Esquire in the Queen Victoria Building is a moody New York style supper club. It's the sibling to Reign, a downstairs bar and champagne parlour. It’s an extremely handsome space that uses clever lighting to accentuate the building’s Romanesque revival architecture. It’s a beautiful space for long business lunches but also – and importantly – late-night snacking and drinking.
And drink late they can: Esquire closes at 2am Thursday to Sunday nights.
The bar stocks more than 180 local and international whiskies and 200 wines – 60 by the glass and half-bottle carafe. Like at Reign, sommelier Fabio Nistrio (ex-Sokyo) has assembled the list and incorporated Coravin technology to preserve open bottles of wine longer (they can be poured without removing the cork), meaning more bottles can be opened.
The cocktail list is by David Green (previously Ovolo’s Alibi and Zephyr Bar at the Hyatt Regency) and it echoes the produce featured on the food menu. For fans of an Old Fashioned, get the Sheep in Wolves Clothing. It’s made with duck-fat-infused spiced rum, barley, pandan syrup and bitters, and is rich in texture and taste.
Seasonal produce informs Damien Worthington’s menu of modern-Australian dishes. The pork jowl schnitzel is cooked for eight hours (Beaumont’s pick of the menu) and there’s a whole roast chicken for two served over two courses (a confit of legs and salad is the entrée, and a side of potato gratin comes with the main). The seared steak tartare with beetroot and fresh horseradish melts in your mouth.
If you’re not in the mood to make decisions, the tasting menu ($65) includes 10 dishes: barbeque octopus with chorizo, potato, cucumber and saffron; crumbed sweetbreads with lemon, cauliflower, brown butter and hazelnut; 350 grams of Scotch fillet; plus your pick of dessert. We’ve got our eye on the beetroot cake with crème fraiche ice-cream, carrot curd and walnuts.
For something more casual, hit up Esquire’s bar menu. There’s a Wagyu cheese burger, antipasti for two and a Gruyere de comté jaffle – the ultimate midnight snack.
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