Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jump Q Post!!! #1

I've decided to make a new type of posts in my blog. It's the "Jump Q Post" series!! Everyone knows that I'm a very lazy blogger. I have HEAPS of backlog :p When I do get to write, I normally write in chronological order (basically go through my back log and start with the oldest). With "Jump Q" post, it's something that I thought I should write straight away and skip all my backlog because I'm THAT excited to tell everyone about it hahaha :) Now, let me tell you why this post deserved to be written first. What makes it more special than any other stuff in my backlog??? 1 word - TETSUYA! Yup!! I went to Tetsuya!! :D Tell me if you still don't think it deserves to be written first. 

Now, this was easily the longest single meal I've had. The most courses in 1 meal too! Total of 14 courses including coffee and a little something that you'll see at the end of this post. We arrived at 7pm, didn't leave until 1215am or so. Yup! FIVE HOURS for 1 meal. We were the 3rd in the room when we got there, and we were the last to leave together with another table. Anyway , like my chemistry teacher in school used to say 'a picture is worth a thousand words', let's just look at the pictures now :) 

As soon as we sat down, the waiter told us we were getting a glass of complementary champagne. He then took it out and showed us the champagne, couldn't remember what it was :p I don't really know my champagne. Not sure if it's a special day or everyone that visits would get 1. 

Now, the 'grand opening' of our dinner - the Truffle Butter. It was THE BEST butter I've tasted ever! I've had dishes with truffle in them before, but truffle was never the 'main character' in those dishes. This butter however, truffle was definitely what this was all about. The butter was really creamy and airy, almost like a whipped cream. I could smell the truffle even before I put the bread in my mouth. By the way, there were 2 types of bread to choose from. Italian white and sour dough. Both were good!! Loved the butter so much that I kept wanting more bread. Robin had to keep on reminding me not to fill myself up with bread. We had many courses to go. We did end up wiping the butter clean, and guess what the very nice waiter did? He brought us another 1 hahaha :) Couldn't finish the second lot, was so tempted to ask if I could take it home :p 

First course - Chilled Cucumber Soup with Sheep Yoghurt Ice Cream. The soup was very refreshing. Nice first course little course to tease our taste buds and to bring up appetite to want more. As I didn't study the menu before visiting, I had totally no idea what the dishes were throughout the whole night. So I was just waiting to be surprised with every course. 

Second course (optional) - Pacific Oysters from Port Douglas with Rice Vinegar & Ginger. The waiter said "Would you like some oysters? It would go really well with the champagne". We thought, since we're already there, might as well try. Definitely no regret there! The oysters were so fresh, the dressing was so good!! It just complemented the oysters so well. The ginger just took all the fishy smell away from the oysters, what's left was just the plump sweet creamy oysters. It looked like something so simple, but it was so amazing! 

Now, have a look at the photo and try to guess what you think this is. Third course - Carpaccio. So what carpaccio do you think this is? Beef? Tomato? Capcicum? The waiter only said "Carpaccio" when he took this dish to the table. We ate and after eating still had no idea what it was. Didn't taste like beef, the texture didn't feel like capcicum, definitely not tomato. It was something sweet. It was smoked watermelon!! With some garden herbs on top. This was 1 of the vegetarian dishes if anyone goes there for vegetarian degustation. 

Course 4 - Sashimi of Kingfish with crushed black bean and orange zest. This was 1 of our favourite of all dishes that night. It was like a kingfish sashimi with a Chinese steamed fish twist. The dressing with the challot and coriander on the fish tasted almost like the Chinese steamed fish soy sauce. However, there was a tiny hint of orange in there. Very subtle. Robin ate his first while I was busy taking photos from different angle and stuff. His face was so serious and he said "Eat it." I put a small piece in my mouth. It was 1 of those "O-M-G" moment. Such familiar taste yet so different texture wise with raw fish and simply amazing. 

Forgot to mention earlier, I think this is going to be a long post :p Let's continue on.

Now, does this look familiar or does this look familiar. Course 5 - Signature dish - Confit Petuna Ocean Trout with Konbu, Celery & Apple. I've learnt that night that Konbu is a type of seaweed. Robin thought it didn't live up to expectation, but I liked it. The only thing I didn't like was the celery, but that's just a personal preference that I dun like eating celery (luckily there weren't too much of it). The fish was really nice! The konbu on top made a crispy crust, the fish fillet was really fresh and firm. I don't mean it in a bad way, but the konbu crust tasted like potato chips flavouring (well, konbu does have glutamic acid that is used to make MSG :p). I thought that was very different. Definitely not something can be found anywhere else. 

Now, this was definitely 1 of the special courses that weren't really on menu. Course 6 - Grilled Pig's Tail with NZ Scampi & Jamon Iberico. The look of this dish wasn't 1 of the greatest. Didn't look impressive, but the taste, another "O-M-G" dish. The Jamon Iberico was a Spanish ham that's cured for long time. The waiter said it was 1 of the highest grade. Scampi was slightly pan fried, it was so sweet. Pig's tail was grilled till VERY CRUNCHY. Separately, they were really nice on their own. Together, it was like exponentially nicer!! It just tasted so different when you eat them together rather than individually.The pig's tail gave the crunchy texture, scampi provided the sweetness, the ham was added another level of taste. 

