It's one of the grandest dining rooms in Sydney – heck, it even has a Champagne trolley that does the rounds during service. But after almost 20 years of fine dining, restaurant Est will hold its final service on 21 December.
Loyal diners were informed of the restaurant's pending closure via email last night.
"After 19 wonderful years, we have decided to close Est for major renovations," the email reads. "The time is right for a change, and a shift in focus to a fresh and exciting new project within the space.
"We would love to thank you for all of your support — this will be the end of an era, but we look forward to starting an exciting new chapter."
The restaurant opened in 2000, with Peter Doyle appointed head chef three years later. The legendary talent retired from the hospitality game last year, leaving current head chef Jacob Davey to take the reins.
Earlier this year, Gourmet Traveller described the restaurant as "staunchly wedded to the ideals of taking good produce, cooking it well and presenting it with flair, trying to be nothing other than the best at what it does," culminating in its top-50 ranking in the 2020 Restaurant Guide.
After the restaurant's closure, Davey and the Est team will be turning their talents to the to-be-opened middle level of the Coogee Pavilion. (The venue is currently led by Jordan Toft, a one-time culinary student of Doyle.)
Does Est's closure signal the demise of fine dining in Sydney? Following the recent closures of Oscillate Wildly and The Bridge Room, soothsayers might be counting down the days of white linen-clothed tables and $45 entrées. But then again, Quay is still kicking on after 30-plus years at the forefront of Sydney fine dining (granted, it did have a $4-million facelift in 2018), while just across the harbour Aria is celebrating its 20th birthday this year (it too underwent renovations in 2016). Are harbour views and expensive refurbishments the key to fine-dining success in this town? It remains to be seen, but on this side of Sydney, Est will be missed.
Est's final service is on 21 December. Bookings can be made at merivale.com/venues/est.