Pier - Greg Doyle, Grant King and Katrina Kanetani
A book review by Franz Scheurer
Greg Doyle’s experience as a restaurateur and cook speaks for itself. Pier is a fabulously edgy restaurant, challenging yet deceptively simple, and blessed with an incredible view over the waters of Rose Bay. Everything is about theatre, from the sparse table when you walk in, to the attention you get seemingly from everyone. Pier has always been one of Australia’s great restaurants and Doyle’s decision to write a book, together with talented young chefs Grant King and Katrina Kanetani, shows that he knows how to move with the times.
Pier is a somewhat unwieldy tome; something to sit down with and study, not a book easily read in bed. This is no doubt on purpose, forcing the reader to concentrate and concentrate on what is required for each recipe. A short paragraph deals with the restaurant’s history and gives a good snapshot of the past as well as what to expect today.
When dining at Pier, you might opt to go the ‘Tasting Plate’ route or enjoy the whole shebang and take in as much of the ballet as possible. The book deals with both options. The Tasting Plates are a great way to eat and I love the way Peter treats oysters. To me Sydney Rock Oysters are fantastic and Pier presents them with ‘Cucumber and Chive Vinaigrette Sauce’, ‘Mignonette’ and ‘Soy Mirin Pearls’. ‘Pillows of Bluefin Tuna and Pickled Cucumber with Rice Wine Soy Dressing’ presents like an achievable work of art, and ‘Seared Scallops with Crisp Pork Belly’, served with a ‘Muscovado Dressing’ will sort out the boys from the men. Other favourites of mine are ‘King Prawn Tartare with Sterling Caviar and Soy Mirin Dressing’, ‘Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Roasted Bug Tails, Lardons and Fried Bread’, and ‘Blue Eye with Potato Scales, White Bean Purée, Globe Artichoke and Black Truffle’. It’s not all about seafood either, page 61 shows us how to make the ‘Roast Venison with Banyuls and Bitter Chocolate Ganache’ served with Blueberry Sauce, an inspired recipe.
Desserts, as you would expect with the gifted Kanetani in charge, look terrific and taste better. I adore ‘Sumac Strawberries and Cream with White Chocolate Sponge Cake and Plum Wine Jelly’. What a great combination! If you happen to have a thing for Japanese ‘Poky Sticks’, you’ll be happy to hear there’s a recipe, making about 50 sticks, on page 234, and you must try the ‘Champagne and Rose Petal Marshmallows’.
As it says on the cover, this is a ‘Unique Australian Seafood Experience’. Too true!
Published by Murdoch Books