There's plenty of colour at Ester, but two of its desserts are marvels of the monochrome. The first, a one-two punch of young-coconut sorbet and unpasteurised sake, contains no chocolate, so we will speak of it here no more. But the second fits our theme nicely. To make it, chef Mat Lindsay blind-bakes a tart shell of chocolate shortcrust, darkened further with the addition of vegetable ash. Meanwhile, he prepares a water-based ganache of boiled soft liquorice, whipping it with 58 per cent milk and 72 per cent dark chocolate. It's poured over the pastry and left to set before being plated with crème fraîche and a dusting of chocolate sherbet. "Simple but effective," says Lindsay.
Ester, 46/52 Meagher St, Chippendale, NSW, (02) 8068 8279, ester-restaurant.com.au
PHOTOGRAPHY: AJ MOLLER
Many's the chocolate fan who would say their substance of choice is something best savoured as simply as possible (and there's a hardcore to that group who would likely add "preferably alone" to that picture). Then there are those of us who are content to get our fix any way we can take it, or - better still - thrill to the wonders our country's most talented chefs can work with chocolate, spinning it into remarkable new forms. Happily, the only correct response to offer here is "we'll take one of each". And, no, we won't be sharing.
WORDS: FIONA DONNELLY, SUE DYSON & ROGER McSHANE, MICHAEL HARDEN & PAT NOURSE