“es-ter: organic compound”
I would be lying if I told you that I go to a place without any expectations.
I usually try and steer away from any reviews and blog posts of a particular place if I know I’ll be visiting them soon. But there are those few places that you can’t avoid reading about because they’re just too popular – ester is one of them.
Smaller than I had imagined, upon entering you’re welcomed by an earthy, rustic vibe. The menu is simple and straight to the point with a variety of poultries for mains plus a few salads. The beverages list has the classics – wines, beers and whiskey.
For our main meals, my friend and I ordered the following:
Raw kingfish with mandarin and cucumber
Brussel sprouts with fried egg, mustard and miso
Mulloway with ginger and shallot and bonito butter
Roast duck with burnt honey and fennel
For dessert we shared the:
Three milks with rosemary and olive oil
Coconut sorbet with sake
First to arrive was the raw kingfish. Presentation was simple and there was a decent serving of kingfish. The addition of the burnt mandarin was an interesting choice and combined with the nori and cucumber, the dish tasted like a deconstructed sushi minus the rice. The fish was fresh and surprisingly filling.
Next in line were the brussel sprouts.
With the egg and the cheese mixed inside, I found this dish to be a tad too cheesy. The crunchiness from the brussel sprouts and the softness from the fried egg definitely gave it an element of texture, but with the overpowering taste of cheese I could only eat a small portion. Just imagine a caesar salad with extra cheese and extra sauce.
There was a bit of a time gap between the brussel sprouts and our mulloway, which was a shame because both dishes would have complimented one another.
The mulloway was well cooked but a little on the salty side. The combination of the ginger and shallots made it hard not to compare it with steamed fish that you would normally order at a Chinese restaurant, which is probably why I started craving for rice halfway through. Typically Asian of me.
Hoping that the duck would be quickly served, to my disappointment the waitress had forgotten about our dish and we were left hanging with bated breaths.
After sorting through the miscommunication, the duck arrived and it smelt delicious with the mixture of honey. It tasted juicy and succulent, yet, I felt like something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, the duck itself tasted great but there was no element of surprise. If there had been another element on the dish then it would have pushed this dish in to the ‘wow’ category, but unfortunately, it was missing that small cherry on top.
Our dessert choices, three milks, and the coconut sorbet were served and both dishes were presented in an interesting way.
The three milks definitely makes my top ten list of ‘most interesting desserts’, with every bite discovering something new. Crunchy like cereal, sour from the milk on top, sweet from the hidden caramel; my brain and mouth were giving me two completely different signals. To this day, I’m still not sure whether to say it is a savoury or sweet dish.
To my big relief, the coconut sorbet was refreshing, light and cleansed the palette. The mixture of the sake added an element of sweetness, but I was a little unsure as to where the coconut flavour was hiding.
All of the dishes highlighted the freshness of its core ingredient and were presented to focus on the simple taste of the produce. While this may appeal to many, I personally found it overall to be a little ordinary and plain. To my disappointment, I won’t be going back to ester anytime soon. Not because their food wasn’t tasty, but because we all have different levels of expectations of what we believe should be delivered. And unfortunately, it didn’t quite cut it for me.
If you enjoy simple and clean eating, then this place would be worth your time. But as much as I love a healthy quinoa salad, my first choice will always be the double patty cheeseburger with fries.
The Skanky Stomach Says: ♥ ♥ ½
Location: 46/52 Meagher St, Chippendale, Sydney
When To Go: Mon-Thurs / 5:30pm – 12am / Fri / 12-3pm & 5:30pm – 12am / Sat / 6pm-12am / Sun / 12pm – 5pm
Great For: simple yet tasty dishes, groups, families