The Estelle is an unassuming neighbourhood restaurant that shines like the meaning of its name, star. And I am pleased to say it lives up to both its urbandictionary and traditional name explanations!
We arrived 5 minutes early for our 8:30pm table but it wasn't ready for us and there wasn't enough room for us to wait so we went to the quirky bar down the road for a quick aperitif before returning where we greeted with recognition and warmth.
The place is intimate and has a romantic retro feel of a diner with an art deco 20s flair to it. Loved the vibe and buzz and although we were seated close to our neighbours I didn't mind it whereas the night before at Pei Modern, it annoyed me. I put it down that the feel at Estelle is convivial and buzzy but at Pei Modern I wanted to be less community minded and wanted privacy.
We opted for the 7 course dinner and chose a bottle of wine from a great wine list that is pocket friendly with a view that we would return for the full 9 course and matching drinks.
Veal tendon crackling with an onion dip served in the martini glass.
Melon with edible film round it
Jerusalem artichoke and I can't remember!
I do recall that the melon was interesting as the film wrapped itself around the morsel when it was in the mouth like cling film (Glad wrap if you're Aussie) adding a different texture.
The onion dip was a bit too sweet for me but the crackling was interesting.
Beetroot & ashed goats cheese was our entree and it was lovely to look at and delicious to eat. A mild goats cheese with some nuts and sweet beetroot and a hint of a citrus gel. Delicious.
The caviar and the seaweed just reminded us of the sea and really upped the ante on the sweetness of the scallop. Truly a winner!
However the creamy cheesy curry and the toasty breadcrumbs stole the carrots thunder and the sweetness of the crab was delicious. Steve said this dish was a grower in that he wasn't overly enthralled at the first mouthful but by the end was won over. It was very rich though and our portion size was just the right amount.
I didn't think it would be my favourite dish but it could well have been. That or the scallop...not sure...have to try them both again!
Lamb, girolles, wild garlic came next. The breast of lamb was heady in lamb flavour whereas the lamb fillet was incredibly soft, succulent but not as strong in lamb flavour. Loved the wild garlic. Great play on textures here.
Albert’s chocolate garden came next and is inspired of Albert Adria of El Bulli fame. Heady cocoa, coffee cream (shame as we had asked no coffee) it was probably a chocolate fan's paradise but not right for Steve and I. I'd have preferred to have had this before the previous dessert and end on a light note or had another savoury dish as this one didn't do it for me as much as the other courses. I can see that it would be very popular with others though and appreciate it for that but just not for me or Barley Boy given his aversion to coffee and I'm not a huge chocolate dessert fan.
Overall we loved the Estelle and like urbandictionary says it's a keeper. I loved the ambience, the service and the food. Cheers to Estelle! You are indeed a star.