Walk past the Estelle on High Street in Northcote, and you’ll do a double take. The four-year-old restaurant, known for its creative and high-quality degustation menus, is looking much fresher.

An urge to change (and a growing dislike of the dining room’s pink and grey tiles) got owner and chef Scott Pickett thinking about the big picture.

Pickett considered extending, renovating and even relocating to a CBD location. But none of these options seemed right until the lot became available next door and it all fell into place.

“We decided to re-open Estelle as a bistro at the site of the original Estelle, and move the fine dining part next door,” says Pickett.

Estelle Bistro, which opened last week, will offer a more flexible menu than its predecessor (previously only set menus were available). Customers can now choose from a single course or opt for the three- or five-course tasting menu. The food will be simple and modern; dishes such as fresh tuna nicoise salad, lamb shoulder or a whole roast chicken, which can be shared.

“For the bistro, we pulled down the retro tiles and replaced them with an exposed-brick wall and recycled timber finishes. We wanted to create a dark and warm local haunt which diners can return to time and time again,” Pickett says.

Alternatively, there is a comprehensive selection of house-made snacks, oysters and charcuterie, perfect for those looking for a quick bite before running off to a movie or gig.

As for next door, building has begun to convert the former vintage and second-hand shop into the fine-dining restaurant we know and love. When Estelle by Scott Pickett, or ESP opens in April this year, it will serve only the eight-course chef selection menu Estelle is most famous for.

So whether you like to keep it casual or you’re in the mood for something more, you can rely on Estelle to be there for you.

Estelle Bistro
243 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9489 4609

Hours
Mon to Thu 6pm–late
Fri to Sun 12pm–3pm, 6pm–late

estellebistro.com

Estelle by Scott Pickett will open at 245 High Street, Northcote in July 2015.