Level 1, 252 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Fine dining on a budget
On most given days you'd be hard pressed to get through the doors of the 3 hatted est for less than $100 considering entrees are around $35, mains $55 and desserts $28. That's why est is always on my wish list during Let's Do Lunch where you can score a main for only $38 which includes a glass of wine and coffee plus the added bonus of some lovely bread to start amongst a nice dining room and professional service. This years Barramundi, asparagus, green beans and peas, succory, almonds ($38 inc wine and coffee) was nicely presented with a crispy skin as hoped. The asparagus were properly prepared so they were non-stringy. Flavours all seemed to work together well. If you're particularly hungry it's always good to order a side or two to share which aren't too expensive. The Mash ($12) was buttery smooth and I'd hate to imagine how much butter was actually used. The Rocket, cucumber, cracker bread, goats feta and mint salad ($14) was very fresh and I really enjoyed the type of rocket that was used. I wasn't too sure about the use of cracker bread but the goats feta was delicious and a few more cucumber pieces would have been appreciated.
While waiting for the mains our table of five was generously treated to a few beautifully presented entrees courtesy of Frank Roberts (Merivale Group Restaurant Manager). For those who can afford $40 entrees you'll probably appreciate the flavours and freshness of these dishes. Visually you can see why this is a 3 hatted restaurant. The Sashimi of ocean trout ($38) was fresh tasting and the use of tasmanian wasabi gave a nice depth to the dish. I enjoyed the use of quinoa in the Salad of spanner crab ($40) and the horseradish gave it a nice palate kick. The Italian buffalo mozzarella ($37) had an interesting combination of flavours that worked well together although I couldn't identify what the larger black bark-looking bits were in the dish. I'm usually tempted to share a dessert but time was getting on to get back to work. Thankfully Petit fours (not sure if this is included with Let's Do Lunch) came with my well-balanced Mocha that provided a satisfying sugar hit. The signature est double choc petit four was my favourite.
Other visits to est.:
• 17 Oct 2011 - Let's Do Lunch: Barramundi with asparagus, Sashimi of ocean trout, Salad of spanner crab, Italian buffalo mozzarella
• 5 Oct 2010 - Let's Do Lunch: Pan Roasted Salmon
• 12 Mar 2010 - March Into Merivale: Oysters, Scallops, Veal Parmgiana, Corn Fed Chicken, Mesclun Salad
• 30 June 2009 - Winter Feast: Scallop linguine, Barramundi, Lamb rump, Chips, Cheesecake, Slow poached quince
PROS: Nice decor, Professional service where dishes are presented at the same time at the table, Quality ingredients, Side dishes aren't too expensive to help compliment the main
CONS: No entree or dessert specials as part of Let's Do Lunch, Very expensive normal menu so it's best not to think about how much you're paying if you want to relax and enjoy yourself, Service became a little absent towards the end of late lunch
MUST TRY: Let's Do Lunch if you can get a booking, Petit fours as a cheap dessert alternative
Menu cover — let's dine!
Nice cutlery that stands up and flower setting
Sashimi of ocean trout, tasmanian wasabi, avocado, apple cucumber, aloe vera ($38 — compliments of restaurant)
Salad of spanner crab, quinoa, pink grapefruit, witlof, horseradish, sorrel, chardonnay vinegar ($40 — compliments of restaurant)
Italian buffalo mozzarella, shaved fennel, artichokes, iberico jamon, broad beans, black olive powder ($37 — compliments of restaurant)
Rocket, cucumber, cracker bread, goats feta and mint salad ($14)
Brown Brothers Chardonnay 2010 — refreshingly quaffable and went nicely with the fish
San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water — nice touch with the side of lime
For some reason I couldn't get use to using the fork because of the heavy weighted shape that made it a little difficult to turn in your fingers
Table cloth cleaner — manual only