Finally… spring! Chilling memories of the icy Melbourne Winter are becoming distant as the warmer weather heats up and our bodies and palates acclimatise.
Gone is the yearn for stodgy fare that sits in our bellies to give comfort from the cold. Instead light, fresh, dainty food is desired. Just in time – “ESP” (Estelle by Scott Pickett) has opened.
Potentially miss-able from outside, stepping foot into the striking sophisticated dining room is anything but. You notice an artistic roof feature, stone grey walls, black leather chairs, and an open kitchen. Place settings are sleek and sexy with a single black envelope, explaining your delectable 7 course ($130) degustation.
Enthusiastic chefs whisk away their whimsical creations. Bite sized soufflé pillows of crunchy potato are topped with black cod roe. Unusually shaped delicate rice crackers have textural crunch and earthy, citrusy aromas from dollops of mandarin gel and cured kangaroo. Sprouting spring vegetables with little pods blooming, such as peas, leek and carrots and leafy foliage are meshed with a smoked creamy goats cheese. Each mouthful is dainty, delicate and divinely delightful.
Miniature tender fillet of perfectly charred king salmon with a shining glaze surrenders onto your fork with even the tiniest prick. A wrapping of thinly curled ribbons of asparagus and undertones of seaweed make this ‘present ‘able dish outstanding. Flinders island lamb could speak for itself. Instead, it’s spoken in three different ways, each magnificently placed in the centre of pouting greens with wild garlic- a subtle flavour that magically works without over powering. Then comes a refreshing palate cleanser of horseradish and tarty ruby red grapefruit to awaken the senses in time creative desserts. Pretty paleo purple rosella and sorrel with shavings of white macadamia is not only a visual pleasing but light and creamy without any cream.
Top it off with top notch service, terrific wines and a tremendous appreciation for seasonal produce and there you have it.
Fun, fanciful and fantastically spring. If this is just the start of the season, we can’t wait to see what’s next.
245 High Street, Northcote