Adding swanky bar snacks and tasty tapas to Est’s extensive selection of cocktails, spirits and wines has provided the perfect recipe for success. Words by Marissa Carruthers. Photography by Charles Fox.

Wanting to create a sophisticated space to sip on elite spirits and smoke fine cigars into the early hours, the owners carefully crafted cocktail bar-cum-speakeasy in the form of Est. While this may conjure up images of a boys’ club, Est.’s extensive classy cocktail offerings, coupled with long list of wines, tasty tapas, soft lighting and minimalist design, attracts a healthy portion of women through the doors.

Complementing the long line of top shelf spirits shipped in from across the globe, is the recently revamped tapas menu. Offering a selection of Asian fusion-style small plates, pots and sharing platters to nibble on while enjoying relaxed after work drinks or a nightcap before bed, Est. has both imbibing and ingesting covered to a tee.

Ranging from pork nuggets and anise prawns, to Finnish meatballs, duck pie and snapper Valencia, there’s something on the menu to appease every appetite. With as much effort put into presentation as cooking, each dish is meticulously presented – almost so well it makes tucking in a chore.

The greens on toast is a delicate dish of sautéed spinach and wild mushroom in shallot and garlic with crumbled feta and pine nuts on toasted sourdough. Each ingredient adds dimension to the dish with the varying textures adding to the richness of the flavour. A bite of this deceptively moreish dish takes indulgers on a journey from the subtle taste of the mushrooms to the spinach and the layer of rich, soft cheese before hitting the perfectly seasoned sourdough.

The prawn and bug sees poached slipper lobster and prawns presented on a bed of crisp lettuce, with orange segments, black olive and a light aioli infused with gin martini, also on toasted sourdough. Despite looking like it may be a sickly sweet prawn marie sauce, it isn’t, with the addition of olives adding an element of surprise.

Next up was the jerk chicken – with healthy portions of meat being served on each skewer. Seasoned to perfection, the kick of the chicken is mellowed out by the impressive pineapple, coriander and lime salsa it is served alongside, teasing out the sweet and sour flavours.

Sitting in similar style to the prawn and bug – but on a much higher level in the wow factor stakes – is the bug martini. Served in an over-sized martini glass, this is a playful take on a prawn cocktail. Plump poached slipper lobsters replace prawns, with the orange segments adding a hint of sweet acidity, the shredded lettuce a refreshing crunch and the gin martini dressing a mild kick.

Surrounded by well-thought out décor with the contemporary and imposing furniture giving a regal feel to the venue, Est. is the perfect place to sip on fine wines, whiskys, sake and clever cocktail concoctions while grazing on some equally refined bites. And situated next door to Nova is the ideal venue for pre-dancing drinks.

19Z Street 214, Phnom Penh.
Tel: 023 988 227.
Open daily from 5pm to late.