Tequila can be polarising. There are two types of tequila drinkers, the margarita lover and those who saw the bottom of a bottle once, even drank the worm and blacklisted it ever since. The problem is, we haven’t really had the good stuff and by good stuff I mean ‘sipping’ tequilas, until now. No matter what corner you stand in, the smoking hot new Latin American dining room and mescal bar at Esteban has a new proposition for us.
The mission of the team from Tequila Mockingbird, Mark Crawford and Michael Fegent was to bring a classy Latin American with the biggest range of top-shelf Tequilas and Mescals to the city. It’s a chic art deco space. Moody candle-lit tables upstairs in the dining room, with a swanky speakeasy Mescal bar in the basement are set to a Latin playlist all night.
Restaurant manager Luca Bielli and his team are welcoming and warm, there’s almost too many recommendations from the waiters about the dishes you can’t go past and they’ll encourage starting with the ‘build-your-own’ margaritas. Choose from Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and extra aged tequilas as well as a huge range of Mescals to take it classic or on the rocks, curated it exactly how you like it.
Executive chef John Frid together with the founders travelled Mexico for cuisine and beverage inspiration to design an authentic experience. The raw bar features some sensational seafood, the Hiramasa Kingfish ceviche with watermelon sorbet, chile verde, sea bananas is beautifully balanced. And the Scallop Aguachile with desert lime, cucumber and avocado is show-stopping, subtle, sweet and savoury.
It’s almost mandatory to have one or both of the super tasty tacos, the Al Pastor adobo marinated pork and the Lamb Barbacoa with borracha (drunk salsa) served on house made tortillas charred on the parilla grill. Tamales are not something you’ll find around town, this common street food staple is no street food here, featuring spinach & queso with poblano spice and corn ash, it’s moorish. Make use of a pause to order the very memorable Barossa 2017 Powell & Son ‘Riverside’ GSM, its fragrant and lush.
There is a lot of competition for the main event, the smokey tender Ironbark Grilled Chicken with a mole nuevo, pairs nicely with the charred broccolini in anchovy dressing and jamon crisps. The night keeps getting better as the Wagyu Tajima Rump Cap MBS 6+ with porcini & pickled mulato chilli butter, arrives. Theres no question, it’s the hero dish and quite possibly the best steak you’ll have all year, cooked perfectly, prefect seasoning, yep, it’s nothing short of perfection.
As you flirt with the idea of a final course you’ll spy the ice-cream, the dish we allow ourselves when you cant fit another thing in. Popcorn flavoured and praline-crunch-textured, crowns fluffy white chocolate mousse, it’s pretty special!
The revelation of the night was sipping our way to a close with an elegant glass of the Don Amado Anejo Mescal. It’s literally heart warming. Who would have thought you could find yourself savouring quality tequila & mescal like grown ups? No lick, sip and sucking and there’s definitely no worm. 2020 is so full of surprises, Esteban is a glowing silver lining and right on time as we get our party season on.
1 Temperance lane, Sydney
Wed-Thurs 12-late, Fri-Sat 12-1am