Ester Restaurant & Bar
Ask a group of fine-dining chefs where they like to eat on a day off. Chances are, one restaurant will come up a lot: Ester. The 45-seater has been reinventing fine dining since mid-2013. The mood is casual, the fit-out is sparse and the dishes are simple and honest but incredibly finessed.
Instead of copious ingredients, exotic materials and laboratory techniques, chef Mat Lindsay relies on a wood-fired oven and the best local produce that Sydney and its surrounds have to offer.
Typically, the menu changes with the season, but signatures to expect all-year-round are baked cauliflower with almond cream and mint; a pillowy blood sausage “sanga” and buttery roasted king prawns. With these you’ll be drinking a list of exclusively organic or biodynamic wines (including a good selection of oranges), premium-grade sakes and maybe even a homemade soda.
Like the food, the interior is accessible, minimalist and smart – similar to its sister restaurants, Vini, 121BC and Berta (all owned by Andrew Cibej) the furniture is basic, with most tables offering views over the bar and into the kitchen.