Restaurant Review: Ester Restaurant and Bar
Before the Covid hard lockdown was imposed on Sydney, we were able to make a booking at Ester Restaurant and Bar. This highly awarded restaurant has always been high on our list to check out and we were glad to be able to finally make it.
Nestled along Meagher Street in Chippendale, the building’s facade looked more of an office block which gave way to an upmarket restaurant. Nothing fancy at the entrance expect for the name Ester. As we stepped inside the dining area, the wait staff checked our name on an iPad before we were ushered to our assigned table. We were on the second sitting at 8:30 pm. The dining area was packed out, we noticed there were diners finishing off their desserts from the earlier dining time and a queue started to build up outside for the second one, such was the demand for a table here.
As per Covid safety regulations, we checked in with their QR code which was available on every table, menus were handed momentarily by very pleasant wait staff. It’s a set menu at a $105 per person. Whilst perusing the menu, the sommelier came to say hello and introduced himself and the extensive wine list.
Hanging lights inside the dining area were subtle, with minimal decoration on the exposed concrete walls giving that urban/industrial feel. Shelves of wine mounted on the left hand side of the wall caught our attention. Tables and chairs were nicely arranged with good distancing between diners. Some of the interior features include decorative arches, open bar and kitchen. Overall it’s a pleasant and comfortable place to be in.
After we ordered the wine, the first two dishes to arrive were the roasted rock oyster and jerusalem artichoke. Both beautifully presented on wooden plates. The oysters were rich with a briny taste accented with chicken jus whilst the artichokes served with parmesan custard were crispy on the outside and smooth and nutty on the inside.
Potato bread – $15 was not included on the set menu but definitely worth ordering, it’s one of their famous dishes that patrons can’t get enough of! Wonderful crust, soft on the inside served warm with kefir cream and dashi jelly. Pickled cucumber with braised kombu on the side was light and snappy bite.
Next pair to arrive were tuna tartare and blood sausage. I must say that the tuna serving was generous and freshly topped with muntries and traviso that added a taste appeal to the dish. Blood sausage may not be to everyones taste, thinking of the Black Puddings often served with breakfasts in the UK, that could be bitter and overpowering, these were much more pleasant and light yet generous flavour, we loved it!
There was a little interval between the next dishes allowing our palates to be refreshed, time to adjust our belts and order some more wine. Also taking the opportunity to look around. The kitchen and floor staff were synchronised in motion, creating that seamless flow from kitchen to table.
Our jaw dropped when the waiter brought four dishes together, woodfired bone marrow, 7+ wagyu ramp cap, clay pot cauliflower and green leaves. Where to start? Looking at the dishes it’s actually a well balanced spread. I was tempted to start with the bone marrow served with toast which I did. It was soft, rich and spongy in texture with herby hints, damn it so good. Moving to the wagyu, one of the best beef dishes we’ve had during this pandemic. It was so tender, literally just melted in the mouth. Accompanying daikon and horseradish lifted the flavours of the meat. I opted to finished off with the combination of the clay pot cauliflower and salad which were next level goodness.
So far, we thoroughly enjoyed the food, all were faultless. The finale of the night was a divine back to back of desserts, wood fired quince, vanilla, sponge and sour Montenegro alongside bread and butter and ice cream. These two totally tantalised our tastebuds, a medley of flavours! What a sweet note to finish off a decadent multi course meal.
We summed up our experience as one of the best dinners we have had during the pandemic. Ester’s ability to source ingredients that will both wow on the plate and palate is a testament to a well thought out menu. Dishes were well-balanced, cleverly paired and complementing each others flavours. We gave them 10/10. We can’t wait to go back when dining is finally allowed again.
Ester Restaurant and Bar
46-52 Meagher St Chippendale 2008