est.

www.merivale.com/establishment/est

252 George St.

Another few meetings in CBD today and couldn’t resist giving Est. a try for lunch. The whole Merivale group are running various promotions, from $35 for lunch. It tempted me enough to give the 3 hat Est. a go. This is not exactly the best way to experience the best a restaurant has to offer, but hey you have to make the most of the available time.

It’s a nice airy room in cream, taupe & pea green. A third of seating is banquets with an arrangement of slightly awkward cushions you have to maneuver around to get comfortable; A classic example of style over functionality.

 sydney week 3 045

From the limited menu I started with the linguine with chorizo, broccoli, red chilli, parsley and lemon. All finely chopped and nicely presented. It was OK. The taste was pleasant, but all the flavours kind of muted each other – the relative blandness of the broccoli & pasta not giving an inch to the paucity of chili & chorizo. In retrospect it was a school-boy piece of ordering on my behalf. It was never going to be an exciting dish. I listened to my stomach.

 sydney week 3 046

The main course was much better – jewfish fillet, spinach, pine nuts, preserved lemon and tapenade. This was a beautiful piece of fish; well cooked – sweet and succulent, but with a good crisp skin. The tapenade got a bit lost, but the fish more than made up for it. It made a change from the heavier mains I have a tendency to order. I haven’t seen jewfish anywhere other than Australia and I won’t begrudge eating far more of it.

 sydney week 3 047

Dessert was Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with strawberry sorbet. I’m not much a dessert freak, but this was pleasant with a good light texture and a not overtly sweet sorbet. It went down well.

This was a nice pleasant lunch, worth the $60 for 3 courses with a glass of wine. But not enough was on show to make me think I couldn’t wait to go back for the dinner experience, which is partly why these restaurants run these kinds of deals. There wasn’t enough sense of occasion; a little bit too chilled out. Where are the amuse-bouches etc. I may be expecting too much, but it goes with being a 3 hat restaurant.

 6.5/10

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