Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review | Estelle Bar & Kitchen

For my birthday, the lovely E decided to treat me to dinner at Estelle Bar & Kitchen, which had been recommended to him as a fantastic restaurant by some work friends. We never really head out to the Northcote area, since we are both suburban babies, but we were not disappointed - the staff at Estelle really know how to serve up a lovely, delicate meal.

We opted for the 5 course tasting menu.

To begin, we were served with a few little 'amuse bouches'. The first was a cube of melon served in edible wrapping, which had really lovely flavours. I wasn't too sure about the wrapping, but it definitely made the little cube look very pretty and very intriguing. Next up there were Jerusalem artichokes adorned with Persian fetta, which simply melted in my mouth.  Lastly for this plate was the fake chicken skin with yoghurt. This was good too - but I really wanted to know what the fake chicken skin was made out of! Does anybody know?

We were then presented with two bowls of what looked like white mousse, but after a small introduction, it turns out that it was a cured salmon gazpacho. This was great. It had a fresh and refreshing taste, which was perfect as it was a hot evening. Sorry for not having a photo of the gazpacho underneath the foam - I was distracted by the great taste!

The first course was a gorgeous arrangement of beetroot, orange and ashed goats cheese. We were told that the goats cheese was covered in a fake ash - but again, I didn't find out what it was really made from. This dish was decorated with a basil gel, watercress and the thinnest slices of radish I have ever encountered. I really enjoyed this dish, it was very light and so colourful.

Next up was one of my favourites of the night - the Estelle Tartare. Framed by the wafer thin shard of potato chip, the silky steak tartare was served with fresh herbs, tomatoes, and a quail egg! There was also a few dots of a apricot coloured sweet gel on the plate, which made for a great mix of flavours. The waiter poured the wonderously green sauce over our plates, and carefully explained that it was made from the stem of the garlic, which is where the intense flavour and great colour come from. I could not get enough of this sauce and I scooped up every last bit of this dish with the chip. This dish was a real highlight for me.

We were then promptly served the Blue Swimmer Crab Mornay which was topped with a lovely melty and crispy combination of brioche crumbs and parmesan. The flavours of this dish were very refined, and I only wished that there was more for me to gobble up. There was a hint of curry flavour in this dish, and judging by the colour of it, I'd take a guess that there was some tumeric involved!

Our last savoury dish for the night was Pork Belly. Served with a heirloom carrot and some lovely this slices of cauliflower, this dish was perfect. The crackling on the pork was cooked to perfection, and below that the juicy fat had kept the meat so tender. Unfortunately I have forgotten what the sauce was on this dish, but I do remember it being a great accompaniment to both the pork, and the vegetables as well.

For dessert, we were served with an impressive looking dish - Sour cream icecream, pumkin seeds, salted caramel, on a bed of vanilla sponge. This was nothing less than a taste sensation. The sour cream icecream was ridiculously refreshing and delicious. Teamed up with the combination of the lightly sweet sponge, and the salted caramel, this dessert was a definite hit. And such a surprising combination.

After that E and I were wondering what our last course would be. Secretly, I was wishing for something chocolatey - and somehow, I think Estelle got my memo! The dish was named Albert's Chocolate Garden. This was made up of a chocolate soil, and chocolate twigs, and underneath those was a sharp coffee gel and macerated cherries. This dish was intense. The chocolate flavour from the soil and twigs was so earthy, and had an unbelievable smokey taste to it. The combination of textures was also very exciting. Both of these dessert dishes were so unique and unconventional, and so enjoyable.

E and I were then discussing whether they would bring the bill to us, and we were surprised with a last little surprise. Berry compote covered with a pink musk foam. These little sweeties were great! The musk tasted wonderful, and was a fun throw back to the must sticks we grew up with.

Throughout our time at Estelle we were impressed at the lovely service from all the staff who looked after us. For something fun, delicious and a little out of the ordinary - I definitely recommend Estelle Bar & Kitchen.

Estelle Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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