After beautiful weather all week, I ran out of luck and it is pouring here in Sydney. No matter, I am on vacation and chilling in bed under a big fluffy duvet looking at the rain is relaxing too. Yesterday was anything but relaxing. I got up at the wee hours to visit Eveleigh Market at Carriage Works for breakfast and shopping. It was only 10 when I came back to drop off my groceries. In the evening, I made an impromptu trip to Bondi Beach to check out the last day of Sculpture By The Sea. I lingered in the salt-perfumed breeze until late at night. In between all that, I dolled up and went to famed Tetsuya’s for a lunch of their tasting menu.
I made the reservation almost as soon as I booked my flight to Sydney. Tetsuya’s may not be the hottest restaurant in town but it has certainly withstood the test of time. The Japanese-influenced building tucked between high-rises on Kent Street and looked out of place. The serene courtyard and garden helped to add ambience even though the bustling dining room seemed stuck in the 90s. But I am here for the food.
My lunch began with warm multigrain baguette, truffle butter, and cold glass of Riesling. A plate with wooden spoon was set in front of me and I looked forward to the first course with anticipation.
Savoury Custard with Avruga and a float of soy cream. The custard was so delicate yet contrasted by the most vibrant flavour. I loved the velvety soy cream.
Salad of the Sea is a play on chirashi. Underneath the daikon garnish was a piece of sushi rice. The yuzu dressing complimented the salmon, tuna, and flounder nicely along with citrus, carrots, and daikon. Marinated Scampi with Walnut Oil & Egg. The egg yolk was compressed and had a gelatinous texture. Surprisingly rich and the dish begged for some citrus.
Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with Salad of Celery, Witlof, Apple & Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Roe. Tetsuya's signature dish. The fish had texture of sashimi but none of the raw taste. It straddled the line between cooked and raw. But the star was the umami-rich kombu crust. It added such a delicious savoury note to the sweet flesh of the fish. The salad on the side was...incomprehensible.
Shio Koji Flounder with Tomato & Summer Greens. Another highlight of the meal. The flounder was cured with shio koji (fermented rice). The skin was crisp but the flesh was unbelievably delicate reminiscent of steamed fish. The kitchen knows how to handle seafood. Pickled onion and tomato add some acidity to the plate.
Tea Smoked Quail Breast with Parsnip & Calamari. The smokiness was subtle but the most memorable part was the tangle of paper thin calamari. Soft yet toothsome. I never had calamari prepared this way before.
Roasted Lamb Rack with Black Olives & Artichoke. Felt more like the obligatory red meat dish of the menu. Nothing too special and the meat was hard to cut with regular knife.
Lychee Granita with Strawberries & Coconut Sorbet. Refreshing intermezzo. The silky smooth coconut sorbet outshined the lychee granite.
Tetsuya's Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut. Shiny shiny glaze that was barely set. It was filled with chocolate mousse, hazelnut praline, and a thin slice of cake. Decadent, yes. But the lightness complemented the meal well.
I finished the meal with Tall Black & Mignardise. From left to right: mandarin marshmallow, white chocolate choux puff, macadamia nut truffle, run & golden raisin macaron. As much as I love flat white in Australia, a black coffee seemed more appropriate ending to this tasting menu lunch.
I was happy with my lunch and the kitchen demonstrated its finesse with seafood. I really could do without the meat courses and the dessert were more restrained than innovative. As much as I enjoy fine dining, I also find more excitement with casual fares boasting bold flavours. I sent in my reservation request at Quay in hopes of securing a table this week. But it is doesn’t come through, I would not be terribly disappointed. Sydney dining scene has so much to explore for all different budgets.