Est. of the Establishment building is fast becoming one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. We went there for the second time on Friday night to celebrate Puneet’s birthday – and a hell of a celebration it sure was!
I had the foresight to take photos throughout the meal as I was intending to blog about it all along – unfortunately said foresight did not extend as far as to turn the flash on =\ I managed to get there a few photos in but my apologies for missing the early shots.
Overall the meal was very good. The food and drink was exceptional. Ambiance fantastic. The service started out A grade but degraded to being less than optimal towards the end of our meal. This was most likely due to the fact that we had the latest reservation possible and were the last people in the restaurant – but it’s still no excuse for the poor service we received at the end of the meal. To their credit the last time we visited at a normal hour the service was literally the best we had ever experienced in Sydney.
Food & Drink
Since we were celebrating we started off the night with a glass each of Dom Pérignon 2003 which we agree is the best champagne either of us have ever tasted. Being the alcohol lovers that we are we accompanied these with a martini each – again, fantastic.
Puneet started with the sashimi of ocean trout, cucumber, radish, young ginger jelly, coriander while I couldn’t go past the salad of spanner crab, jicama, lime, apple jelly, elderflower ajo blanco – mmmMmmM! Perfectly balanced, textured and flavourful. Nothing else to say.
Our second courses are as below:
It’s the sign of a great dish when you don’t have much to say about it – the easiest things to say are always flaws. The scallops were perfect and once again the texture really made the dish. When everything else is fantastic you have to look for the smaller things improve upon a dish – that extra crunch in an otherwise soft bite for example. My mouth is watering just remembering the meal.
We then moved on to our third and main course:
Puneet had the beef cheek and said it was flawless. I actually have something negative to say for a change in this review – the sweetbreads with my lamb were not great. They were overly sticky and not filled with the same deliciousness I have always experienced with sweetbreads in the past. Aside from that – the lamb was cooked to perfection and the accompaniments were great.
For dessert Puneet went with the passion fruit souffle and I of course had the cheese plate:
Looking back on the meal I am surprised at how little fault I can find in any of the dishes. We decided not to get a bottle of wine and instead asked for one to be paired with each of our mains and they of course did not disappoint. Overall I’ll rate the food & drink a 9.5/10.
Here is where I will dock Est. a little. The night started out with excellent service from them taking our coats as we entered to the champagne cart and cocktails to taking our order. Throughout the meal the service was still pretty good as they brought and removed our dishes in a timely fashion and explained most of our courses to us. As the night went on however we could tell that the restaurant was getting ready to close and they were paying less and less attention to us. It was a little disconcerting having them pack up the tables around us and take forever to bring our bill (especially when there was nobody else there to attend to?). The last time we dined at Est. we walked away singing nothing but praise about their service – rightly surprised at how good it was compared to most of Sydney’s other restaurants. I’ll still give them a generous 8.5/10 since I felt like our experience was more the exception than the rule. My advice is not to make a late reservation and you’ll likely experience some of the best service Sydney has to offer.
We actually spoke about how wonderful the ambiance was on the night. For a really fancy restaurant they did a great job at not making it feel stuffy or snobby while also not appearing to be too funky or hip. There was awesome chill music at the perfect volume – enough to enjoy but not hamper the conversation. It was well lit and decorated and just a fantastic all around setting for a nice dinner. 9.5/10.
Value for Money
Est. is one of the most expensive restaurants in Sydney – having been awarded three hats for almost a decade running and being located in the heart of the city all adds up to a pricey night out. That being said I feel like it was well worth it. Comparing the meal to others at similar price points, Est. edges out most of it’s competitors in almost every category. It might be a little more expensive than most other places but it’s worth it for the few extra yards they go to making your night as great as it can be. When it comes to the finest of dining in Sydney there aren’t many places I would recommend alongside Est., and certainly none above it. 9.5/10.
I give Est. a 37/40. If you want to splurge on a fancy dinner out – go to Est. It will not disappoint. I’m already looking forward to the next time we can go back. Fun little fact – as I was writing this post I loaded up their menu to write in the descriptions of each of our courses – they had already changed some of the dishes we had either by adjusting the sides or a slightly different cut of meat. It’s the mark of an excellent restaurant when they change their menu on a frequent basis.
Check out their website to look at the menu or make a reservation.