Sunday, August 28, 2011
The Estelle (Northcote) 28/08/2011
A few days ago we enjoyed a great truffle night here at the birth of the Melbourne Fringe Food Festival. The meal was tempting enough for us to book in for a Sunday lunch. They have three menu's; three courses ($45) five courses ($60) or seven courses ($80). Naturally, not having eaten for over an hour, we gravitated to the full deal. Wine matching is also offered. This is a menu based on what is available, not only from the purveyors of fine food but also from scavenging for edible plants. Of course they take account of patrons particular food aversions, sensitivities or allergies. There is no menu which frees the chef to do anything he wishes. Ryan Flaherty was in the kitchen.
A preliminary little container of sweet bread nuggets with chick pea chips and a dipping sauce
was presented before the main menu began with a charcuterie plate. Two of them really. We had thoroughly enjoyed charcuterie at PM24. This was even better with a wider range of items to taste.
A mild Chorizo, pork jerky, duck rillette, Spanish ham and a small radish, with onion jam and a beetroot jam on one platter,
Bresiola,a terrine, an extraordinary duck pate, air dryed Wagyu, shaved leg ham, a quail egg with firm white and runny yolk, a tiny tomato and a little shredded celeriac with a remoulade dressing on the second platter
all served with a very lightly toasted brioche.
This was followed by a vegetarian dish surrounding a ball of soft white goats cheese rolled in ash.
Foraged wood sorrel, a garlic flower and tiny carrots decorated the colourful baby beets and pickled beetroot making up the dish Next we had a dish of three elements which went together to unify the course. A lemon foam sat on blue eye which had been poached in milk and thyme, which sat on a bed of fennel which had been cooked in cream with sugar and salt.
Each elements, eaten separately, had a strong character and taste. Together they combined to make an interesting dish. This was followed by a second fish course, mackerel,
served with yogurt, celery and spices. Uncommon in restaurants, previously I have only had it smoked, it,s texture was quite firm and it did not seem as fatty as this fish usually is it fitted well on this menu. The last main course was pork medallions topped with an oh so moorish beurre blanc accompanied by tiny Brussels sprouts, parsnip puree, fennel, oyster mushroom and mizumi. Fabulous. The meal was completed with two desserts and coffee.A musk ice cream on a rhubarb base with an orange blossom flavoured frozen yogurt was my sort of dessert.
Distinct flavours, not to sweet and very refreshing. A salt sweet caramel ice cream with frozen cream provided a totally different taste experience.
This was an outstanding meal. It rated highly on every element that I look for in a meal. It was attractive varied in every aspect of taste, texture and temperature, serves were sufficiently large, service was friendly, helpful and quite efficient, although it was a leisurely meal. Towards the end of the meal the chef joined us for a chat. He is a most charming fellow and I feel sure he will have a great future. Clearly he and Scott Pickett make a great time.