Holding the honourable title of self-proclaimed foodie amongst my peers, people often come to me hungry for advice about where to dine out. I get a lot of requests for special occasion recommendations, and love the process of figuring out what style a person likes, and helping them find that one place I can’t believe they haven’t tried yet.
But when you’re such a fabulous foodie friend, it becomes unexpectedly hard to decide on where to dine for your own special occasion. When feasting at Melbourne’s best and brightest (fancy and fattest) on a regular basis, choosing that one spectacular exception can end up being quite difficult.
After much painstaking debate, a restaurant was decided upon. One that I’d been to once before, and was well worthy of a return visit. It’s safe to say, that I’ll return again, and again, to Estelle Bistro—Previously Estelle Bar and Kitchen—on High Street in Northcote. And again.
Estelle has recently had a bit of an update, offering a bistro style menu to select from, or a degustation of 3 or 5 courses. The experience at Estelle is memorable the second you walk in the door. The staff are professional and helpful, maintaining a knowledgable front, whilst keeping things real and low key.
So while you’re getting comfy in the high-ceilinged, yet still cosy environment, it’s time to peruse the mouthwatering menu. The set menu—which changes regularly and is kept a mysterious secret until sitting in front of you—is a perfect option for those who want to try a range of flavours, but you can’t do it without wine pairing. Well, you can, but the expertise and quality of the wine matching is more than worth it.
The flavours served up in the set menu reflect the bistro offering. Think air dried wagyu, served with quail egg, pear and a decadently rich and creamy celeriac velouté. The quail eggs also feature in another dish, crumbled Nduja (spicy sausage) on a crispy bread base, with a sweet onion jam—this one has some heat but still evokes a lovely salty richness.
Similarly impressive on the charcuterie menu, is the tangy and tender venison terrine with quince chutney, and the jaw dropping, eye rolling, lip smacking foie gras parfait with Sauternes jelly, that’ll have even the most polite diner acting a tad (or a lot) greedy.
The Diamond Valley pork with carrots and a rich raisin sauce reminiscent of a sticky PX, is suitably melt-in-your-mouth, but doesn’t let down with the crackling either, ensuring a satisfying salty crunch.
The dessert options are all unique, but the Pot De Crème with doughnuts and apricot is a standout for those with a sweet tooth. Imagine a panacotta mixed with custard and incredibly light and fluffy whipped cream. Add some candied apricots, a bit of spice, and a beautifully brittle Créme Brûlée top, and you’re set for a pot full of heaven.
These are just some of the flavours on offer at Estelle, but it’s pretty safe to say that consistency is one of their strong points. Don’t be afraid to order the set menu, or to try something you wouldn’t usually, because at Estelle, you can have complete confidence that everything you try will be top quality, delicious, and unique. So make the most of it, I totally endorse over ordering, food babies be damned.
Rated out of 10
243 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9489 4609
Monday to Sunday, Dinner
Friday to Sunday, Lunch
All images copyright © Megan Osborne, please do not use without permission.