Course 7 - Braised Ox Tail with Sea Cucumber & Yuzu. As the sky got darker, my photos got blurrier too *sigh*. Sorry that you can't really see much in this photo other than the 2 rings of sea cucumber on top. Just have to believe me that it tasted AWESOME :) (By the way, I accidentally published the incomplete post. Hope nobody actually read it before I finish writing. *sigh* stupid keyboard :p) 

Course 8 - Pancetta Wrapped Quail Breast with Fresh Sprouts & Onion. Well, let's say if you ask me which course I would give up to have another of that pig's tail, this is probable the 1. Not to say it's not nice, but just in comparison to others, this wasn't as impressive to me that's all. Mind you that we are talking about Tetsuya here. So even though I say not impressive enough, it can easily be the best dish in any other restaurant still. The puff rice thingy was interesthing though. Almost like rice bubbles except more of the toasted rice fragrant. 

Course 9 - Slow-Roasted Breast of Duck with Smoked Leeks & Sansho. Duck was really really tender. Leeks was surprisingly good! Usually I don't really like leeks. For some reason I have problem swallowing leeks when I eat them. Didn't have problem with this though. Maybe because it was smoked till it was very very soft. 

Course 10 - Our last savoury dish. Braised Cape Grim Beef Short - Rib with Spring Vegetable. This had to be the best rib I've ever had. The meat was so tender, the beef flavour was so intense! Just had to take each bite really slowly to savour every drop of juice from the meat. 

Course 11 - Our first dessert which was made out of 2 parts. Blood Orange Sorbet and Summer Pudding. Again, sorry for the blurry photo that's out of focus :p This sorbet was actually blood orange and BLACK PEPPER. Who would've thought black pepper can be so nice as a flavour of sorbet with orange. The spicy after taste from the pepper was quite interesting. 

Here's the 2nd part of the dessert - Summer pudding. It was brioche soaked in berry juice with strawberry, raspberry and blueberry. Robin liked this a lot. It's not overly sweet and it's very refreshing. 

Course 12 - Golden Peach with Peach Granita. Don't think there's anything special with that golden peach, tasted like peach from the can :p Granita was nice and refreshing, the special component was actually the ice-cream. It's green. Guess what flavour? I could spend my whole life guessing and wouldn't get it. Peach leaf ice-cream. Cool eh! :) I can't really describe the taste though. Maybe a bit like pistachio, but that's just because it's green too :p 

Course 13 - Last dessert before coffee. Chocolate Pave with Cream Cheese Ice Cream and Cinnamon Twigs. The last dish and I got too excited to see wobbly block of chocolate. I made the mistake of digging in before I took photo. If you can't tell where I've 'ruined' it, then I've successfully hid the spot haha :p I thought cinnamon twigs was just plain cinnamon sticks. Of course I was wrong. It was more like cinnamon flavour chocolate sticks that would snap as I bit. The wobbly chocolate pave was really rich and satisfying. Together with the cream cheese ice-cream, it was the perfect finish for the meal. 

Course 14 - We were offered some tea or coffee after dinner to wash the rich chocolate pave down. Together with the coffe/tea was some mochi! 

These pretty little things had chocolate ganache and chai in them. The mochi 'skin' was very thin but still chewy. The chai chocolate ganache was again something I wouldn't normally find in mochi.  Just to show the proportion of skin to filling. Very thin mochi wrapped with LOTS of spicy chocolate ganache. Waiter recommended the best way to eat this was to pop the whole thing in the mouth, but I thought that would probably be too rich and heavy. So I took small bites and had a few sips of tea in between. 

Conclusion, HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you thought of going, but is now hesitating because they lost a hat, you are missing out BIG TIME. Service was great!! Oh, and did I mention my brother in law works there? That's why we had extra courses :D Even had a tour around the kitchen, out to the garden, looked at their tomato plants, the pretty edible flowers and even their own bees! Robin almost didn't want to leave the wine cellar too. 

So, there was my belated birthday present from my lovely husband :) I'm looking forward to next year's present already :D 

Tetsuya's Restaurant 

529 Kent Street
Sydney 2000
Tel: 02 9267 2900

It was still o.k when the sky was still bright because we were sitting by the window. As the sky gets dark, it got harder and harder to take photos. Towards the end it was almost impossible to take a decent photo. Now I'm definitely feeling the limitation of low light capability with my camera. Maybe I should buy a new camera and then go back there again ?? :) 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quay (again! :D)

