Named one of the best restaurants in Australia, the iconic Fink Group’s establishment reopens its doors on the 19th July after a $4 million renovation.
The Fink Group worked with one of Australia’s leading architectural firms, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer on the multi-million dollar refurbishment, the same firm responsible for Bennelong and OTTO Brisbane.
The interior was conceived as an organic space reflective of Peter Gilmore’s nature-inspired cuisine with added glamour embracing the restaurant’s location in the dress circle of Sydney Harbour.
Working with the brief ‘the biggest little restaurant in Australia’, Quay’s 100 seat dining room has been reduced to 80 seats across a number of small, intimate dining spaces.
Whilst the upper and lower tower still hold 270º views sweeping the harbour, the dining room has been reoriented to open up to the Harbour Bridge, whilst still offering spectacular views of the Opera House.
The bespoke timber ceiling’s organic shape steps up in level to direct the gaze of diners upward and out towards the harbour views. The geometry references the existing curves of the ceiling designed by George Freedman, the original designer of Quay in 1988.
Other materials derived from nature include stingray patterned divides, volcanic lava stone detailing glazed with a pattern evocative of cracked bark and a series of blue carpet pools referencing the ocean.
For the first time in Quay’s 30-year history, tables will be kept clear of linen, with beautiful custom timber top tables made from sustainable solid spotted gum by Planet Furniture.
In addition, the Fink Group have commission up and coming Australian designer, Adam Goodrum to create The Quay Chair. Purpose built for the restaurant in a range of organic colours with chevron detailing to reference the Opera House shells.
The new space also features a ten-seat private dining room that faces the Sydney Opera House. The room features wall to ceiling mirrors and an elliptical table famed for its democratic intentions.
In following on from the Fink Group’s passion for art, the restaurant entrance is framed by Bronwyn Oliver’s Tide artwork; the signature piece that the Quay logo has been modelled from.
The restaurant will also feature the captivating Teamlab animation, Four Seasons. Displayed in Quay’s upstairs event space, the piece is based on the rice fields of Tashibunosho, with the digital artwork synchronising with the actual sunrise, sunset and weather of the Japanese town.
Continually inspired by nature, the creative process for chef Gilmore began with working closely alongside the farmers, fishermen, producers and artisans who cultivate bespoke produce exclusively for Quay.
From there launched a long journey of testing and refinement, imagination and flashes of inspiration. For each dish, the growth of every element and the creation of every ceramic piece was carefully considered and crafted for its role in the dining experience.
For months leading up to the opening, Chef Gilmore worked closely with ceramic artists, Paul Davies & Jacqueline Clayton from Red shed Studio Jam, Malcom Greenwood and Ben Richardson to design bespoke ceramics for each dish.
A continuation of Gilmore’s philosophy, he also worked with a number of producers to cultivate produce for the menu including Newcastle Greens who grew red speckled peas that feature on the ten-course menu with miso and anchovy which are not yet commercially available in Australia. An heirloom variety of Japanese Tennouji turnips were also grown to order by Epicurean Harvest for a dish of sand crab, kombu, squid, Wakefield cabbage.
The dining experience begins with a dish that emphasises the new direction and philosophy of the food. An unknown fact is that like many others, Chef Gilmore dislikes the texture of oysters but values the flavour.
As oysters are often enjoyed at the start of the meal, he wanted to challenge himself to serve an oyster but, in a way, that he could enjoy it. He approached it as an oyster intervention, “the flavour to stay, but the texture to change”. A beautiful handcrafted ceramic oyster shell is presented to the diner with the imagination of Chef Gilmore’s perfect oyster.
The dish involves a silky oyster cream topped with an oyster crackling made from the frill of the oyster. The dish is topped with Ossetra caviar for an added sense of luxury and intense umami note. The oyster is then eaten with a hand-crafted mother of pearl spoon.
The Quay wine list mirrors Peters Gilmore’s approach to championing locally sourced produce while still tipping its cap to international styles. The emphasis is showcasing quality examples that communicate a sense of place and time.
In keeping with the new restaurant philosophy, four beverage matches have been created for the guest to enjoy – Temperance – Quay’s non-alcoholic offering; a round of drinks – showcasing the unsung heroes of the beverage world: a collection of brewed, fermented, distilled and blended; the contemporary pairing – a partnership of wine both local and international, traditional and modern; and the Quay pairing – a Sommeliers little treasures selection.
The 500+ wine list will be updated weekly by Head Sommelier Shanteh Wong, with assistance by Assistant Head Sommelier Seamus Brandt. Amanda Yallop will oversee both Quay and other Fink Group venues in her newly appointed role as Group Wine Director. Leading the bar team, Taka Shino has crafted a cocktail list of 20 drinks to enhance the dining experience.
Images 2018 © Nikki To | For further information visit Quay Restaurant