Being a big fan of tea, I had been eager to check out The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar in Redfern. The cafe had a cool vibe and is beautifully decorated. There's a mini retail store inside with lots of displays showing the dazzling array of tea you can choose from (and purchase to take home).
The food in the menu all incorporates some element of tea into it. We went for the Green tea noodle soup with miso broth, shitake mushrooms and ginger dumplings. The broth was delicious and the dumpling filling was equally tasty. It was a very light and healthy dish, with just a hint of green tea from the noodles.
We also ordered the Slow cooked beef in black tea sandwich. It's hard to go wrong with a freshly grilled sandwich but I was still very impressed with the flavour combination. The beef was soft and the balance of the pickled cauliflower and the cheddar was spot on.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of tea to choose from in the drinks menu. After much deliberation, we went with the Gunpowder Green Tea (a suggested pairing with the green tea noodles) and a Ginger Snap Latte - which came in an adorable cup, with its own rabbit tail.
We were craving something sweet and opted for a Lavender and vanilla marshmallow. Great texture and flavour, it was just the little sugar hit we were after.
We definitely enjoyed our trip down the rabbit hole and it's great to see an organic tea bar thriving in Sydney. I'll definitely be back.
Quay has been on my wish list for a while and I finally got the chance to cross it off my list. We were lucky to get one of the tables on the mezzanine floor of the restaurant, with uninterrupted, sweeping views of the Sydney harbour and the Opera House. This really is dining with a view!
Dining with my parents and my boyfriend, we opted for the four course menu for $175pp. We figured that if we each get different dishes, it's like one big degustation!
The Amuse Bouche was Almonds and squash seeds with cultured cream and verjuice. Light and tangy, left me wanting for more.
For the first course, I got the Mud crab congee (est. 2003). Congee is not something you would find in a Western restaurant, let alone a fine dining one. So I was intrigued. Firstly, it smelled amazing. The congee itself was a bit more watery than the versions I am used to but tasted absolutely superb. The mix of the slightly salty egg yolk emulsion with the sweet crab meat really elevated the flavours.
The Raw smoked Blackmore wagyu had a subtle smokey flavour which went very well with the golden enoki mushrooms and the lightly spiced horseradish cream.
The Smoked eel and black beef pancetta were a wonderful pairing, and the fermented mushrooms really accentuated the dish.
For the second course, I chose the Wild black lip abalone, fermented chawanmushi, smoked pig jowl, roasted Komi and sesame. The chawanmushi was silky smooth and the abalone was very tender, but the star of the dish was definitely the pig jowl. It was simply divine, like eating the fattiest slice of tuna belly.
The Slow braised quail with brioche, grains, hazelnuts and coco button mushrooms delivered on both flavour and texture. The dish had a lovely crunch and each mouthful had so much going on. I was expecting the quail to be the star of the dish but actually, it was just a smorgasbord of ingredients all working together.
Compared to the other dishes, the XO Crayfish wasn't at the same lofty standards. The XO sauce lacked a bite and was more salty than anything else. The crayfish was very well cooked though.
Onto the third course and I had chosen the Blackmore wagyu with black rice miso, white maitake and black garlic. Cooked perfectly pink and tender, I don't recall eating a better piece of steak. The black garlic puree was out of this world delicious.
The Roasted masterstock duck had a great profile of flavours. I only wished it came with crispy skin.
...and onto desserts! Like many, I had watched the finale of Masterchef Season 2 and wanted to have the Snow Egg experience since. Today's version was nectarine flavoured. I went in with super its expectations and I got to say they were met. The presentation of the dish is stunning and almost too beautiful to eat. The egg sits on a bed of granita (today, it was nectarine flavoured). To eat it, you tap on the 'egg' to crack it open and out oozes the gooey centre. At first taste. I found the 'egg' a bit too sweet but when I took a little bit of everything in one spoonful (the ice cream filled meringue, the super refreshing granita, the malt biscuit) that's when the magic happens. So much is happening texturally and flavour-wise, I can see why it's now such an iconic dessert.
We also ordered Quay's other signature dessert, the Eight Textured Chocolate Cake. It's definitely one of the best chocolate desserts I've had. I can't say I made out all eight textures, but it tasted so damn good, it doesn't really matter. At the table, hot chocolate sauce is drizzled into the dark chocolate top coat, creating a hole in the cake. It's a great touch of theatre. The cake is rich and decadent, and we scrape the plate clean.
Dining at Quay was truly a memorable, three hat worthy experience - everything from the view to the service to the food. There were some truly outstanding dishes like the Blackmore Wagyu, the snow egg and the chocolate cake that will stay with me for a long time.
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