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Est Est Alea

Est Est Alea
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Cost
Avg main meal R700 per person, R300 for wine pairing (8% discretionary service charge)
Ambience
Business meetings, Groups, Special occasions
Food
Contemporary fare, Fine-dining food
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO available

Critic's review

Kholeka Kumalo

Food
Have you ever tasted octopus that made you want to eat it that way for the rest of your life? If not, try it at Est Est Alea. The baby octopus teriyaki starter is prepared al dente and served with the prettiest and tastiest accompaniments. The octopus is lightly poached, with freshness and crunch from baby radish and pickled daikon, served with squid ink mayo, garlic emulsion, samphire shoots and a seaweed element from a black sesame-seed sponge. Cooked to perfection, it’s complete magic in the mouth.

Forget a lot of what you know about tom yum. Est Est Alea’s tom yum essence is a delicious interpretation of the classic hot and sour Thai soup, with charred corn and a warm foamy cloud of potato, sautéed langoustine and a tom yum jelly. If you’d like to stick to seafood for mains, options include prawn bisque tagliatelle and coconut-milk trout. To change tack, the Three Little Pigs is a happy gathering of slow-braised pork belly with sticky honey mustard, soya-glazed eisbein, crispy streaks of bacon, and crunchy pork crackling served with a side of smashed bean salsa that’s quite like umnqgusho.

Equally tempting is the beef fillet in a red wine reduction with truffles, winter vegetables and crispy but soft roast potatoes. Their spin on duck magret is just as tempting. Expect the unexpected, in a delightful way. Plate after plate and forkful after forkful, you can tell that the chef has a somewhat playful approach to cooking and is eager to surprise you.

For dessert, go for the one named Digging for Carats. You’ll find a golden ball atop a slightly salty chocolate crumble, beneath which is a smear of crème brûlée custard. Crack the ball with a spoon to expose a fresh and moist carrot cake pop inside.

Drinks
Hallelujah! All wines are sold by the glass, with wine pairing options available for dinner. Expect the likes of Raka, AA Badenhorst and Lust en Vrede. Premium offerings include Leeu Passat and Mullineux.

Service
The waitrons are eager to advise on dishes if you seem torn. The chef is happy to tell you more about what you’re eating and the bartender is very open to allowing you to taste your wine before committing.

Ambience
Contemporary cool yet cosy. It’s hard to fault the mood of a restaurant that has the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, The Five Stairsteps and Dionne Warwick crooning away in the background. What could be warmer?

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay their way in full. Read our editorial policy here.

(July 2018)

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User reviews

  • Dario is a little bit of a “Rockstar Chef” with renowned Yum, Yum Nostalgia and more recently Cube Tasting Kitchen literally rocking the Joburg foodie scene with phenomenal flavour combinations and presentation almost to beautiful to eat. We all held our breathe as Cube served its final meal and waited in anticipation for the next chapter. Little has changed at his new Parktown North Eatery, Est Est Alea - a trendy restaurant space with brilliant service backed up by a phenomenal kitchen team. Est Est Alea takes degustation to a new level with a 6 or 9 course food journey that is well worth the price tag - think pungent soups topped with cloudy potato foam, silky risottos with shaved truffles, confit duck with grapefruit and licorice and playful desserts which will make you think you might have fallen down the “rabbit hole”. This restaurant is an absolute must for any self acclaimed foodie - and even more exciting is the very affordable and more’ish 2, 3 and 4 course lunch journeys which make this Rockstar Chef even more accessible - yes, the ambience is different but it is all about the food after all Do yourself a favour and try Est Est Alea - you won’t be disappointed
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  • I had heard a lot about this restaurant and was excited to give it a try. I do consider myself a bit of a foodie having eaten at some amazing restaurants in this country as well as abroad. Wth this in mind, and based on the price charged I did have high expectations. I had the full tasting menu, with my wife having the half. We also selected the wine pairing option.Without going into detail on every course, my summary is as follows: The courses did not flow into each other A few courses were so over seasoned, they were inedible Food was clearly prepared hours in advance and merely re heated. I believe this is a new menu as a colleague of mine was there the night before us and said he was very disappointed after having loved a previous visit with a different menu. In summary, not a good experience for the price. I get the feeling they are trying to do too much, trying to be something they are not ready to be yet. Do less things better is my advice.
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  • I was sadly disappointed by my visit this time. It was for lunch on a Saturday. I have been twice before, both previous occasions in the evening. Lunch was disappointing because the food was just warm, not cold but not hot either. And the portions were tiny. I am used to the trend whereby fine food restaurants offer small portions, these were too small. The service was excellent, the wine list exciting as was the menu. I will try again for a dinner, perhaps this lunch was an 'off day'.
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  • We were celebrating our 11 year anniversary and the staff and chefs made us feel incredibly special. Everyone was informed that it was our anniversary and we were given a special treat to end our meal. The previous year we had gone to another upmarket Johannesburg restaurant and although the food was excellent we just felt like a number in the restaurant. Est Est Alea made us feel like honoured guests. The food was excellent and the wines were delicious, different and excellently paired with the food. We will definitely be back.
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  • Est Est Alea remains to me much the nicest of the Johannesburg restaurants. Food remains a highlight and with the pork (however Dario cooks pork, it’s always magnificent) and duck dishes always a specific highlight. So much so that I was there for dinner twice last week! The newly revamped premises are comfortable and relaxed and the service is prompt and attentive. Of interest is the wine cellar which is always filled with unusual wines at bargain prices - also they are all available per glass if you feel like trying three or four. All in all, haven’t had a disappointing meal there and will be back in future.
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  • Ate the exploration menu on saturday nihgt and it was superb
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  • Dario delivers! Sublime ..9 course tasting menu for dinner with friends and it was exceptional. Anybody with an inkling of what it takes to deliver food of this creativity and quality will be impressed
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  • We have just enjoyed a superb three course lunch at this stunning restaurant. The whole experience was a treat - the ambience, the service and, most importantly, the absolutely delicious meal and I can’t wait to go back. How very fortunate we are to have eating establishments of this calibre in our neighbourhood!
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  • What a stunning new spot in Parktown North. We treated ourselves to the 12 course tasting menu, accompanied by the standard wine pairing option. The presentation of of the dishes was exquisite and the chef's flavour combinations inventive and delicious. Our tastebuds were given a thorough work out. Flavours were enhanced by the wines offered in the pairing. From the whites, the Catherine Marshall Ridgeback Viognier was outstanding , and from the reds the locally produced Gerakaris Thomas Syrah - delicious. The sommelier was knowledgable and skilfully guided us through wonderful selection of local wines . All in all a stunning evening, showcasing the best of South African produce. Great to have chef Dario back in Parktown North, and on top form . We will definitely be back !!
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  • In a lovely new setting with art works, excellent cuisine prepared by a young dynamic team with lovely daring combinations and innovations with a personal touch by the chefs serving us and explaining with pride their creations. A different diverse wine list, by the bottle or per glass offering us a real taste of SA wines. We had an amazing culinary evening. No doubt that we will be back! Marc & Antoinette

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Menu

Set menu - Menu changes regularly.

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Reservations recommended
  • Serves food

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