One of Australia's greatest restaurants, Quay, reopens this week - here's what to expect

Nikki ToSnow more… Peter Gilmore with the snow egg now gone from Quay’s menu.

Acclaimed Sydney fine diner Quay will reopen this week after more than three months of renovations, with a whole new look and new menu.

The 30-year-old restaurant closed at the end of March for its first major makeover since chef Peter Gilmore took charge of the three-hat venue 17 years years ago. Quay starts seating guests again this Thursday, July 19, following the $4 million refit that owners the Fink Group hope will see the space through the next 20 years.

Gilmore, who’s also been kept busy running Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House, directly opposite Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal location, has spend the last three months developing a completely new menu.

The chef says he’s been thinking hard about where to take the restaurant after deciding to drawn a line under everything, including the legendary snow egg. (For those missing the eight-textured chocolate cake, a version lives on at Bennelong under head chef Rob Cockerill’s homage, “Chocolate cake from across the water”).

The new Quay has a much bigger kitchen and Gilmore’s bought some new tools, including a freeze-dry machine.

“A big part of the creative process for me was to work closely with farmers, fisherman, producers and artisans. From there began a long journey of testing and refinement, imagination and flashes of inspiration,” he says.

“It was a difficult process starting from scratch, but it gave me an opportunity to reevaluate everything”.

While he’s keeping what’s on the new menu a secret for now, Gilmore did reveal that there’ll be six and 10 course menus.

Quay Army Getting ready

A post shared by Peter Gilmore (@chefpetergilmore) on

The old four and eight course menus have had two new courses added, so the new Quay will offer a $210 six course menu with a choice of main, Sunday to Thursday for dinner, and Friday to Sunday for lunch.

Friday and Saturday night diners will only have the option of the $275 10-course meal (which is also available at other times).

With fine dining being written off as “dead” so many times amid several high profile closures, the Fink Group, which also operates several leading Sydney restaurants, including Otto, The Bridge Room and Fire Door, is betting the house on demand for a Big Night Out remaining in Quay’s dress circle location.

But it will be harder to get a table with the dining room shrinking from 100 seats to 80.

Creative director John Fink quips they’re “building the biggest little restaurant in Australia”.

“We wanted to create a more intimate, personal experience for our guests. This renovation has allowed us to take a fresh look at fine dining,” he says.

“It’s about establishing what that means to us. After years of planning, meetings and questioning everything we do – it’s thrilling to now share that with our diners.”

Bookings are now open for the new Quay, but tables of two for dinner are already booked out until early Summer, so best find a couple of friends to make a table of four and you could be trying out the new menu for dinner before the end of July.

It’s getting real, less then a week to go @quayrestaurant

A post shared by Peter Gilmore (@chefpetergilmore) on

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