A took me to dinner at Quay last night. It doesn't get much better than this. It was one of those evenings I'll always remember - such impressive food (because to be honest, eating out so often and being fortunate to eat at many of the 'better' restaurants, it can sometimes feel a bit same-same), perfect friendly service and fabulous relaxed company. Oh, and we had the best table and views in the house, that was really special.
I want to gush about the food. The four course menu is perfection. I could eat bowls of the amuse-bouche, a portion of creme fraiche topped with tiny cubes of jamon jelly and a disc of kingfish, every day. My starter of mud crab congee, hand shelled mud crab, Chinese inspired split rice porridge (I'd been craving congee for months) was light and wholesome, as congee is; the crab so sweet. We both had to have the same next course: rare breed pig belly, gentle braise of green lipped abalone, handmade silken tofu, Japanese mushrooms, chive flowers. Peter Gilmore's signature way of combining pork belly with seafood is so well thought out. Cubes of meaty, then fatty, then crispy pork belly, sitting alongside the silkiest tofu imaginable. Mandolin-thin slivers of meaty abalone curl amongst it and dotted with the tiniest mushrooms and flowers. Truly great. I'd chosen the next course very quickly. Poached White River veal fillet, veal sweetbreads, bone marrow, walnuts, chanterelle mushroom cream. Sauteed sweetbreads are golden and creamy inside. Quivering white circles of bone marrow melt with crunchy sea salt. Crisp walnuts and a delicate cream. All these delights - my favourite things - sit on top of rare veal. The dish takes heed of richness and left me feeling just right - too often I've felt sick from an enjoyable but overly-rich meal. How could I not choose the cheese plate, especially with A choosing another wonderful dessert to share. For me, Edel de Cleron and Marcel Petit aged Comte, toasted hazelnut brioche. There are few French cheeses I haven't tried but both of these were new and so exciting, instant falling in love. The Edel de Cleron was grassy and earthy, spreading all over the toasted breads. Equally smitten with the Marcel Petit comte, I'll be seeking both out again. Between the two cheeses, the prettiest divide of hazelnuts and micro flowers. A's white nectarines set above vanilla pannacotta was so simple and a joy. It had to be left simple to highlight the blushing sweetness of new season nectarines with the fragrant vanilla and soft pannacotta the perfect compliments.
Alongside was a gorgeous bottle of Philip Shaw No. 19 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, it couldn't have been a better choice. We both fell gaga for the dessert wine, Lustau San Emilio Pedro Ximenez.
The service was wonderful, friendly, welcoming, and uncrowded. We could eat and chat and sit back and laugh and it was easy. Our lovely waitress brought out the petit fours, with a chocolate message of 'bon voyage' on the plate, and even sang a little song.
We sat down, with a beer and a sparkling wine, and we had presents. I gave A a frisbee. It's a cool frisbee! He blew me away with a beautiful card and a House Of Cashmere scarf in the prettiest pale blue. So soft and warm. Cashmere, wow. It was such a thoughtful, beautiful present. We get along so well, and we both have our own lives to live, especially now. I only want him to be happy.