You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard the buzz surrounding this Chippendale institution yet. Let us assure you, this place is everything it is cracked up to be and more. Naturally, you can imagine how excited we were to head in and see what was happening on the menu these days.
Meaning ‘organic compound’, Ester features a natural, minimal interior with cosy seating and deliciously moody lighting that isn’t so low you can’t read the menu. We kicked things off with a nice, relaxing Hendricks and soda before tucking in to the complementary fried chickpeas that were deliciously addictive.
The food menu is split into small plates, mains and sides. It was a little bit (read: very) difficult to decide what to order; how do you decide between the tempting and mildly mysterious flavour combinations on Ester’s menu? After a heated debate, we settled on a choice – and were ready for the foodie pilgrimage ahead of us.
First were the roasted oysters, which are cooked whole in the wood fired oven until they open and sprinkled with fresh horseradish. We could have punished a whole dozen of these; the smoky, briny flavour is an incredible combination and the horseradish gives it an extra kick. Next came the brussel sprouts, which the friendly waitress claimed “changed her life”. The green morsels are served three ways: fried, shaved and roasted, and served with, mint, parmesan and a wonderfully oozy slow cooked egg. It was the perfect mix of crunch, salt and freshness; so we’re definitely agreeing with the waitress on this one.
Not even halfway through but still dying with excitement, we dug into the beef tartare, served with chopped oysters, freshly grated horseradish, capers, and a creamy egg sauce, we scooped this up with house-made potato chips and marvelled in the joys of the crunchy and soft combo. Next came the bone marrow with house-made XO sauce, designed to slather on wood-fired bread. I would say I felt guilty for giving up and scraping out every last drop with my knife but I’m not at all, the bone marrow was perfectly yielding and had just the right amount of spice from the XO sauce that made us wish that bone marrow on toast was an acceptable and more widely available breakfast option.
The final plate was the king prawns in brown butter with fried capers, which was probably the best prawn we’ve had in years. The meat was perfectly cooked and begged to be drenched in the sinfully moreish brown butter. In fact, the prawns were so perfect that eating the crunchy legs and tail was an added pleasure.
Dessert-wise, you can go big or small – the salted caramel semi-freddo with black sesame is the perfect way to cap off the evening with a sweet hit, while the three milks with ricotta panna cotta, sheep’s milk yoghurt foam and dulce de leche with a hint of olive oil and rosemary is a decadent and memorable treat that will have you sashaying out the door in a dream-like state.
Upon leaving, we made plans to return very soon for a drink and a few small plates at the bar. Sadly, they had sold out of the lobster sausage sanga, but all the more reason to return!
Image credit: Tanya Lee