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By Amy Collins
February 05, 2013

Estelle Bistro

A modern gastronomical experience in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
By Amy Collins
February 05, 2013

This venue was reviewed in its prior incarnation, Estelle Bar and Kitchen.

Estelle Bar and Kitchen is found in the heart of Northcote, where food trucks and specialty coffee — among other trends — are rife. Estelle pops up offering locals (and those who travel just to visit them) something a little bit special. It's a modern gastronomical experience in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. You can secure yourself a table or perch at the bar for an even more chilled vibe.

While you can order a la carte, the real drawcard here is the chef's menu. Five ($70), seven ($90), or nine ($110) courses are available. Wine matchings are served up as either a classic match or an adventurous match, or you can of course choose your own. Classic matches see your more expected wine parings, while the adventurous path might include sake or beer thrown in there.

The menu is written simply, just disclosing ingredients. The vegetable course described as eggplant, soy, and sesame is a Japanese-inspired dish packed with flavour from a Japanese-type dukkah covering the eggplant like sand. The fish part of the meal might be crab mornay, while the meat section sees flavour pairings like sher wagyu, burnt onion, and horseradish.

The sweets here are, quite frankly, out of this world. The sour cream, pumpkin, and salted caramel is worth its weight in gold. Olive oil sponge is topped with sour cream ice cream, pumpkin seeds, and salted caramel sauce. Three words: get on it.

The wine list is kept quite small, with a handful of sparkings, reds, and whites. Start with a 2004 Yarrabank Late Disgorged blend, from the Yarra Valley ($95 a bottle), or perhaps a glass of the NV Adaml Garbel Prosecco from Veneto, Italy ($12 a glass). As you continue through the menu, you might want to switch to red, with a 2011 Laurent Cambier Craes Hermitage syrah from Rhone, France ($29 a glass).

Pretentiousness is nowhere to be seen here. It is, simply, delicate and inspired food with a humble backdrop.

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