Wandering Chippendale’s dark, desolate streets in search of Ester, we wondered, why aren’t there more restaurants in Chippendale? There are great cafes in the daytime (like Cafe Giulia and Brickfields), art galleries, bars (Freda’s and now Zigi’s Wine and Cheese – which were both frequented for wines pre-Ester!), but why aren’t there restaurants on every corner?! Chippendale will undoubtedly become a new food and drink hotspot come the completion of the ginormous, plant-wall covered Central Park development, but for now, Ester is a shining beacon of promise in a still slightly off the radar patch of inner-Sydney.
So, Ester – where to begin? The decor – minimalist with a 60s touch, the vibe – lively, unpretentious yet city sleek, the service – unobtrusive, friendly and just right, the food – out of this world. Part of the Vini/121BC group of restaurants, the head chef Mat Lindsay is ex-121BC and Billy Kwong, and is now apparently all about the wonders of the wood-fired oven.
We ate a ridiculous number of dishes, but here’s what you should order: the cured meats plate for melt in your mouth coppa, flavour packed nduja and spicy salami; the raw fish, brought to life with the contrast of crunchy, baked capers; the most ridiculously amazing lamb cooked in the wood-fired oven (think silken in texture), the almost show-stealing side of charred broccolini with chilli and crispy flaked almonds, and all of the icecreams (the vibrant, refreshing fennel, the strong, bitter chocolate and the buttery salted caramel semifreddo). There were some wonderful wines consumed (pinot noir and grenache) from the well-curated drinks menu, but mostly I was all-consumed with dying over the food. In a nutshell – you have to go to Ester!!!
Ester, 46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale, tel: 02 8068 8279