I don’t know why it has taken me so long to write about it.
It wasn’t because we didn’t have a good time – we had fun.
It wasn’t that the food was bad – it was good.
It wasn’t that the service was lacking – the wait staff were friendly and perfectly lovely.
So why has it taken me so long? No idea bear!
But you know what they say about good things taking time.
The Estelle, located on High Street in Northcote, is co-owned by Chefs Ryan Flaherty and Scott Pickett (formerly from The Point).
I guess the food is the category that’s often referred to as “Modern Australian” though, as you’ll see, it’s a bit more than that. If pressed, I would find it very hard to describe the kind of food that the Estelle does. There are several degustation options, starting from 3 courses (lunch only) for $50, 5 courses for $70, 7 courses for $90, and 9 courses for $110.
We decided on the 5 course option.
Because we were a largeish group, we were seated in the private dining room upstairs, which gave us an opportunity to wander through the kitchen and check it out on the way up. The dining room was nice and quiet (particularly for the other customers!) though it was a bit cold up there in the middle of winter.
Lunch kicked off with a little snack. In the martini glass we had onion mousse, topped with veal tendon crackling – so creamy and it just melted in the mouth.
Alongside were warm chickpea fries with a light crust.
And small squares of lightly pickled rockmelon with a dab of yoghurt in an edible wrap. It made me think of candy – sweet with a firmish texture.
Our first course was a gorgeous heirloom beetroot salad, served with goats cheese rolled in edible ash, with radish and basil gel. It was a very earthy salad with minimal sweetness and pungency from the cheese.
Next we had crab mornay made with blue swimmer crab meat, a light bechamel, brioche crumbs and topped with parmesan. Sliced onions and tabasco gave it a bit of spiciness, but the dish – though nice – was a bit heavy by itself. I found the crab a bit lost in it.
Our third course was fish: rock flathead fillet with cauliflower puree, pine mushrooms, baby capers, caramelised onions, grapes and Jerusalem artichoke chips. The fish was cooked beautifully, and I liked the different textures in the dish – particularly the crunchy Jerusalem artichoke chips.
The last savoury course was meat: wagyu rump with black mushroom puree, celeraic remoulade, salsify chip, and brown sauce, which I thought may have been a reduced balsamic.
The meat was very rich and… well… meaty. It wasn’t as tender as I was expecting, but it had a great depth of flavour.
The fifth course was dessert and while it didn’t look like much, I absolutely loved it. It was probably my favourite course, which is unusual for me.
Dessert was an olive oil and vanilla infused sponge with salted caramel, pepitas, and frozen sour cream.
The sponge was really light, and I liked the combination of the airy sponge, the crunchy pepitas, the cold sour cream, and thick caramel all together. Such an unusual dessert – I loved it.
And finally, we had a little bonus to finish.
The bottom of the glass contained creme caramel, and poured on top was warm maple bourbon.
MHMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. So warm and creamy and boozy. It was a nice sweet finish to our meal.
Even though it took me a long time to put this post up, it’s not going to take me long to head back because Alastair and I have a booking in December. We will be taking Alastair’s dad to his first ever degustation, and judging by our lunch I’m sure it will be enjoyable times for all.
For more on our lunch at the Estelle, check out I’m so hungree.
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Estelle Bar & Kitchen
243 High Street
Phone: 03 9489 4609