THE ART OF DINING
With impressive views of Sydney Harbour and its iconic Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and a sprawling span across much of the city’s incredible skyline and waterways, sits two of Sydney’s finest restaurants, both headed by Executive Chef Peter Gilmore.
(STORY) SAMUEL HOW (IMAGES) BRETT STEVENS
Quay the signature Fine Dining Restaurant of Gilmore, proves to offer an artful degustation menu, which blends seamlessly with the dramatic views that glimmer into the glass jewel box that sits atop the Sydney Overseas Cruise Terminal within the Historic Rocks precinct. Each dish reflects both Gilmore's ingenious use of the highest quality Australian produce with a creative flair that sees each dish excite and impress. As Australia’s most awarded restaurant, the Quay dinning experience does not disappoint, offering a remarkable journey of the senses.
Across the water a few hundred metres sits Bennelong, Gilmore's second Restaurant located within the iconic Sydney Opera House, where diners may experience the same flair and attention to quality as Quay, yet a more relaxed and casual affair. With a respect of the best of Australian produce, The Fink Group revitalised the space mid last year into the premiere casual eatery, offering various dinning options from a business lunch, special occasion or tourists looking to savour the finest Modern Australian cuisine on offer. With an upmarket dining room on the lower level offering three course dinning and pre and post theatre options or on the upper level “The Cured and Cultured” experience ideal for a casual eat as well as the glamorous Bar offering dining options and opportunities to mingle within the drama of the atmospheric space, it is the place to be.
We spoke exclusively with Quay and Bennelong’s General Manager Kylie Ball and Executive Chef Peter Gilmore:
How would you describe the dining experience that is Quay and Bennelong?
PG: Quay is our flagship fine dining restaurant, the food is innovative and textural with nature being a strong influence.
Bennelong is our sister restaurant and an exciting, fresh experience in the Sydney Opera House – it is a little more casual than Quay but with a great emphasis on the best Australian produce.
KB: Quay is a destination for special occasions and a luxurious experience where people generally book months in advance at Quay, our passion is to deliver a truly unique dining experience, one which is completely removed from the everyday. Quay’s menu is certainly more technical than Bennelong’s but celebrating great Australian produce is at the heart of both restaurants. At Bennelong we offer a variety of different dining options – be it sitting at the Cured & Cultured counter and sharing dishes, enjoying a cocktail and fresh oysters in the Bar or dining downstairs in the Restaurant which offers a more formal 3-course menu. Bennelong is a quintessential Australian experience in arguably Australia’s most iconic building – The Sydney Opera House.
What would be your greatest memory as the General Manager of Quay & Bennelong?
KB: My proudest career moment would be opening Bennelong in July 2015. Being involved from the tender process to opening the doors, recruiting our wonderful staff and being part of a team that has been so highly recognised in our first six months. I’m very proud of what we created at Bennelong.
My first year at Quay saw us placed 46th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and is one of my greatest career highlights to date along with 14 years of three Chef’s hats and still being a part of a restaurant that is always pushing boundaries and striving to innovate. I am very lucky to work with such an amazing team.
How would you describe modern Australian cuisine?
PG: Modern Australian cuisine is very strong at the moment. We have great produce to work with here and a multitude of influences from our multicultural society.
What would you say is the greatest part of your job?
PG: The greatest part of my job is being able to be creative and to give joy and great experiences to our customers.