As someone who loves food, cooking and eating, living in a new city provides an exciting opportunity to explore the food culture and the restaurant scene. Sydney has a very exciting scene and it's been fun exploring it. My initial impression is that the most exciting food is being made by restaurants that have eschewed the more clichéd fine dining ideals of white table cloths and formal service for more a more casual setting and plates that are meant to be shared. The product is still top-notch and the wines are of equal quality.
One of these restaurants is Ester in the neighborhood (or suburb, as the Sydneysiders say). It's on every "best of" list and requires booking a reservation well in advance. They also focus on organic wines here and have a very interesting and varied list to choose from.
I often feel the best way to dine is to let the kitchen decide the menu and let the sommelier or bartender choose the wines to match. Tonight was no exception. Here's what we had (sorry for the subpar pics!):
The prawns in Australia are so delicious and sweet. I almost always order them if they're on a menu.
In general, I don't think steak is as good as the lamb in Australia. There are definitely exceptions, and this flavorful and very tender flank steak is one of them.
The meal at Ester was excellent. We sat at the bar, which is a pretty common dining option in Sydney restaurants and is something that I really enjoy. The food was all very delicious and deceptively well-executed. The combinations appear simple but the flavors are very pure and present.
Our wines were chosen by the bartender and were all spot on. I wish I had remembered the names of all of them. This is why I'll never be a great food blogger! I can't be bothered to record all of the details during a great meal. I'd rather be eating and enjoying the evening. But, thankfully, the restaurant's website has them all! So here were our wines:
Sparkling: Larmandier, Chardonnay, Latitude 'NV, Vertus France
White: Shobbrook, Semillon, Sammion '15, Barossa SA
Orange: Millton, Gewurztraminer, Libiamo '14, Gisborne NZ
Red: M. Dumarcher, Carignan Grenache '14, Rhone France
Dessert: Ota Shuzo, Ume Shu ‘13, Shiga Japan
I'd highly recommend dining at Ester. In fact, I can't wait to go back and try more of the menu!