The crème de le crème of restaurants, Est. embodies the luxury and opulence of fine dining. Having “ooohh-ed” and “ahhhhh-ed” about friends’ experiences at Est. and having read the menu a thousand times over, I had only but high hopes for my evening at Est. But like most things that you confront with such high levels of excited anticipation, there is always the anxiety that things just mightn’t match up.
As we stepped off George Street and entered the Merivale Empire that Est. is housed in, my stomach was aflutter with nerves. Up the elevator to the first level and finally the doors opened revealing the dining room. The almost all-white interior and high ceilings combined with elaborate columns and chandeliers, evoke thoughts of a wedding scene, and I smiled in appreciation. It is not sterile, as I had heard nor was it particularly over-the-top. It was surprisingly peaceful and calm.
The maitre d’ swiftly took us to our table-for-two where a lovely, smiley waiter introduced himself. Two sourdough bread rolls arrive before I could even take off my coat and were served with olive oil that, given the chance, I would have poured into a glass and drunk straight.
Looking as though he’d only just learned how to shave, our waiter’s knowledge was beyond impressive and feeling immediately safe in his hands, we allowed him to guide us through both the menu and wine list. The result was a night of culinary crescendos – where each sip and taste of both wine and food created little fireworks in our mouths. An entree of spanner crab was followed by a moreton bay bug with artichoke hearts and a lemon emulsion. It was a celebration of everything I love about Australian dining – divine seafood served in a unique and special way. My expectations were not only matched but I now fear that no one, other than Head Chef Peter Doyle, will make my taste buds happy.
Read more about Est. here