Oh my Manu!
Sean brought me to L'etoile for my birthday. So excited!! We spent the whole day trying to figure out what we were going to order, and upon arrival, we had no clue. We wanted to try everything!
Before the Entrées arrived, there was a bread basket. Now I'm not much of a fan of bread (but I do like a good sourdough on occasion) but this baguette was good.
...and that was it really. It was just really good, chewy, crusty bread, and I thought it was worth a mention.
So yes, on with the Entrées.
I had the terrine of rabbit rillettes and fois gras, with prune jam and toasted brioche. The terrine was incredibly creamy and light, and went well with the soft brioche. The prune jam was a dark seduction that added some bittersweet notes through each bite. At the risk of sounding incredibly plebeian though, the texture was incredibly reminiscent of tuna spread. I had no idea why, but I was reminded of it. Still good though, but not as good as the quail.
Sean had the pithiviers of quail on a bed of savoy cabbage and speck, drizzled with madiera and roasted chestnut jus. This was the god of everything you can call pies. The crust was a flaky dream, and the filling...oh the filling! Juicy pieces of quail, mingling with the sweet/salty jus...and cabbage had never tasted so good. This one is a must-try.
For his main, Sean had the butcher's steak with a black peppercorn and cognac sauce, and a gratin dauphinois. The steak and a good amount of marbling and fat, and the creamy pepper sauce was divine. The gratin was well, a gratin. No biggie. But the steak...mmm. I love a good, fat piece of meat, and this was exactly that. Not for the dieter. ;)
I had the bouillabaisse, and it was served with croutons and rouille.
The bouillabaisse was hearty, with chunks of white, flaky fish and fragrant crayfish. Now I love me some crustacean, and you can really taste the base in this bouillabaisse. The scent made my insides tingle, in a good way! The only way crustaceans can get any better (IMO) is if they could also get up and sing and dance the way Sebastian from the Little Mermaid can. =)
The rouille seemed like a garlic and capsicum flavoured emulsion, and went really well with the aftertaste of the stew lingering in my mouth. Not crazy about the croutons though - I would've been much happier with more baguette.
Just after the main, we were served a watermelon granita with champagne as a little before dessert sweetener. It was alright, although I think someone ODed on the sugar syrup.
And finally, for dessert we had a rum raisin baba with a scoop of prune and armagnac ice cream. I really liked the prune and armagnac ice cream, and the whole thing just reminded me of a christmas pudding. The baba was alright, but the ice cream was the memorable bit of the dish. It was neither overpowering nor cloyingly sweet, and was light and delicate. The sugared blueberries on the side didn't make much sense to me though, it didn't seem to contribute very much to the dish.
Overall it was a nice experience, with the soft candlelight creating a cozy atmosphere. The staff were cordial and pleasant, and didn't make us feel out of place at all. The food was good, but nothing I walked away really craving. Although I could do with more of that quail...
We ate at:
Manu at L'etoile
211 Glenmore Road, Paddington
+61 2 93321577