2017 Australian Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Australian Restaurant Guide is out now, celebrating the best eats in Australia. Find it in all good newsagents nationwide.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before August 1, 2016 and you’ll go into the draw to win your choice of adventure!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Quay to the city

"Making the snow egg at home would be a bit of a challenge," says Peter Gilmore, master of understatement (if you'd like to give it a try, here's the guava snow egg recipe). The Quay chef is thrilled by the reaction his best-known dessert has drawn following its appearance as the ultimate challenge on this year's season finale of MasterChef. We were the first to sing the dish's praises in its various guises here at GT, and the current version, an orb of poached meringue with a crisp toffee shell and a custard apple ice-cream nucleus sitting pretty in a glass with the blissful textural contrast of strawberry guava fool and granita, at once rich and refreshing, still probably tops our list of the country's most swoon-worthy sweets. For the record, Gilmore thought that Callum Hann and Adam Liaw acquitted themselves fairly on the show with their attempts, even if they had two hours in which to do it. "We normally have a team doing it at Quay, of course," he says, "but I think if I had Angus Jones, my pastry chef, on, he could have done it in an hour."

Quay is currently booked out well in advance. The MasterChef stint is the latest in a series of triumphs for the Sydney fine-diner, following two years at the top of GT's national top 100 and its appearance in April as the top-placed Australian restaurant (ahead of Tetsuya's) in the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list. If you want to taste the snow egg, though, along with the restaurant's other signatures, you're in luck. Next month, Murdoch Books publishes Quay, quite possibly the most sumptuous cookbook to have come from an Australian restaurant.

Photographed by GT regular Anson Smart, it's a hefty volume filled with the instantly recognisable organic forms of Gilmore's food, and packed with information he has picked up both as a chef and, more recently, as a gardener. The diversity of nature, Gilmore says, is his key inspiration in the kitchen, and it was important to him that the book reflected it.

"It's a definite movement around the world, looking again at diversity of ingredients, and I think if chefs don't champion them, a lot of those ingredients will just disappear," he says. "It's the same with different breeds of animals - if it weren't for restaurants and the trickle-down effect from them, everything would just be run by the supermarkets." Good restaurants, he argues, differ because they don't reject products simply for reasons of shelf life or the shortness of their season, "we just move onto the next special thing". It wasn't so many years ago that supermarkets sold only one kind of lettuce, and Gilmore points to the work done by chefs such as Sydney's Serge Dansereau to encourage growers to branch out. "And lo and behold, they're all in the supermarkets now, along with all the different types of potatoes."

This celebration of nature may prove a little tricky for cooks who want to follow recipes in Quay to the letter. One salad lists more than 40 separate ingredients, while another calls for four different kinds of violets. Gilmore refused to cut corners for the book, but by the same token he says a bit of flexibility is key when it comes to choosing how to cook from it. "There's a dish of white asparagus with a curd and nuts and something like 15 different herbs and buds on it, but it'll still be really nice with just the curd and the nuts and two or three normal herbs." If you can't get strawberry guavas for the snow egg, you could try using white peaches. "It's meant to be inspiration as much as anything else."

The book gives alternatives for home kitchens not equipped with restaurant kit such as combi-ovens and sous-vide machines, but by and large, it pulls no punches. If you want to follow things to the letter, start stocking up on your borage buds and digging through seed catalogues for miniature sour Mexican cucumbers now. Peter Gilmore wants to leave you with this guarantee. "If someone is going to take the time to make the Quay chocolate cake, I want it to taste like the Quay chocolate cake, even if it takes them four hours to make it." He stops and thinks a moment. "Okay, it'll take eight hours. But it will taste like the Quay chocolate cake."

Quay, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, Sydney, (02) 9251 5600

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Want to know where Peter Gilmore gets inspiration for his dishes? Then check out our collection of videos with the man himself.

Snow egg

Chocolate cake

Lobster

Spring vegetables

Sea pearls

Raspberries and violets

Squid

Pig belly

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Fratelli Paradiso to open a second branch … in Tokyo
25.08.2016
Sydney's Master restaurant has closed
24.08.2016
Gateway Sydney: the new-look Circular Quay
17.08.2016
The Gourmet Traveller 2017 Restaurant Awards
17.08.2016
Salads by Yield
17.08.2016
Long Chim Sydney to host Gourmet Traveller's Restaurant Awards
16.08.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Twenty
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Akachochin

The new CBD-fringe suburb of South Wharf is still a mystery...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Alchemy

Expansive river views, experienced wait-staff and an accomp...

Ananas Bar & Brasserie

With a soundtrack laden with dance beats and a dark, moody ...

Appellation

To celebrate its sense of place, Appellation makes a grand ...

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar

Andre's kitchen has progressed significantly since opening ...

Aravina Estate

The family-friendly nature of Aravina explains the terracot...

Aria

Grilled heart of palm with white beetroot and quinoa. Scall...

Aria Brisbane

Matt Moran's northern outpost sticks closely to the templat...

Assaggio

Assaggio's very red, very mod fit-out has undeniable flair,...

Attica

Attica now has the profile of a first-grade fine-diner (and...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Azuma

Azuma makes a hushed refuge within a shopping plaza, and wi...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Aquitaine Brasserie

The name is a nod to France's south-west gastronomic heartl...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×