Delicate innovation at Esq

Despite all the work my team was doing in Brisbane a few weeks ago, we did manage to get out to a few nice places, and Esq was one of the best of all.  According to their website they were the most highly awarded restaurant in Brisbane last year, and after eating there, I can see why.  We ate at the more casual offshoot – if you go to Esquire, they are all about tasting menus and long affairs, but you can get served pretty quickly at Esq, especially mid-week, and the food is just as fantastic.  I love the idea of really fancy restaurants having still fancy but less expensive sister restaurants right next to them where you can relax in a more casual bar setting.  The menu was varied and included interesting takes on vegetables along with simply but excellently created meat and fish.  I had been drooling over the menu all day and it did not disappoint!

IMG_5836Poached pork dumplings with chili, vinegar, and seasoned soya.  These were definitely some of the best dumplings I’ve had in recent memory – perfectly steamed with a flavourful filling.

IMG_5837Wagyu beef tartare with ginger, avocado, and this subtle hint of wasabi.  This was amazing and believe me I am not a raw beef  person.  I just loved the ginger and the fresh avocado.

IMG_5838Salad of cucumber, avocado, and peanut.  This was basically like delicious homemade satay sauce with cucumber and avocado.  Can’t go wrong with that!

IMG_5839Rainbow trout simply grilled with fresh herbs.  I opted for fish and was happy I had as I don’t get to eat simply cooked delicious fish that much.

IMG_5840On the right is coal roasted steak (wagyu obviously) with fried leek and homemade ketchup, and on the left is a side of braised mushrooms in ginger.  The mushrooms were amazing – all different types and textures, and the sauce was delicate but flavourful.  My eating companions were also very praising of the steak of course.

IMG_5841Grilled popcorn parfait. i know it doesn’t look that spectacular, but I was utterly delighted with the innovation on this dish and it’s actually one of the best desserts I’ve had in recent memory.  It was SO clever and anything that incorporates popcorn into the mix gets a huge vote in my book.  It wasn’t that sweet and had flavours of thyme and rosemary as well as a sweeter crunchy topping.  Liquid nitrogen was used to get some of the effects so it was pleasantly cold and refreshing too.  Definitely a 5 star dessert.

IMG_5842The special dark chocolate they make every day.  Perfect thing to eat on the way home!

This was without a doubt the best food we got to experience in our time in Brisbane.  The restaurant itself can be quite pricey but by eating at the bar and having their more casual menu the damage wasn’t too bad and it was a thoroughly satisfying and innovative meal that was a much needed break from work!  If anyone goes to Brisbane this would definitely be #1 on my list to try.

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