Ester is a restaurant that has been on my wish list for a little while now. I finally had the chance to visit with my family and it lived up to its expectations. With a wood-fired oven as the focal point of its kitchen, the flavours of the food really shines through. For ease of ordering, we opted for the $72 set menu.
Starting off with the Squid dumplings, the appearance of the dish was quite jarring (courtesy of the squid ink). I loved the chewiness of the dumpling skin and the cutlefish and pork filling was quite tasty.
Next was the Wood-fired roasted Rock oysters. The oysters still retained the texture normally associated with a raw oyster but with the additional smokey flavour. Despite not usually being a fan of horseradish, the horseradish emulsion went quite nicely with the oysters and definitely whetted our appetite for the food to come.
The Blood sausage sanga is definitely a step up from the average sausage sanga! The blood sausage had incredibly tasty, served on a fluffy steamed piece of white bread with aioli and caramelised onions. I could have downed a few more of these!
The Kingfish sashimi was beautifully fresh and combined beautifully with the charcoal nori sauce, the smooth bonito emulsion and the orange zest powder. All the flavours just worked when mixed with one another.
The King prawns were chargrilled to perfection and tasted divine with the capers and generous lashings of brown butter. Definitely a dish to savour!
The Peas/ lardo/ corn dish was not very inspriing on paper but it most definitely delivered. The lardo mixed with the fresh peas and corn made this a mouthwatering dish (though most definitely not the healthiest!).
The wood-fired Cauliflower is Ester's signature dish so I was definitely eager to see what all th fuss is about. The cauliflower is ginormous and the time in the wood-fired oven gives it a lovely smokey and sweet flavour. Together with the creamy almond emulsion, toasted almonds and mint, it made cauliflower one amazing tasting vegetable!
The Flank steak was marinated in fermented rice and was wonderfully tender and juicy. I loved the accompaniments to the dish too - the sweet, falling-apart leek and the smoked onion puree.
Onto desserts and the Salted caramel semi-freddo had the balance of sweet and salty just right. I'm a sucker for anything with black sesame so the sprinkling of black sesame powder took this to another level.
Our last course of our very filling menu was Three milks, which consists of a cows milk panna cotta, a sheep's milk foam, a goat's milk dulce de leche, olive oil biscuit crumbs and rosemary. It's best when all the components are mixed together as you get the lightness of the yoghurt, the sweetness of the dulce de leche and the creaminess of the panna cotta. Overall, it was a bit too sweet for me but I really admired their creativity.
I had a great time at Ester and will be back for sure to try the rest of their menu (the bone marrow is calling me!). The use of the wood fired oven injects amazing flavour to the dishes and I love the rustic nature of the food. It's definitely a place meant for sharing so bring your friends or family along!
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