Birthday Surprise

13 Mar

Last week was my 30th birthday.  Thirtieth. It still sounds weird.  And old.  But to celebrate my membership to the over 20s club, Aaron has been conspiring with some of our friends for the better part of a year. Like 21, 30 is a birthday worth celebrating.

I had no idea where I was going on Saturday.  All I had was a list of things to pack, a time of pick up, and the knowledge that the whole thing was rather expensive.

Choose a Charlie Bear

As my friend drove, I still had no idea where I was going.  With the list of items, which included a sun hat, pants in case I got cold, a raincoat, sunscreen, and a warm jumper, amongst other things, I thought maybe we’d be on a boat.  Parasailing maybe?  I have always wanted to parasail.

We continued driving and kept going further and further away from civilisation.  We were on the same road I take to uni.  A mostly agricultural uni, that is surrounded by fields and forests.

“Ok, now I really have no idea where we’re going.”

A little while later, we pulled into a resort.

I left most of my belongings in the car as they were ploy items and completely unnecessary.  We were taken to locker room and told to change into the disposable underwear, bathrobe, and slippers.  Let me just say, I’m glad I decided to wax the night before, just in case I’d have to don my bikini.  My two friends and I spent the entire day relaxing and being pampered with various spa treatments, delicious lunch in our bathrobes, and of course, good conversation that wasn’t interrupted by kids even once.  I even fell asleep a couple of times.  I was slightly embarrassed by my disgusting runny nose that I couldn’t do anything about when I was all wrapped up like a burrito when receiving a full body algae treatment.

When we were finished, we rushed home to get ready for dinner.  Aaron told me a couple weeks ago that he was supposed to find a restaurant and book us all in.  He hadn’t done it yet.  My friends told me that the option of formal McDonalds was actually thought about.  What is formal McDonalds you ask?  Wearing formal attire and dining at McDonalds, complete with fancy crockery and candles that you bring from home.

“That would actually be pretty funny.” I told my friends.

As it was, I had no idea where we were going.  Aaron told me at the last minute that it would be in the city because he knew the restaurants there from various corporate lunches, and knew which were good and which weren’t.

We parked under the Opera House (as you do), and started walking.  Finally, we came to the beautiful building near the base of the Harbour bridge that overlooks the Opera House.  The very building that houses Quay restaurant.

The opera house as seen through the car's windshield

The opera house as seen through the car’s windshield

“Wait, this is where Quay is.  No, there’s no way you’d be able to get a booking with only two weeks notice.”  There were other restaurants there too.

But then we got out of the lift and started walking towards the only restaurant in that direction.

“Wait, are you serious? Is this where we’re going? Are we seriously eating here?  No way, are you punking me?”

No one said a word.  We just kept walking until we got to the door.  Aaron opened the it with a big smile on his face.

“How did you get a booking only two weeks in advance?!” I asked him in wonder.

“I didn’t book it two weeks ago, I booked it like eight months ago.” He told me.  I was blown away.  I felt like the most special person on the face of the earth.  A couple of years ago, I mentioned that for my 30th, I’d like to go to a really swish restaurant, with friends paying for themselves in lieu of presents. And Aaron remembered.

Quay is only the top restaurant in Sydney.  Do you watch Masterchef Australia? You know that infamous Snow Egg?  It’s from Quay. That 8 layer chocolate cake in which the 8th layer is warm chocolate that is poured on top and then falls through the middle? Quay.

Plus, this is what we were looking at the whole time.  I apologise for the low quality photos, but they are just from Aaron’s iPhone.  I could photoshop them to make the levels and so forth better, but that would eat into my study time. And I don’t really want to fail my classes.

Me and Aaron at Quay.  Yes, I know my stick on bra is showing. That's what happens when the straps on your dress are too long.

Me and Aaron at Quay. Yes, I know my stick on bra is showing. That’s what happens when the straps on your dress are too long.

