"There is a romance for a cook, learning how to cook with fire and getting back to basics," chef Nic Wong explains. "We can create something unique that no one else can create, as the wood we use is different, every oven cooks differently."
For the Ester team, headed up by owner and chef Mathew Lindsay, chef Nic Wong, floor manager Adam Hall and sommelier Julian Dromgool, a high-end yet relaxed dining experience is key.
The inspiration for the wood-fired oven came from Mat's dining experience at the old Vulcans restaurant in Blackheath, he was thoroughly impressed by the food produced via this old-school cooking technique. And according to the boys, everything simply tastes better when cooked in the wood-fired oven, the smoke fully encompassing the food and enhancing the flavours.
"You can't put the sashimi in the oven, but we roast the fish bones in the oven, then steep it in soy and use that as the base dressing," Mat says. According to Nic it is all about the bread, "having freshly baked bread out of the wood-fired oven is something pretty special."
To the food already! The menu changes daily and is focused upon seasonal, sustainable, and where possible, organic produce. Seafood features predominantly on the menu, and the wood-fired oven does wonders to those freshly served oysters, prawns and octopus. Some of the best oysters I have consumed by the way.
Dishes are designed to share, and this philosophy goes to the heart of Ester's approach—enjoying food with others. We highly recommend the following selections to share.
Starters: Roasted chickpeas with fennel salt; Roasted oysters in a horseradish mignonette; Carrot with Parmesan and sesame; and Octopus with onion in chorizo oil.
Mains: Mulloway sashimi with lemon and parsley oil and capers; Duck with pear and Enoki mushrooms; Roasted cauliflower with almonds and mint; and the Bistecca 1kg T-bone.
Finale: Salted caramel semifreddo with crushed black sesame, chocolate gelato with olive oil and thyme, and fennel ice cream.
From the interior design, which combines rustic remnants of the garage's former occupancy with the polished industrial look, to the hand-blown glass decanters and small-batch roasted coffee courtesy of Reuben Hills, Ester provides a refined, yet welcoming neighourhood experience.
Address: 46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale NSW 2008
Ph: 02 8068 8279
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday the bar is open from 5pm, full menu is available from 6pm to late; Saturday 6pm to late.