A couple weeks ago, one of the big big bosses at work dragged me into his office, which instantaneously brought on some serious anxiety about what it could be about. Turns out he only called me in to tell me (in minute detail) about an excellent meal that he had in Quay in Sydney. After doing a bit of digging, I realised that whilst Brisbane doesn't have its own Quay, the owners have created a little Italian restaurant by the river, which is why I dragged a colleague to go try it with me as and end of year celebration.
We arrived somewhat early at 12 and were greeted with a warm welcome and an epic view of the Story Bridge.
Having come here on a spontaneous whim, we did not have a reservation, and the restaurant was full. Luckily for us though, they still made room for us by seating us on the kitchen bench, where we could watch at the chefs as they crafted the food. My companion ordered a red wine and I a water, which was brought out very quickly.
The food menu consisted of two pages, with a selection of starters, entrees, pasta, mains and sides. A selection of specials was also on offer, but we settled with a pick off the menu.
Our meal commenced with some complimentary bread (with unlimited refills just like they do in Melbourne!). Whilst some restaurants don't put much thought into their bread, I was immediately impressed by how fresh it was. With its crusty exterior and warm toasty soft interior, the butter literally melted onto the bread. Taking a further look into the kitchen, I could see why it was so delicious, they made it on site in the oven to our left!
Our starter soon came. We ordered a Affettati e Grissini (cold cuts with bred sticks) to share. the cuts consisted of Mortadella, San Danielle Prosciutto and Wagyu bresaola. We watched as the chef masterfully shaved our hams to just the right thickness before arranging them on the platter. My companion was a big fan of the Mortadella with its slight hint of black pepper and other spices. On the other hand, I really liked the San Danielle Proscuitto with its subtle sweet undertones.
Our mains came not too long after. My companion ordered the Maiale - a Byron Bay Berkshire pork cutlet served with cauliflower, char-grilled cos, garnished with balsamic. Whilst we enjoyed our starters, we also spied the chefs cooking my companion's pork chop on their specialised grill. Needless to say I love watching my meals get prepared. Back onto the pork chop, I found it to have a perfect texture, striking a good balance with being moist but also slightly toasted on the outside. The flavours were quite mellow and comforting as well.
For my main, I ordered the Strozzapreti - Twisted pasta served with banana prawns, garlic, chilli, black olives, tomato and calamari sauce. Needless to say, the flavours were a bit more adventurous than the pork chop, and the portions were also significantly more generous. I really appreciated the handmade pasta with its delicious chewy al dente texture. The prawns and calamari were also fresh and flavoursome, but not overpowered by the tomato sauce.
As a side, we also shared a bowl of shoestring fries (my favourite cut). It was served delectably hot and crispy, and I loved how they retained their crunch even cooling significantly. I would have liked the addition of some sauces to give it some extra flavour.
Price Range: $40 - $60pp