Merivale to close Est. restaurant at Christmas

The grand dining room at Est.
The grand dining room at Est. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Sydney is set to lose one of its most bejewelled restaurants, with double-toque fine diner Est. closing its doors later this year.

Owner Justin Hemmes confirmed to Good Food that Est. will close its doors around Christmas.

It has been a gruelling few years for the pointy end of Sydney dining, with the loss of a roll-call of top-end restaurants, including Bridge Room, Sepia, Gastro Park and Oscillate Wildly.

Soft-boiled egg with cream corn and caviar at Est.
Soft-boiled egg with cream corn and caviar at Est. Photo: Edwina Pickles

"We are replacing both lifts [at Establishment], which will take about four months, so it is a good time to do it. We'll do a big renovation [in the Est. space] and move the team over to the new mid-level opening at Coogee Pavilion," Hemmes says.

When it does reopen, possibly by the end of 2020, it won't be as Est. Hemmes says it's too early to say exactly what the concept will be.

Given Sydney's retreat from fine dining, it will be a fascinating reinvention to watch. A long-time jewel in the Merivale crown, Est. opened in 2000 but really hits its straps with the recruitment three years later of chef Peter Doyle, and has been dripping in hats ever since. Doyle stepped out of the kitchen a few years ago but standards haven't slipped - last week the restaurant added another two hats to its collection.

One of the few gastro temples left from Sydney's Olympics-era dining boom, Hemmes says the renovation will treat the space with respect. Its grand bones and pressed metal ceilings helped make Est. one of the most elegant dining rooms Sydney has ever seen.