"Why are we sitting in the naughty corner?" I ask Joan Holloway taking a seat at a banquette table in the corner of the L'étoile restaurant and putting my bag down.
"Manu is hosting a children's birthday in the back" she answers smiling.
"Are you making that up?" I ask laughing.
"No I'm not! Besides..." she says leaning in and whispering "Who has a children's party at L'etoile?" Joan Holloway asks.
Mirroring her I lean forward and whisper "And where do you go for the next birthday?!"
We're busy chatting and the waiter who seems quite new or nervous seems to want to come over a few times to check whether we are ready to order. We dither between choosing foods suitable for a semi diet or full blown gluttony and end up choosing something in between.
Bread and butter
The bread and butter are superb although I'd expect no less ;). The baguette is crunchy on the outside and the butter lovely and creamy. Interestingly no bread plates or knives are given. an absence of bread plates are an expectation at a French bistro or brasserie but not usually at restaurants so we chalk it up to forgetfulness or new waiter nerves.
Boudin de Saint Jacques, Bisque de Crustaches $22
The scallop sausage is said to be one of their most popular dishes and cutting into it we can see why. It's rich, absolutely so and we puncture through the thin skin and find the texture of the soft scallop is soft and buttery, almost like a scallop sashimi. It is paired with sauteed spinach and sits in a shallow pool of crustacean bisque which is well balanced (I find some bisques just too strong). We agree that it is best mopped up with the bread.
Salade de Chevre Chaud $22
The lovely salad has a goat's cheese crouton on a buttery slice of bread with sprigs of witlof and walnut pieces. It's light and the goat's cheese, which tastes like a La Luna Holy Goat Goat's cheese is divine giving the salad requisite richness.
Bavette d'Aloyau sauce au poivre et cognac $37
I'm not sure what the butcher's cut was and as our waiter was quite new to the job and not the person in the know we never found out. The steak is cut into slices and is cooked medium rare as ordered. It comes with a lovely peppery and cognac sauce, a small salad and some skinny, crunchy French fries. A couple of the pieces are a little chewy but nothing gruesome at all.
Fillet de truite de mer, fleur de courgette Farcie au crabe en beignet $37
The trout is sublime. Perfectly cooked so that it still has the silky texture to it the skin is crisp on top. It's paired with a lightly crunchy crab mousse filled zucchini flower and a soubise sauce (a white sauce flavoured with onions). It is however not a large serve and although fine for us perhaps someone with a heartier appetite would be left hungry.
Bavarois au yaourt et vanille peche pochee ets sorbet a la framboise $15
The bavarois is a half disc of vanilla speckled yogurt bavarois (similar to a panna cotta). it is slightly grainy and slightly tart from the yogurt. The raspberry sorbet is divine and the vanilla poached peach is poached until very soft.
As we can't stay all day for lunch we get up to leave where we spy Manu hosting the birthday party with a very happy child. And an even happier child, Joan Holloway manages to get a photo with him!
So tell me Dear Reader, where was your most memorable birthday party held?
211 Glenmore Road, Paddington, Sydney NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9332 1577
Open Mon-Tue,Sun 6pm-11pm; Wed-Sat 12pm-11pm