You can choose from a 4 course menu, or a tasting menu which consists of something like 6 or 8 courses.  The first option is $175 per head, the second $225.  Yes, you read that right, I didn’t forget a decimal place or anything.

The last page of the 4 course menu

The last page of the 4 course menu

But that was the idea.  I wanted to go somewhere my cheap self would never ever set foot into on any other day.  Somewhere really special that would deliver a night I’d never forget.  That’s what I envisioned those years ago when I told Aaron that I wanted to eat at a swish restaurant for my 30th.

For my first course, I ordered fragrant poached chicken with white radish, sea scallops, smoked eggplant cream, and pea blossoms.

My chicken dish, the same one that was on Masterchef Australia the other night.

My chicken dish, the same one that was on Masterchef Australia the other night.

Oh. My. Gosh. It was seriously the best chicken I’ve ever eaten.  It was so magnificently tender that I had to check to make sure it wasn’t raw.  It wasn’t.  I ate every last scrumptious morsel.

My second course was  Coturnix quail with farro, hazelnuts, quinoa, steamed truffle brioche, egg yolk confit, Vin Jaune cream.

My quail dish

My quail dish

I’ve never had quail before, so I thought I’d give it a go.  It’s not everyday you have the opportunity to eat quail.  And truffle.

The quail was even better than the chicken.  Oh my goodness was that dish delicious.  All of the elements of the dish worked together in perfect harmony.

Aaron had the line caught iki jime Tasmanian squid with squid ink custard, society garlic, pink turnips.  Also delicious.  We figured we’d each get a different dish and try both.

For my third course, I ate the Berkshire pig jowl with maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil.  I don’t know how they did it, but that ridiculously good pork melted in my mouth. Best. Pork. Ever.

The pig jowl

The pig jowl

I even tried Aaron’s lamb dish. I figured if I was going to like lamb ever, it would be here.

I didn’t like it. Oh well, I’m just not a lamb person.

And then came the best part.  Desert.  When we walked in the door, I knew I wanted the snow egg.  Until I saw the eight texture chocolate cake that Aaron informed me was the same one that they pour the warm chocolate over on Masterchef.  I made the impulsive decision to go with the chocolate cake.  I am a chocolate lover after all.  Aaron got the snow egg.  If I’d ordered the snow egg, Aaron would have ordered the chocolate cake.  We wanted to try both.

Don’t get me wrong, the chocolate cake was amazing.  One of the best I’ve ever had.

But the snow egg? Oh. My. Gosh. There wasn’t an ounce of chocolate on that snow egg, but it tasted divine.  It was so much better than the chocolate cake.  It was like no desert I’ve ever had before.  Somehow, all of the elements worked together so incredibly well.  Which is weird, since the bottom of the glass was filled with snowcone-esque shaved flavoured ice, and I think the egg part was meringue.

The snow egg.

The snow egg.

It was seriously the best food I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.  Too bad it’s so expensive because I’d love to go there again and taste all the things I didn’t get to try.

I didn’t mean for this to be mostly about food, but I had such a great experience at Quay.  It made my birthday. I will never ever forget my extravagant, delicious 3oth birthday dinner.

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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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5 Responses to “Birthday Surprise”

  1. Cindy March 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Wow! Sounds and looks amazing! Well done for getting some pictures of you too 🙂

    • Mommy Adventures March 14, 2013 at 5:28 am #

      I just wish I’d brought my digital SLR, but I had no idea we were going to Quay, so I didn’t bother. That and it needs charging….

  2. What the Pooh Dude March 16, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    Hi there – I enjoy your writing. I’ve been roped into the nominations for awards process for Bloggers and thought I’d share the love. If you want, you can share the award, if you don’t no worries… it’s all good. Cheers! Heather

  3. Tami March 18, 2013 at 12:17 am #

    Its looks like you had a special birthday I just turned 32 and will have to wait until next year since Vance is just 10 weeks old

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