There are those who eat to live. And then there are those who eat at est.
November 28, 2013
There are those who eat to live. And then there are those who eat at est. While it's hard to review such an iconic member of Sydney's fine-dining scene, it's easy to love everything about it. The food is plated like a sculptured masterpiece; what sounds strange textually on the menu, tastes perfect texturally in the mouth; and the expert staff work hard to make sure your dining experience is first-class and seamless. While this Merivale institution may not be for every diner (and every bank balance), it's definitely a bucket-list destination for any true food appreciator.
Executive chef Peter Doyle celebrates his 10th year running the est. kitchen and it's no surprise his menu has earned him a litter of awards as well as three chefs hats over that period. Every meal is balanced in flavour with no further thought or condiment coating necessary. To begin with, try the gazpacho consomme available on Peter's 'Best of est.' tasting menu (until November 30, 2013). The fresh and light soup is dotted with piquant hits of basil oil and served with a tasty Italian buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomato salad.
The tasting menu features seven of Peter's classic dishes over the years and is $175 per person, a good price for the array of treats you're served. For mains try the juniper crusted venison saddle ($59), served rare with cherries, beetroot, salty black pudding, cocoa paper and amaranth. Or for something lighter, go for the John Dory topped with a grilled scallop and surrounded with spinach, sauternes and drizzled with a carrot juice emulsion ($58).
The wine list is lengthy and hard to decipher without a well-versed sommelier by your side. If your dining partner isn't up to scratch, award-winning Master Sommelier Franck Moreau will effortlessly pair a good drop with your meal. From a 2010 Domaine Pfister 'Silberberg' Alsace French Riesling ($13/glass) to a 2008 Isole e Olena 'Cepparello' Tuscan sangiovese ($39/glass), the wines are boutique, vintage and dangerously drinkable.
Just like the food, the decor is majestic. Towering white columns space out the room and crystal chandeliers present a truly grand appearance. Sure it's fancy, but it's luxurious and not stifling. The service here is impossible to fault, too. Even a big group will be waited on seamlessly, with food brought out at the same time by a waiter brigade to ensure food envy doesn't creep up for even a second. The waiters will even vacuum your crumbs away with a nifty contraption after each course!
Est. isn't a place for a quick bite and it's not a place for simple tastes; it's a place you come to celebrate a special occasion, some good company and some award-winning food.