Experiencing all that Establishment Hotel had to offer in only fourteen hours was always going to be a tough challenge. Work wrapped up by 5.30pm, which left two hours before my booking at Sushi E. An early meeting the next morning meant that even breakfast had to be all wrapped up by 7.30am. That said, in those fourteen hours Establishment Hotel impressed for a number of reasons.
I started my evening as anyone who knows Establishment would, with a cold beer at the ground level bar amongst a sea of suits hoping to drag the weekend a day closer on a cold, wet, Thursday night. Once my better half arrived, we kicked around past Mr Wong to the entrance of the hotel lobby off Bridge Lane. It’s easy to forget just how many prominent bars and restaurants this building houses, only as you wind around the colonial back streets does it remind you that there’s a lot more to Establishment than meets the eye, I even had a flash-back moment to Tank nightclub and the glory days of 2006 electro.
The lobby is beautifully discreet, hidden behind a door that resembles something from Game of thrones. A warm welcome by the staff and a swift elevator to level 3 has us at the room in a matter of minutes. The hotel offers three room varieties including a Studio, Establishment and Penthouse room. Tonight we would reside in the generous 50m2 Establishment room, which for an inner city hotel is a delightfully spacious room consisting of King Bed, dual sink bathroom and comfortable sitting area. Our room looked back across the main bar courtyard, and my only hesitation in re-booking this room would be the light buzz of music and crowd conversation that can be heard while sleeping (till about midnight) – it’s minor, but worth considering when checking in.
Sushi E, for me, is the best Japanese Restaurant in Sydney. In my half a dozen times there it never fails to impress. On this occasion we were seated around the chef’s bar, however you can just as easily enjoy Sushi E while relaxing in the chesterfield lounges of Hemmesphere, which is adjacent.
There’s a great sense of inclusiveness when you can order straight from the chef in front of you as they work through their orders. We start with a small plate of traditional Sashimi and a serving of Prawn Shumai (steamed prawn dumpling with a ponzu dipping sauce). Both act as a perfect palate cleanser before we tuck into a salt and pepper cuttlefish, rich with flavour and served with a few wedges of lemon to cut through the salt. I think you need to visit Sushi E a few times to navigate the menu in full, or at least go with 4-5 people so you can sample a good selection. With this in mind, and after much debate, we settled on the mixed tempura and pork belly, which is slowly steamed for 6 hours then braised and served cubed with a velvet potato puree, English spinach and sake, mirin sauce – a stunning end to the meal.
As we head to the elevators to leave there’s a definite buzz around Hemisphere as groups dine on share plates of sashimi while stunning waitresses dart across the room with trays of colourful cocktails. In a time when Sydney struggles with lockout laws and the ever-present demise of nightlife, there’s a small pulse within Establishment that’s doing its part to keep sophisticated drinking and dining alive and well.
Whether you’re looking for an excuse to take a significant other on a romantic night to the city, stopping over for a business trip or simply after a holiday, Establishment Hotel is a one-stop shop that has to be high on the consideration list.
612 9240 3100
5 Bridge Lane, Sydney 2000