Estelle Bistro, Nortcote

Estelle Bistro Northcote is one of those places that’s been on our list of “places to try” for a long time. Friends have been and raved about it, and we’ve never heard a bad thing about the place but for some reason we never got around to visiting until now. As you can imagine our expectations were very high, especially given our excellent experiences at owner Scott Pickett’s other restaurant, Saint Crispin.

What was Estelle up until late last year is now in fact 2 restaurants. The casual Estelle Bistro occupies the space that housed Estelle for the past 4 years with the fine dining moving next door to become Estelle by Scott Pickett.

The space is much more modern than it used to be, with the dated tiles and colour scheme making way for exposed-brick walls and recycled timber finishes. It’s dark and moody inside and opens up outside into a small, welcoming courtyard.

estelle bistro northcote review

estelle bistro northcote review

Compared to the fine dining, set menu of Estelle by Scott Pickett, Estelle Bistro is a causal affair with a range of simple modern dishes available either individually or as part of a set course. If you’re not in the mood for an entire meal, there is also an extensive range of snacks and charcuterie on offer. The food is simple, seasonal and accessible, with the occasional fancy flourish here and there.

While a decent range of craft beers, spirits and other drinks are available, the highlight at Estelle Bistro is undoubtedly the wine selection, which has an extensive but not overwhelming selection of wines from Australia and overseas.

estelle bistro northcote review

When we visited as part of a group of 10 on a Sunday, instead of choosing to dine from the menu we instead went for the Seasonal Sunday lunch. These lunches started last year and offered diners the chance to experience a seasonal inspired menu of 3 courses along with a glass of wine for $50. These were hugely successful and have thankfully continued at Estelle Bistro.

Bread & Butter

Writing about bread and butter might seem frivolous however a restaurant’s attitude towards the bread and butter that it serves at the start of a meal often speaks volumes about the food to come. In the case of Estelle Bistro, the bread was a combination of white and grain sourdough which was light and fluffy with a crunch crust. The attention to detail in the way the bread was presented was a great touch, as was the option of ? along with butter.

estelle bistro northcote review

estelle bistro northcote review

Ham Hock Terrine with Pickled Vegetables & Peach Puree

The pork hock terrine was exceptional. It was very dense and flavoursome and balanced nicely with the pickled vegetables and peach puree. The best way to eat this was to get a little bit of each component in each mouthful. A very complex dish in both flavour and texture.

estelle bistro northcote review

Crispy Pork Jowl

There was nothing fancy going on here. Just a wonderfully cooked piece of roast pork with fat so tender that it melted in the mouth. The crackle was extremely addictive, as crackle often is and the wholegrain mustard jus added a subtle kick to the already flavoursome roasted pork. The caramelised cauliflower puree was creamy without being heavy and added yet another dimension to the dish.

estelle bistro northcote review

Roast Vegetables

The pork came with gravy and a side of perfectly roasted vegetables. Proper Sunday roast stuff.

estelle bistro northcote review

Quinoa Salad

One of the diners in the group had a gluten intolerance and was served up a tasty quinoa salad with labne, herbs and spices. Sometimes the off-menu options provided to people with food intolerances are less than adequate but not in this case.

estelle bistro northcote review

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Dessert was vanilla panna cotta with poached pears, yoghurt sorbet & a crumb. Each component worked individually, as well as combined with the others. A dish that was both simple and complex at the same time.

estelle bistro northcote review

estelle bistro northcote review

estelle bistro northcote review

We might have missed out on the chance to dine at the old Estelle but we were mighty impressed with the meal we had at Estelle Bistro. The staff were excellent, balancing fun and engaging banter with professionalism and keen attention to detail. The food was outstanding with the Seasonal Sunday lunch representing excellent value. There were several things that we saw coming out onto the tables of others in the restaurant that we will be coming back for, and we also have another restaurant to add to the list of places to try, next door’s Estelle by Scott Pickett.

Estelle Bistro

243 High Street
Victoria 3070

Telephone: (03) 9489 4609
Email: [email protected]

Mon – Thu: 6:00pm to late
Fri – Sun: 12:00pm to 3:00pm; 6:00pm to late

Estelle Bistro on Urbanspoon

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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