One of the Crave Festival‘s features I love the most is Let’s Do Lunch. $38 buy you lunch and wine at a number of participating great restaurants, including some 1, 2 and 3-hatters (3 hats being the top ranking in Sydney’s Good Food Guide, the city’s humble equivalent to the Michelin guide). What you get depends on the regular prices at any particular venue; if it’s not a very expensive one you may get two or three courses, otherwise you’ll have to settle with a main and a glass of Brown Brothers.
Last year Alvaro and I went to Sushi e and Fix St James. This time I decided to give est. a shot for my birthday lunch. This Merivale venue has the same distinctive fancy-business vibe to it. It’s elegant and corporate, definitely not my style, but well worth a visit.
est. has only one option for Let’s Do Lunch: a pan roasted barramundi (blue eye trevalla in the official menu). We were asked for our wine choice (I wonder if somebody would choose red with this dish) and handed a menu in case we wanted to order entrées or sides. The special occasion meant we could enjoy some freshly shucked oysters with ponzu dressing. At $5 each, though, we had to settle with two each. They were worth every cent: very fresh and beautifully complemented by the ponzu dressing. The lemon wedges were left untouched. I drank every drop of the mix of brine and dressing that was left in the shells and had to refrain from licking them.
Freshly shucked oysters ($5.00 each)
Freshly shucked oysters, ponzu dressing
A few minutes passed before the main course was served. That worked out really well because my aunties rang from home to say happy birthday. I did have to say rush a good-bye because our mains and side arrived. The pan roasted barramundi, braised gem lettuce, spring peas, chervil and verjus was as delicious as it sounded and looked. The skin was absolutely crispy, the vegetables (hello spring asparagus!) were cooked to perfection, and the almonds, while somewhat out of tune with the elegance of the dish by having their skins on and being only roughly chopped, added an extra texture contrast.
Pan roasted barramundi, braised gem lettuce, spring peas, chervil and verjus ($38.00)
The side of seasonal vegetables (green beans, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli and baby carrots) was a perfect match for the barramundi (for anything, really).
Seasonal vegetables ($12.00)
We declined the dessert menu and accepted a coffee instead. Alvaro’s flat white and my short black arrived with a ring mold full of gorgeous white and brown sugar cubes, great as decoration but not so much as food. But who needs sugar when the coffee is good? Certainly we don’t.
Sugar, flat white, short black
252 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 3000