So after hassling him for the better part of the day about what our dinner plans were to be, Monsieur Poisson finally revealed he had made a reservation at L’étoile. This was no mean feat as Manu Feildel’s bistro has become markedly more difficult to obtain a table reservation since we were last there, and especially for weekends, since his involvement with Masterchef. To say I was excited was an understatement and I could hardly contain myself as I dolled-up for the occasion.
We have booked for a relatively early start to dinner and arrive to an almost empty restaurant. We are seated at a cosy table at one of the front corners of the bistro, looking out onto the front of the converted terrace house and Glenmore Road. Having sat at the back courtyard the previous time, I am most happy with this arrangement as it allows for a great view of the cream and red notes of the interior. I hear French music from years gone by playing in the background until a middle-aged lady seated later than us requests its volume to be lowered. This is a superfluous move as within the next half hour the bistro fills with diners and their happy chatter drowns out the music anyway.
Although there is only the two of us dining this time around, we receive a complimentary basket of crusty baguette pieces that is equivalent in size to that when we dined as a group of five. The bread smells wonderfully fresh and the extra pieces come in quite handy for our entrée.
We order an entrée to share, which is a ‘Choucroute with bacon, seared scallop, vongole and beurre blanc’ and comes with a potato alongside. Choucroute being a French version of sauerkraut is quite mild in its tartness and is balanced well by the saltiness of bacon. The scallop has excellent colouring through being seared, whilst retaining a soft smoothness right in the centre. The vongole are medium-sized, meaty and its shells are great for scooping up small amounts of beurre blanc. We can’t get enough of this sauce and mop up the plate with some of the extra bread from before.
Monsieur Poisson orders the ‘Boeuf du Bucher’ which now comes with a Roquefort sauce. The butcher’s cut of beef on this occasion is Wagyu skirt steak with a mildly pungent blue cheese sauce and potato croquettes on the side. It is very rich and filling.
I choose the ‘Truite aux Amandes’ which is a pan-fried rainbow trout with almond butter.
Two skin-on fillets of rainbow trout have been fried crisp and given a generous scattering of toasted flaked almonds. The sauce is light in texture but does get greasy on the palate towards the end.
But nothing that a complimentary palate cleanser cannot fix! This time it’s a champagne and watermelon sorbet to ready us for dessert.
We can only fit in one dessert between the two of us and choose the ‘Apple Tarte Tatin’ based on our fond memories of the ‘Pear Tarte Tatin’. It is a different season with a different fruit but the tart is still as impressive with its lightly toffeed edges and tender, caramelised fruit. And let’s not forget that quenelle of crème fraîche sitting on top.
Throughout the evening we spot Monsieur Feildel in casual gear socialising with some of the diners. I secretly hope that he will introduce himself to our table but it appears he is only greeting people that he actually knows. *SIGH!* I live in hope that it may happen another time, as I know I will be back again.
Tel: (02) 9332 1577
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm-11pm (dinner only)
Fri-Sun 12pm-3pm (lunch)
LATEST UPDATE: L’étoile scored 15/20 in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2010, earning its first Chef’s Hat Award.