crunch. Nice flavors and texture.

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This was seafood jewels, from right to left, spheres of blue fin tuna, scallops, octopus and mud crab. The tuna was delicious, wrapped inside was a daishi stock that provided a savory saltiness to the tuna. It was garnished with what felt like an extremely peppery leaf, something i think meant to mimic wasabi. Next was scallops with a yuzu creme fraiche inside. Really sweet scallops with the yuzu providing a nice refreshment, also really good. Then came the octopus tentacles which i think was binded with beads of egg white. I just couldn't taste the octopus nor did it have any texture aside from the egg white. Lastly was the mud crab which had tapioca pearls around it. The crab could have been sweeter and really wasn't enough. Texture wise was a bit strange, almost like mini pearls you get in bubble tea. So 2 outstanding and 2 medicore ones.

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This was a 'salad' of jamon bellota with black winter truffles and hazelnuts. I can't remember what else was in this dish but it had a vegetable akin to asparagus and a biscuity component. The salad had really nice flavors, rich and indulgent from both ham and truffles with a very strong nuttiness. The biggest problem was texture; it felt like the chef really enjoys using a lot of crunch in his dishes, with the biscuit and hazlenut proving to be a bit tiring from over crunch.

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A beetroot salad with kohlrabi also had this affliction towards crunch. However being a semi raw salad of root vegetables, i felt it was acceptable and i do not remember what exactly flavored the salad, i remember it being very delicious, a salad that i would happily eat again. This with the tuna and scallops were the best parts of our first course.

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Our 2nd courses started with green lipped abalone, pork belly in a consome heavily flavored with mushrooms and i think what was a sweet tiny pearl onion. Like i mentioned, the 2nd courses were the stars of the show and flavors hit all the high umami notes here. The abalone was sweet, pork spoon tender and that consomme was just so tasty. I really wish i had a bigger portion of this. Thankfully this didnt suffer from the crunch affliction.

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This was lobster with squid noodles, again really umami packed from a very intense seafood pairing. Lobster was sweet with the squid 'noodles' providing a slippery firm texture that was boderline 'crunchy'. The base bisque tied everything together, another dish which i wish we had more off.

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I cant remember what this whiting dish was paired with, but the fish itself was extremely tender and cooked perfectly.

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Maincourses then came along. This was a 9 point score wagyu tenderloin with black pudding puree, an oxtail consomme with some bread thing and morels. The most disappointing thing on the night. Perhaps it was pure expectations of an entirely different dish, but the tenderloin, whilst a very good peice of meat, was poached and i think in that technique lacked the flavor of the caramalization when pan-roasting or grilling which was supposed to be offset by an ezickle breadcrumb. The breadcrumb they claimed was taken from the old testament. Whilst the black pudding puree was essentially the sauce moistened by the oxtail consomme, i felt almost cheated that there were no visible chunks of morels or oxtail which i rather eat then tenderloin, a cut of meat which im never really impressed about. Even though this was a 9 score marbling wagyu, the tenderloin could have come from a 0 score i think, i mean, after all, that cut has zero fat in it. Oh yea, Captain crunch was at the scene again with this whole bread crumb thing.

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Berkshire jowl with an almond armangace flavored puree something and prunes i think had a good concept to it. However when im eating cheek, i look forward most to the gelatinous workings of the cheeks like you get in braised beef cheeks. The jowl was wrapped in some kind of tuile, almost as if they made one without sugar, and yes, it brought capt crunch along to the party. The jowl itself was mildly flavored, oh and the man in the suit told us to "enjoy the aroma of the almond" in a rather arrogant manner which kinda put us off. The prunes added a sweet component perhaps to offset the richness of the dish but i think just made it more 'sticky'.

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Grouper that was pan fried, and i forgot what the accompaniments were. There was another creamy puree sauce like thing that went with the perfectly cooked fish. Just translucent and bordering raw which is how i like my fish. A good dish that didnt break any boundaries or offend with capt crunch hiding in the exterior of the fish. Out of the main courses, this was the one that didnt disappoint the most.

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Dessert came along and the 7 texture chocolate cake is dramatic to say the lease in presentation though i dont know if you can see it in the picture. I couldnt taste 7 distinct textures in my mouth but it is perhaps the most complex chocolate cake ive ever had. The portion however, was too much and too rich although the flavor was quite pure in the sense that it was really all chocolate.

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Jackfruit egg i feel is one of the most interesting desserts ive had in a long time. Besides eating it dried, fresh or in an ice cream, ive never had jackfruit in any other way before so this was a nice change. The fruit itself was in a form of a granita which was quite subtle although sweetness played a problem with being to cloy. The egg itself was almost a deconstruction with a caramelized tuile of sort being the shell (CRUNCH!), the meringue as the whites and a very yolky ice cream in the centre. Great idea, though why they chose jackfruit is a mystery. I think something that had a little acidity would have been a better choice although still, a very thought provoking dish.

