Essen is the third restaurant I am aware of at this location. Essen opened in September 2019, the new restaurant was established by Clarissa and her husband Stu McInnes (on the right below), both are chefs who met in Melbourne when Clarissa was doing her apprenticeship. Clarissa is a local – she was born in Stanthorpe. Clarissa’s mother Claudia who assists her daughter and son in law at Essen has extensive experience in hospitality.

“essen diners collage1
“essen inside collage1
“Clarisa and Stu

I was excited to see another restaurant open here as the previous two had been excellent. Myself, wife and daughter dined at Essen when they re-opened in January 2020 after a short new year break. The interior has had a facelift with new furniture and decorative features among other things. Claudia met us at the door and escorted us to our table. The service was very friendly and the time between courses was managed expertly. The cuisine at Essen has been inspired by Austrian ancestry. We were given some free chicken broths to begin which particularly delighted our 6 year old, who loves ’sopita’ while simultaneously priming our palates. The menu, similar to the previous restaurant “The Food Project’ isn’t huge but still manages to contain good variety and choice. For entrees we ordered pintxos; coolmunda olive, white anchovy and guindilla for myself and my wife Liliana choose the fior di latte, copper, nectarine. Both of these were superb, in fact so good that we immediately decided to reorder them but this time to swap our pintxos. The pintxos are below, coolmunda olive on the left.

“coolmunda olive
“fior di latte

For both of us the pintxos experience catapulted our palates into 300g Scotch Fillets served with swiss browns, salsa verde and nasturtium. The Scotch Fillets almost melted in our mouths and the accompanying salsa verde was an astute recipe design choice by Clarissa and Stu. The fillet servings were indeed generous! We both ordered a salad with heirloom tomatoes and freshly picked herbs from the garden behind the restaurant as sides for the main. Apologies but we were so hungry and the fillets looked so delicious we both ate them and completely forgot to take pics! Liliana was full after her main course but desserts are an ongoing curiosity for myself. I ordered peach melba, roast peach, lemon thyme ice-cream and berries. A lovely combination of flavours and my first experience with lemon thyme ice-cream and something I’m keen to replicate.

Essen has maintained the BYO policy of this restaurant location, which is a good decision as it supports the region by allowing diners to purchase a bottle from a Granite Belt winery. BYO restaurants are slowly disappearing everywhere and this isn’t good news for consumers as BYO offers the most choice. On this occasion we purchased a bottle of Ridgemill Estate 2016 ‘Blackdog’ Cabernet Sauvignon as a well matched accompaniment for our meals.


Location: 2 MacGregor Terrace, Stanthorpe.
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday – 5:30pm to late. Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Bookings are recommended.
Not sure where to go for dinner?    “call0746814254

Essen Web Site    “essen    “essen