Fine, fine dining. In the Hemmes' lovely building which houses The Establishment Hotel and bar, Hemmesphere lounge-bar and the Japanese restaurant sushi e, in George Steet, Sydney.
You are met at the door, to separate the paying diners from the drinking hoi-polloi, and accompanied upstairs to the restaurant on the first floor. This is a lovely space, cool, sophisticted in white and sage and pale lime. It is a long room, with a border of parquet flooring, the rest a soft green carpet that is thick underfoot. Mirrors along the back wall emphasise the space, as do large columns in marble down the length of the room. At the north-west end is a private dining room, obscured from the curious by a carved dark wooden wall.
The service is impeccable. There were 2 of us dining, so our food was always bought by 2 wait-staff, so that there was no waiting. The next door table of 4 had their food brought by 4 wait-staff. What a small detail that illustrates a fine attention to detail!
My companion and I elected to have the degustation, mine with wine and his without. The degustation is $190 with wine and $125 without, so it is good value with wine. There are 7 courses including 2 amuse-geule.
The first course was raw hiramasu kingfish with salmon roe and limejuice in a martini glass with watermelon. Just a single mouthful, bursting with flavour. Next, foie gras with parsnip and apple puree - my favourite! Then a snowpea salad with crab ravioli, a pork dish, a fish, then onto the desserts.
A slice of quince (my favourite fruit) on top of a vanilla bean icecream with an apple sorbet and a honey tuile. I actually got bored with the apple sorbet but the rest was lovely.
To finish, a plate of tiny cakes, we ate them before I remembered to take a photo! (And apologies for the badbadbad quality of the photos - I am just learning how to use my camera and must grovellingly apologise to the chefs whose food is a thousand times more beautiful than my poor photography shows!)
Final comment on the wines - the most memorable was the exquisite moscato served with the dessert. I had just 2 nights before attended a wine degustation and had all my taste-buds on alert, but sad to say cannot now, 2 months later, recall anything of note apart from the moscato.
Expensive dinner - with a tip, $400 for the 2 degustations and 2 drinks beforehand.