Dinner @ Ester Restaurant (Sydney, Australia)

July 22, 2020 in Australian, European by thywhaleliciousfay

The thing about me is that when I am dining at an eatery, I prefer to go for the regular menu as opposed to an one-off menu created for a special occasion. Say… Mother’s Day. But when most restaurants reopened after the easement of lockdown, most had their menu revamped. And Ester was one of them. Not sure if it’s a permanent change though.

So… Before COVID-19, Ester had 2 menus (tasting menu and a very extensive a-la carte menu) for customers to choose from. And while 2 menus were still offered when they reopened. The difference was that all diners had to order the AUD98 tasting menu. And of course, the dishes offered on the a-la carte menu was noticeably fewer. Uh huh, I googled it up.

When I tried making my reservation, I wasn’t able to as the system required a minimum of 2 people. But, but… I planned to go as a solo diner. So I dropped Ester an email and was glad when they replied saying they could accommodate by arranging a counter seat. And I was really excited for my dinner. Customers were posting picture of Ester’s potato pasta dish. A dish that I seriously wanted to try.

For my dinner, I was in the 1st seating (6.30pm) with a 2-hours seating period. Unfortunately, I arrived late at 6.45pm. Boohoo. Once seated, I was shown the tasting menu, a la carte menu and pairing menu. I decided to go easy on my stomach and not order any extras from the a-la carte menu. And I commenced my dinner (tasting menu, AUD98) with:-

1) Potato bread (above) – With dashi jelly, kefir cream and salmon roe. I have the habit of tearing my bread. And as I attempted doing that, it felt like there was stuffing within. But there wasn’t. It’s crazy amazing that the bread texture within was dense but soft and chewy. Really good.

2) Roasted rock oyster (above) – With pepperberry and sake.


3) Squid ink dumplings (above) – This was so good. I bit through the crispy exterior, through the thick chewy dumpling skin which texture was so similar to mochi, and finally into a savoury filling. But I couldn’t put a finger to the filling. It was black, and it certainly didn’t helped that the restaurant was dimly lit too. It’s only later that I realised it’s a mixture of pork and cuttlefish.


4) Blood sausage sanga (above) – It’s interesting that the bread texture was very similar to steamed bread. It might even be? Shrug. But it was soft and chewy. It even stuck to the top of my mouth. I enjoyed this dish by folding the bread and having it like a hot dog. So while it was nice, I thought the ratio of bread to blood sausage was a bit off. Couldn’t help but feel slightly shortchanged.


5) King prawns (above) – With fermented shrimp paste butter. This was beautifully grilled with its centre slightly opaque. And I love everything about this dish. The sweetness of the succulent flesh was brought out by the slightly salty brown butter-tamari sauce and crispy fried capers.


  

6) Grilled snapper (above) – As I indicated my dietary restriction of no beef, the grilled wagyu steak was replaced with grilled snapper. And to go with the protein was greens with pepita pralin and green goodness dressing. I paid a little more attention to the greens because before my meal, my colleague told me to share my opinion of it with him. And I have to say, there’s something special about that dressing. I kept going at my greens. I also liked that Ester’s version of greens had honey-coated seeds & puffer rice.

7) Mandarin sorbet, AUD6 (above) – Yuzu shu.

8) Burnt pavlova (above) – Bitters, lemon

9) Left over sourdough ice cream (above) – My colleagues were raving about this dessert, so I was really looking forward to it. But, I didn’t like it. There were just too much of the burnt sourdough. It just tasted… Burnt? It’s as though the dish lost its balance. And haha! I’m learning to use the word ‘balance’. Aftereffects of watching Masterchef Australia: Back to Win 20202 season! Keke.

I definitely enjoyed my meal at Ester although it was a little rushed. But I guess I only have myself to blame cause I was late by 15 minutes. But I was really disappointed when I realised potato pasta was not on the tasting menu when I came for my dinner.

Would I recommend Ester? Yes! Especially if one’s into wood-fired cooking. In fact, I am stalking Ester’s instagram page. I am hoping the potato pasta dish would be back on their tasting or a-la carte menus when life returns to normalcy so that I could quickly book my next meal. Keke. And I know… I seem to be going on and on about this potato pasta dish that I haven’t had, yet. Although I wonder if it’s one of the very few dishes that doesn’t come out of Ester’s wood-fired oven. Hmm…

And yes! Ester is also listed in Good Food Guide (2020) with 2 hats.

ESTER RESTAURANT
46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale, Sydney, NSW, Australia
+61 2 8068 8279, Website
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Ambience: 7
Sat – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon
** Hours are post-COVID lockdown, and may change when normality resumes.