I really enjoy the laid back but still buzzy ambience at The Estelle and the passionate and personal service from the team there.
Our snacks arrived and we had crispy chicken skin which was salty and moreish with a sprinkle of paprika. There was a sliver of raw bonito fish on a sesame cracker thing a a blob of guacamole - smoky and wheaty I'd say from the cracker which was reminiscent of a Scottish oatcake or a stale Digestive biscuit. Finally we had the compressed melon with the edible wrapper which we had last time which provided some much needed juiciness and sweetness after the salty chicken skin and the oatcake.
The first proper curse was a delicious blend of charred corn, sweet onion soubise and some salty goat's cheese. Comforting, creamy with a tang from the cheese it tasted familiar and homely yet fresh and light at the same time.
Then came what I called cup soup and a sandwich. Effectively steak tartare with a quail's egg on a crostini so like bruschetta and a glass of Jerusalem artichoke veloute (posh word for soup). The soup was just so so savoury and delicious and comforting yet nothing like what could be created at home. The stock base used to make this must be pretty special as the flavours ran so deep and it was thick and creamy and just so yummy. Then the bruschetta was just as delicious with a tang and briny saltiness from the capers, creamy richness from the egg yolk and a crispy chewiness from the bread.
My favourite was the salmon and Steve's favourite was the soup and sandwich. We were also enjoying our matched wines. Traditional Chardy with the salmon from Gippsland if I remember correctly and I can't remember what we had with the soup. It was white though! And I was happily still managing to eat and drink all that was put in front of me.
Then came a fillet of John Dory with an onion consomme, pickled pine mushrooms and an onion cream. Back to the heady delights of brilliance. The fish was perfectly cooked, the piquant mushrooms cut through the sweet broth.
Anyway we had delicious partridge paired with a Shiraz with some brussel sprout leaves, baby corn in its husk and grated Macadamia nut. Yum. Kind of like quail but bigger and slightly gamier we enjoyed picking this up with hands and getting stuck in.
Our final meat course was lamb with lamb bacon, turnips I think and some other greens. I was stuffed but this point so this dish was too rich for me. My lamb had quite a bit of fat to it so I was kind of pleased I could leave that untouched but had I not been full I'd probably be quite depressed that my meat was reduced to the size of a mouthful. I liked the lamb bacon and it added saltiness but Steve found it too much.
By now I was in a coma...really needed a sharp citrussy zippy dessert to snap me out of it like the refesher at the Press Club...
Our waiter was concerned I hadn't really enjoyed it as much but then I reckon given how full I was, I'd have struggled with most things. He took care to choose the final dessert for us - something as light as possible and we had the chocolate mousse with passionfruit sorbet. Loved the passionfruit icy bits and I ate all those but I was too full for chocolate. Steve ate his though!
Definitely still a fan of the Estelle. It's clever, quirky and I love the element of surprise. I also love the lack of pretension. The way the wait staff look after their customers is great. They accept that not everyone will like everything and don't make you feel bad for not enjoying everything out of the kitchen. I love that kind of respect. Respect back to you Estelle!