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Lastly was a cherry compote that had a coconut component on one side and a chocolate component on the other. Yeah, both of these components were crunchy again. This also felt a little cloying with the sugar levels and the lack of fruit i think was the mistake in the dish. The flavors worked however so if they only reduced the sugar, this could have been much better.

Petit fours weren't remarkable, 2 types of chocolate both which had chocolate pearls on the outside and the other which had a hazlenut on the inside providing what seemed to be the theme of the dinner to an end. Which was crunch.

The service like i said seemed a bit cold in lacking some smiles and an air of arrogance which wasn't needed. Booking was a pain even though i sent an email they said they were full but a friend managed to get me the booking. Surprisingly as such, there were 2 empty tables right next to us the entire night. Wines were fine, i think the best pairing though was actually the dessert. For the jackfruit they gave us a sparkling moscato from piedmont which also went well with the chocolate cake providing much needed acid and refreshment. I was drinking a hendricks gin martini with the seafood jewels and a sip in between each component also cleansed the palate quite nicely.

Another quirk i felt was that with the main courses they served a mesculen salad dressed simply with balsamic. Too met if this was meant to provide something light, it should be on the plate as part of another component and was pointless. The petit fours and tea we had was also something we had to pay extra for, a component of a meal which i feel in this type of restaurant should be complimentary. Perhaps im being unreasonable, but i've never seen this done before.

So overall, im not exactly impressed. There were a couple of dishes that really stood out, but the majority of them suffered from an overzealous urge to give us too many hard textures. Service was a bit of a miss and the way they handled their booking system wasn't great either. I've yet to go to any of the other 3 hat restaurants such as Tets, or Marque, but for this to be the 26th best restaurant in the world, i feel their position needs to be looked at again. Would i go back? No.

Edited by piracer (log)
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Tets is no longer three hats.

Marque is much better in my experience, Becasse was better, and Gastro Park was easily on par with my last two meals at Quay. Nice restaurant, I've had some great meals there, but it's overrated for sure.

Edited by Broken English (log)

James.

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      I've tried making them using RTE Chinese chestnuts from Costco with varying success:
      One batch became leathery after being simmered in (what started out as) simple syrup which had its sucrose concentration gradually increased.
       
      I have also tried soaking the chestnuts in hot water prior to beginning the candying process.  The nuts, once again, developed a tough skin after a few days.  To reverse the tough skins I added more water to the syrup, broke the nuts up into pieces and simmered them gently for a few hours.
      While some pieces have a tough skin, many of them have taken on a candied texture.
       
      Should any further attempts to candy chestnuts be attempted using the method of slowly simmering them in simple syrup?
       
      Please share any feedback ypu may have.  Thanks!
    • By ShylahSinger
      Hello! I'm fairly new to this site so I don't know if my search was weak. I'm trying to find a way to make Mandarin orange puree at home, but I couldn't find anything even similar in the forum. I am a home cook, but I have been making chocolate bonbons and other confections for over 4 years (intermitantly). It is too expensive for me to purchase this online- not because of the price of the puree, but the cost of shipping makes it prohibative. The recipes I've seen online are all differant and don't seem to be what I need. 
      I would love any help with this! I look forward to hearing and learning from those who have much, much more experience than me. Thanks!
    • By Darienne
      In hopes of sleeping better, etc, etc, I have currently given up gluten, dairy and now sugar.  The gluten and dairy pose no problems...the sugar does.  I am not happy using mannitol or erythritol or any of those artificial sweeteners...they give me severe digestive problems.   But I can tolerate stevia very nicely.  The only problem is that there doesn't seem to be much sweetened with this ingredient.
       
      I do have a carob/coconut oil/peanut butter/stevia candy of sorts.  I don't really like it all that much, but it does work.  That's about it.
       
      Has anyone any recipes for desserts using stevia?  Thanks.
    • By Janet Taylor
      Ever since Todd talked making cupcakes I have been cupcake crazy. Although, I am not a cake maker but more of a pie person.
      My first dessert that I love that I make is my Coconut Cream Pie w/heavy whipped cream. I don't use low fat anything and probably angioplasties is necessary after this baby.
      My second is Peach Cobbler w/rich vanilla ice cream. I never met a cobbler that I didn't like, but peach is my favorite.
      I don't make these often because I wouldn't be able to get through the front door if I did.
      How about yours?
      .....Janet
    • By amyneill
      Hi all!! 
      I work at an amazing little New Zealand Style ice cream shop in the beautiful Denver Colorado. I was hoping to get a little help on the subject of adding fruit into ice cream after extracting it and ensuring that, when the ice cream is frozen, the fruity bits don't turn into rock hard shards. I am planning on doing a cherry chocolate ice cream and I was going to soak some dried cherries that we're no longer using for something else. I was planning on using some brandy and a ton of sugar, but I was really hoping someone had a tried and true method they could send my way so that I KNOW that the fruit will be luscious as it's frozen. If you have a certain sugar ratio. I know there is the brix test, but to be honest it's been many years since pastry school and I am very rusty. Would love to hear from some of my fellow sugar-heads. 
      Thank you!
      Amy
       
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