Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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Feb 04


Est. is the restaurant that sits one level above the Establishment bar on George Street. The restaurant is surprisingly insulated from the sound below. When we went in at 7pm on Saturday, the bar was absolutely deserted. When we came back down from dinner at about 1am, the bar was packed and in full swing, yet we couldn’t even hear the thump of the backbeat from upstairs.

Est’s interior is elegant. The architecture inside, with its high ceiling and pillars, lends it an older feel which is not that common in restaurants. We had the private room (used to accommodate groups of eight or more) and I found the lighting was too dim for my tastes. What is it with dim lighting anyway? It’s annoying when you can’t make out your meal or the person across the table. And it’s not romantic when everyone’s perpetually squinting. There’s not much of a view out the window onto George St either, but otherwise, the setting and ambience is comfortable and relaxed.

At Est.

The Est tasting menu had seven courses – two entrees, two mains, a cheese platter and two desserts. They give you an option for three of the courses. As usual, each item on the menu had at least one word we’d never heard of before. The squab pigeon was cooked rare and had a pleasingly mild taste which contrasts with the strong flavour of pigeons cooked in Asian restaurants. The muscat grapes on the cheese platter had a fantastic tang. The mango, lychee and tapioca soup with the lime-tequila sorbet was terrific. The final course had an almond milk sorbet floating in a shot of liquor, along with an apricot and ginger souffle. Being allergic to liquor, I unfortunately did not make much headway into the dish before having to concede defeat amid the snickering of friends. It’s excellent mod Oz cuisine. The restaurant is a three hatter, but in my opinion it is still missing that “extra bit” that puts it on a different level from perennial favourites Tet’s and Rockpool.

Another Est. pic
Apricot and Ginger Souffle, Almond Milk Sorbet and Fresh Cream

The tasting menu was $120 a head. Apart from the two bottles of wine, we went through 11 bottles of water. They kept topping up our glasses and had we known the water was charged at $10 a bottle, would have been a bit less “thirsty”. Booking the private room incurs a 10% service fee, which we paid in lieu of a tip. Service in the room is patchy because the doors are shut and you can’t signal the attention of a waiter, but they appear to top up water and wine often enough. Good place to go to if you have a large group.

Comment of the night (topic was on companies forcing men to take paternal leave):

Kit (genuinely confused): But why would you want to take paternal leave?
Skye (incredulous): Uh, to see and take care of your baby maybe?
Kit (pausing to think): Oh yeah. They cry and stuff don’t they.

Photos above are from Shaf’s camera. You need a fairly strong flash when it’s that dimly lit and my camera wasn’t cutting it.