As far as experience goes, it's hard to top Ryan Flaherty, head chef at, and owner of, Mr Jennings. After stints at The Fat Duck (UK) and El Bulli (Spain), he returned home to build up Northcote institution The Estelle. But forget about all that. This 35-seat gem – named after his favourite childhood author, Paul Jennings – is his finest achievement.
The menu is a succession of gentle surprises, but without the pretension that so often appears at this level of dining. A melt-in-the-mouth kangaroo carpaccio and a boudin blanc dagwood dog make it clear Flaherty has picked up a few tricks on his travels. That's the fancy stuff. For the less adventurous, there's also simple food done really well; steak and chips, or fish and greens.
The wine list was curated by Lincoln Riley (of Stokehouse), and much of it available in 100 millilitre tasting pours.