Hello everyone!! Long time no see!! Things been really crazy at work and also outside of work. Why? Because October was really a very popular wedding month! I had 1 wedding at the end of Sept, then 3 more in Oct. Those in Oct were all close family members i.e. my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law and my brother. Very happy for all these newly weds, at the same time also very glad that finally no more weddings to go to this year - it was tiring (for myself and also for my wallet :p). Now I can go back to my 'normal' routine and continue to TRY to blog regularly :p 
Anyway, I celebrated my birthday couple months ago. Even though I try to have at least 12 months gap between visit of any restaurants, I couldn't say no when my sister say she's going to buy me nice dinner for my birthday, not especially when it's Quay :) (I've visited Quay earlier this year to celebrate Robin's birthday). She wanted to try the snow egg after watching it on masterchef. So she said to me "I'll buy you dinner at Quay, you go there with me. I want to eat snow egg". Like I would say no to that :) 
So, we started our dinner with some drinks down at the bar. I had this yummy drink which I have forgotten what it was called. All I remember was it had mint, lime (??) and was very refreshing. If I took a photo of that drink menu I probably could remember which 1, but the very "smart" me of course didn't take a photo of the drink menu. 

Amuse bouche - smoked mackeral, cucumber, crème fraiche and obviously a few other ingredients that I can't remember :p The last time I went we had a smoked fish amuse bouche too. Even though the piece of mackeral was so small, it was full of smokey flavour. While the crème fraiche added creaminess, the cucumber added the crunch to the texture. The combination was just perfect - full of smokey flavour, creamy when put in mouth, crunchy when bitten. 

Salad of pink turnips & breakfast radishes, pickled beetroot, goats curd, blood sorrel, olive, pine resin, balsamico. This wasn't my entree, but I did had a taste of that tube looking thingy. It was incredible! It was like thin layer of crunchy fried biscuit/pastry (don't know what's the best word for it) cigar filled with creamy creamy goats curd. It was so good! 

Raw Chinese artichokes, Hiramasa kingfish, smoked eel, horseradish, nasturtiums, octopus, pickled kohlrabi, egg white & radish flower. Honestly, I don't know half the ingredient of this dish. So I wouldn't know what's what. I just know there were so many different ingredient that gave different texture to each bite. Didn't need to know what's what as long as everything tasted good :) 

Organic heirloom carrots, cumin, fennel & celery seeds, comte-infused curd, almonds, amaranth. This was Robin's dish. I think I tried some of his carrot, but don't remember much about it. 

This was my gentle braise of pearl oyster, sea scallop, shaved squid, lettuce hearts, tapioca scallop velvet, oyster cream, wasabi flowers. This was very very good! Scallops were big and thick and fresh and sweet! The only reaction I had when I put it in my mouth was just "mmmmm......." Had to try to eat as slow as I could so that I wouldn't finish it too quickly. The squid was so thinly shaved and so tender. The crunchy lettuce hearts had accompanied them well. 

Milk fed suffolk lamb leg poached in salted butter, slow cooked crisp lamb belly, pantelleria capers, nasturtiums, purslane, artichoke emulsion, bergamot jam. Both Robin and sis had the same dish. According to them, the meat was very very tender and but didn't really feel like goat meat. However, the smaller piece of lamb belly had real intense lamb flavour. 

Mine was the slow cooked partridge stuffed with pumpernickel, morels and ethical spanish foie gras butter, faro, hazelnuts, cinnamon, cloves, rye, white asparagus cream. The partridge meat was so tender so soft with the creamy stuffing inside. The other stuff that accompanied the meat i.e. the hazelnuts and rye and stuff felt a bit like crunchy and chewy breakfast muesli :p 

Eight texture chocolate cake featuring Arnedel Chocolate. A round piece of cake was brought to the table first. Then the waiter pour the warm chocolate ganache on the top of the cake and it made a 'crater' on the cake. Robin tried to separate the 8 things that gave the 8 textures, but he kept on counting and only managed to find 7. I didn't even bother :p All I know was it was very rich and creamy and yummy.

This was my dessert - Fresh custard apple, vanilla, warm caramelised brioche, palm blossom sugar, cream, wild thyme honey. My favourite component of this dessert was the brioche. So crispy on the outside, so soft and buttery on the inside. It was just perfect on its own. I didn't really like the other components though. I thought they had this cough syrup kind of after taste. 

Overall, the food was great! Couldn't get any better birthday dinner meal than this. However, service wise was a little disappointing. Compare to my first visit, it seemed like this time they were very short staffed. Also, at my first visit, the staff was very alert, very attentive. They would come over to ask if we needed anything with just eye contact. However this time, we waited for ages for someone to look our way so that we could get the bill. Then had to wait for ages for someone to come and take our credit card to pay for the bill. (By the way, most of the dishes that sis had weren't show here e.g. snow egg because they were either showed in my other Quay post, or Robin ordered the same dish, so I just posted 1 photo).

Price: $155 per person for 4 course dinner
Location: Overseas Passenger Terminal, 
The Rocks, Sydney 2000
Phone: (02) 9251 5600

It was very very hard to take photo there because of lighting. It was quite dim there. That's why all my photos here are very grainy. Had to dial up the ISO to take these photos. I forgot to put my watermark on these photos too. I thought better post it while I'm in the mood to write rather than wait for myself to put watermark on them which could be a couple weeks later.