Saturday, October 12, 2013

Est. (Restaurant), Revolver Cafe, and my never ending birthday eats.

      A very belated blog post as my birthday was in June and my last blog post was in July... where have the last 4 months gone? They definitely went way too quickly and I have definitely been way too busy to blog. If you're stalking me on social media you would have seen all the crazy things I have been up to.
      So it was my twenty ninth birthday in June. To be honest, I was pretty scared that I was one year closer to thirty and wasn't really keen on celebrating that fact, but after a few weeks of unintentionally celebrating my birthday with my close friends and family, being twenty nine didn't seem so bad after all! I am usually the one spoiling my friends and family so it was nice to to be on the receiving end for a little bit, just because it was my birthday. My birthday celebrations actually semi started the week and a bit before my actual birthday, so as with every other year it turned into a bit of a never ending birthday feast.
      I won't go into too much detail, this will mostly be just a photo log of all the delicious eats I had over the couple of weeks on unintentionally celebrating my twenty ninth birthday.

     For a long time now, Ryan and I have given up on gift giving for our birthdays in exchange for a nice dinner out. We usually try to keep the location a surprise but I being the curious cat (or control freak) that I am, I always try to find out where Ryan is taking me. This year I had been just too busy to even really give it much thought. Even right until the moment he said 'corner George and Bridge Streets' while I was trying to navigate parking, I had absolutely no clue, and then it hit me.
      Est. has been on my radar as a place to dine due to it's 3 hat status. It is part of the Merivale group, and is located on the first floor of the Establishment Hotel, above the Establishment bar. High ceiling, large columns, white walls, I was wowed as soon as we stepped out of the elevator. It's like we'd just left the hustle and bustle of the city street below and walked into an oasis. Est. was an absolute dining experience, everything was impeccable, the decor, the service, the food. Though, it is a little intimidating when there are two waiters who come out at the same time to place your dish on the table and describe what's on the plate for each course. It was also a little distracting when you hear the other waiter describing the other dish to the other person. I actually like listening to the descriptions of what the other person is eating too.

    Ryan and I decided that we would go with the 4 course chef's menu as we liked the variety and descriptions of the dishes more and we usually prefer to choose from an a la carte menu rather than being stuck with a fixed menu that we can not alter if there are any dishes that we don't like.
  My first course: chicken consommé, confit chicken wing, enoki, malted barley,
foie gras tortellini.

Ryan's first course: sashimi of ocean trout, dashi, tapioca, ocean trout roe,
puffed quinoa, white soy, lime.

Ryan's second course: grilled scallops, white rabbit rillettes, parsnip, orange, pickled carrots.

My second course: quail breast, pine mushrooms, globe artichoke, chestnuts,
bitter greens, pan juices.

Ryan's third course: saddle of venison, black pudding, chestnuts,
celeriac, apple, semolina gnocchi.
      Venison is a bit of a treat for Ryan and he always tries to order it if he sees it on the menu. Not many restaurants serve it as it is quite a tough meat to get perfect. And Est. has it perfected, so perfect that when Ryan's glass of red wine never made it to the table with his main meal, he was so happy with his food that he didn't even think to check up on his wine with the sommelier.

My third course: lamb rib eye, trompette mushrooms, broad beans, goats curd beignets.

Side dish:  mash potato, with shaved fresh truffle.
      This was a small bowl of big indulgence.The truffle was a supplement to the menu where you could decide to have it with whichever course you wanted, Ryan suggested we have it with the mash. It was smooth and creamy but can't say it was the best mash I've had, though I loved every single piece of truffle that was in that bowl. 

Ryan's fourth course: valrhona chocolate delice, wild rice praline,
caramelized pear, toasted rice ice cream

My fourth course: earl grey ice cream, mandarin, citrus curd donuts, ruby grapefruit sorbet.
      As soon as I saw there were donuts on the Est. menu I knew I had to get them. Ryan actually thought I would have gone for the chocolate delice or even the souffle but the kid in me wanted donuts, fancy donuts!

Birthday surprise:  sorrel – yoghurt sorbet.
      So while I was in the ladies room, Ryan was having a conversation with our waiter and mentioned that it was my birthday dinner. After our desserts came out, our waiter came out with a single complementary scoop of sorbet with a candle.

Herbal tea plant infusion: Lemon Verbena
      We were going to pass on tea and coffee after dessert as we were so very full but our sommelier insisted that we try some of their fresh herbal tea infusions. We gave in and very glad that we did because it was quite an experience drinking the lemon verbena tea. I loved it so much I wanted to go home and buy myself a lemon verbena plant. We received these together with the petite fours complementary to make up for the sommelier forgetting Ryan's wine, now that is service.

Petite Fours (included with tea and coffee).
      We were absolutely stuffed but could not resist the petit fours. They were fantastic and I am glad we didn't pass on them.

      Our second Fancy Shmancy Dinner Party for the year had to be moved around a couple of times and we settled with having it the weekend of my birthday. I was also originally assigned the dessert course but Ryan decided that he would do it as well as his entree because it was my birthday weekend. I offer to 'help' him and end up doing most of the work for the souffle which really annoyed him as it was suppose to be his dessert. Oops.

