Perched above Sydney’s Circular Quay, Q Dining has undergone a complete and extensive refurbishment. Located within the 5-star hotel Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, the restaurant offers floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook the action at one of the world’s most well-known and picturesque harbours. A sister venue to the popular bar Hacienda (located within the same hotel premises), the restaurant’s revised menu has taken inspiration from both land and sea.
On the night I visit, there’s a light, airy and bright feeling thanks to the high ceilings, white walls, pastel-coloured furnishings, marble table tops and blonde wood dining chairs.
Our waiter Ben, an Englishman from Mersea Island, Essex is quite the character. He shows us to our window seat, joking about the “terrible view”. He’s of course being tongue-in-cheek because on one side I can see the harbour water of Circular Quay and the restaurants along the boardwalk below us; on the other side, I see the illuminated steep sandstone steps known as Moores Stairs, constructed in 1861, that link Circular Quay East to Macquarie Street.
“If you’ve got any questions, shout, bend, wave – I’ll be over,” says Ben.
We peruse the menu under flickering candle light and by our table’s vase of native botanicals, while sipping on a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and a martini served in a vintage-style coupe glass.
“You’re stuck with me all night I’m afraid,” says Ben, as he presents us with our bread. The restaurant works with The Bread & Butter Project – an artisan and social enterprise bakery that invests in training and employment options for refugee and asylum seekers. Its tasty olive bread is offered alongside Pepe Saya butter and sea salt flakes to sprinkle on top.
The a la carte menu is focused on land and sea dishes that infuse native flavours. The chefs are committed to sourcing sustainable, ethical and locally sourced produce, working closely with Aboriginal communities to source rare ingredients that form the basis of several dishes at Q Dining, which is located on Indigenous Gadigal land.
Specialties include pan-seared scallop with burnt vanilla butter and wild osmanthus flower; 12-hour Port Lincoln octopus, romesco, shallot, pan seared chorizo, piquillo; and grilled emu fan fillet, house-made emu jerkey powder, candied beetroot, parsnip puree, muntries and sticky balsamic. The octopus has beautifully charred and crunchy tentacles, while the emu is incredibly tender.
Large plates include, Patagonian tooth fish accompanied by pan seared scallops, saltbush leaves, amuse bouche carrots, candied muntries, macadamia crumb and bisque; and pan-roasted duck breast, pepper leaf pancetta, fig vincotto, caramelised walnut, beetroot compote, lemon aspen. The duck is filleted and presented with tender pieces sliced and fanned over a base comprised of three different types of mushrooms. It’s a hearty dish with considerable earthy flavours, while the duck is juicy and soft. Naturally, I can’t resist the duck-fat kipfler potatoes with rosemary.
For dessert, we try the textures of chocolate with feral plum, strawberry, eucalyptus oil and a silky soft warm, white chocolate fudge.
Wines are stored in a large display fridge with several Australian brands on offer as well as international wines. Signature cocktails include a lychee mojito, limoncello spritz, strose spritz and the passion spritz.
Q Dining represents a high-quality Sydney harbourside dining experience, but with a relaxed and refreshed informal atmosphere.
Find out more: qdining.com.au