Sea Pearls at Quay, Sydney, Australia

What a welcome to Australia! Quay restaurant is directly across the ferry harbor from the Opera House; a similarly high profile location would turn a restaurant into a tourist trap in any other city. Fortunately, the fertile mind of Chef Peter Gilmore makes each dish unique; Quay was just named number 27 on San Pellegrino’s list of the world’s 50 best restaurants.

Sea Pearls arrived first, like candy-colored seafood truffles. Sashimi tuna was wrapped around horseradish cream. The egg white and octopus pearl was pinhead-sized balls of egg white, pressed around smoked eel brandade and sliced octopus. The mud crab pearl combines the crabmeat with yuzu (Japanese citrus), enrobed in tapioca beads and topped with silver leaf. Others combined, sea scallop, abalone and aquaculture caviar.

Duck confit

Another signature dish, confit of pig belly, boasts an outer layer of pork crackled like a candy crust, while the inner layer was braised for 7 hours in olive oil, star anise and cinnamon. At the arrival of duck confit with kabu turnips, winter melon and hasuimo (Japanese green taro shoot) in duck stock, I took a moment to thank my Creator for the sense of smell, and the universe for the good fortune that brought me to this place.