      Just because it was my birthday I was not really expecting a big fuss and was just happy with a nice dinner with everyone. After dessert there was a surprise birthday cake and I was also showered with unexpected gifts from everyone.

      Birthday Champagne! I had a bottle of champagne at home waiting to be opened so decided that this dinner was special enough to crack it open.

      The Fancy Schmancy Diners. It was only a small group of us this time around as many people could not make it even after moving dates around to accomodate.

      I decided to take the Monday off work for my actual birthday and spent the day with Ryan. We started off the day with brunch at the Revolver Cafe in Annandale. This place has been on my wishlist for a while and I'd heard many great things about it. The food was good, I loved the interior, and the food came out extremely fast. Usually it's the other way around where you sometimes wait forever to eat.

Ryan's cappuccino.

My OJ.

Ryan's breakfast - Smoked trout, corn fritter, avocado, capsicum relish.

My breakfast - Organic bacon, scrambled eggs, confit leeks, and capsicum relish
 on sourdough toast.

      Fake log fire place. For a chilly morning it was nice to be seated next to the 'roaring' fireplace. We were very reluctant to leave once we finished our brunch.

      After brunch we decided to check out the new premises of The Red Spoon Co. We were there just simply to look, though I had many ideas for future events where I'll need to make a return trip for.

      We decided to drive around exploring the inner city suburbs of Anandale, Lilyfield and Rozelle and eventually wind up at The Essential Ingredient in Rozelle. I needed to top up on some powdered egg whites and did a spot of shopping while I was at it.

      Feeling a bit famished, we drove down to Balmain for a bit of an afternoon pick me up. I decided to have a sticky beak at Zest Patisserie which is almost half way between Rozelle and Balmain, as I had always driven past it on the way to the main part of Balmain.

'Birthday cakes' - Dark chocolate profiterole, fruit tart, and lemon tart.

After afternoon tea we walked up the road to Rozelle shops and bought a nice crusty baguette from Victoire to have with some pate that I picked up from Essential Ingredient.

      As we were heading along the city west link towards Ryan's place, I suggested that we make a bit of a detour through Haberfield. I wanted to explore the area a bit as we've always been there for dinner which means the shops are shut or it's always been a quick pit stop at Papas Pasticceria for cheesecake.

      My actual birthday dinner was a simple but delicious one, shared with the one person who I care about most. The best baguette we've had in Sydney (from Victoire), some toasted walnuts, some triple milk brie, duck liver pate with currant and port jelly, and some sliced pear.

      I actually passed on Papas cheesecake and bought some ricotta cannoli and a chocolate bombalini instead. The cheesecake and cannoli are always a favourite but I decided to try something new this time. We weren't too keen on the chocolate bomb, expecting something like soft fluffy donut filled with warm lava like chocolate but it was a very dense filling of chocolate flavoured pastry cream which we didn't really enjoy, a bit too rich and heavy for our liking.

      I thought I was able to keep my birthday quite at work but the other EA's/PA's were waiting to have coffee and cake with me as soon as I was back at work. And then there was also a surprise birthday cake organised from one of the teams for me because I'm always organising their birthday cakes. And then I had lunch with fellow blogger Ayano who gave me some Creasion macarons for my birthday. 

      I had bought a voucher for a truffle degustation at Blanchuru in Elizabeth Bay and happened to book it in the weekend after my birthday. It was like my birthday celebrations were continuing on. Thank goodness it all stopped after this though.

     So the weekend before my actual birthday weekend, our family hosted a big BBQ. It was really for my parents 30th anniversary but since we had a few birthdays in and around June in the family, we tagged them on to the celebrations too. There was enough food to feed the army and the navy. I took the Friday off work to help mum go shopping and prepare all the food. The photos above are only a small portion of what was served up to our friends and family. Mum never skimps on good food, combining both a food loving mother and daughter and you have the most epic feast ever.

      Of course there had to be desserts at this BBQ. On top of all the food prep, I also managed to make a small lime and coconut cake with coconut cream buttercream for my parents, some matching cupcakes, salted caramel popcorn macarons and also some vanilla bean profiteroles. I was crazy but I think good desserts are just as important as good food.

      I pulled out some really old karaoke cd's I had which were good entertainment value. No one wanted to sing at first but after some 'encouragement' of the alcoholic and non alcoholic kind we ended up having a cracker of a time.

      The day after a big BBQ is generally always dedicated to eating leftovers and the massive job of cleaning up and putting things away. One of my friends couldn't make it to the BBQ at the last minute so came for lunch and surprised me with a very delicious cake. In return I fed him some BBQ leftovers :D

      It's the big three-oh next year! And I am terrified! I do look forward to what the next year brings though, it's already been a crazy few months. Lots of exciting and great times ahead. I just know it :).


gaby @ lateraleating said...

Wow, you did a great job at celebrating the end of your twenties! Good food and great company is all it takes to have a wonderful birthday.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

The venison looks awesome! And looks like you had an awesome series of birthday eats

Richard Elliot said...

That's an EPIC birthday!

I went to Est for one of the March into Merivale offers a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the food.

Revolver was one of my top breakfasts in Sydney. I really liked the place although it can be hard to get a table on the weekend.