After the somewhat disappointing service at Sepia, I was a little apprehensive about visiting est. with my family the following night for dinner. Have my years in Europebigland raised my fine-dining expectations to ridiculous standards? Are my pseudo-serious lamentations about lack of Australian culture and appreciation for fine things grounded in depressing reality? Or have I just become an unjustified snob, despite my working-class-to-bourgeois upbringing?
But from the moment we were greeted by the maître d’hôtel and led to our table, all those questions and anxieties dissipated. Sepia‘s service must’ve been an exception, because yup, est. definitely knows what they’re doing.
Since there were four of us and the four courses all had four options, it was the perfect opportunity to sample everything on the menu. Each of us decided on our top choices for each course, and bam! Nomfest! Most of the dishes were solid, with a few standouts, and I’ll be commenting on them in the photo captions, while I’ve nabbed the course descriptions from est.‘s website. Unfortunately, I’m a newb when it comes to low-light photography (and photography in general, come to think of it), so these mightn’t all be aesthetically pleasing–but in this case, please don’t judge est. by my amateur point-and-shooting!
gorgeous george: jameson & chivas whisky, grand marnier, dom benedictine, lemon, bitters, shaken together ($22)
moscow mule: absolute elyx vodka, shaken with fresh lime juice and sugar cane syrup, topped with ginger beer, served tall ($22)
manhattan: original, dry or perfect. maker’s mark bourbon, stirred with vermouth, angostura bitters and a splash of maraschino ($22)
salad of mud crab, piel de sapo melon,heart of palm, crème fraiche, radish, marigold
salad of roasted beetroot, smoked sheep’s yoghurt, lardo, buckwheat praline, raspberries
mushroom consommé, seared wagyu 9+, enoki mushrooms, green apple, celeriac, onion rings (mine!)
sashimi of yellowfin tuna, jamon cream, jerusalem artichoke, ponzu, mustard, nasturtium (Wendy got this, and it was a superior treatment of tuna compared to Sepia‘s I had the previous day!)
grilled scallops, bone marrow, pickled onion, potato wafer, parsley shallot puree
freshwater marron tail, baby fennel, black garlic, celtuce, brown butter, bisque
slow cooked pork jowl, parsnip, beurre bosc pear, hazelnut, sherry vinegar (mine!)
steamed murray cod, shaved abalone, snow peas, black fungi, ginger – green shallot vinaigrette
bass groper fillet, aparagus, jerusalem artichoke, trompettes, quinoa crumb, lemon
milk fed lamb loin, grilled leek, pickled shallot, eggplant, mustard, miso, mint oil
dry aged rangers valley sirloin, salt backed turnip, cime di rapa, anchovy, black olive, potato crumb
juniper crusted venison saddle, quince puree, purple carrots, boudin noir (mine!)
chocolate tart, roasted barley custard, miso-milk sorbet, chocolate caramel, malt (mine–obvs!)
macadamia parfait, poached beurre bosc pear, white beer, pear sorbet, nougatine
passionfruit souffle, passionfruit sorbet
coconut sorbet, black sesame, passionfruit curd, pineapple, coconut caramel, tarragon
Macarons, jellies, dark chocolate truffles.
Visited on: Saturday, 19 September 2015. Dinner.
Spent: $750 for four people. ($155 for four courses, chefs menu, dinner)
Overall: Excellent service–when a waiter accidentally cleared dad’s drink before he was finished, they replaced it without any drama. The cocktails were also delicious, and at some point, I’d like to return and have my meal with some matched wines. Although I’d consider the overall menu relatively average for an establishment of this calibre, I enjoyed certain dishes enough to return in the future. And of course, the service needs to be praised once more, because it’s such a crucial element of the fine-dining experience! Within this context, I give it 8.5/10.
See website for opening hours and available menus.