GT reader dinner: ESP, Melbourne

Author: Emma Hutton
Photography: Julian Kingma

With local roots and a global perspective, ESP is advancing Australian fare. Join us for a special evening.

A touch of Japan and a toolbox of French techniques may inform the work in the kitchen at Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP for short), but Pickett would hesitate to call the food at the Melbourne hotspot anything but Australian.

Having grown up on a farm near McLaren Vale, Pickett says his feet are planted firmly on the ground, even as the cuisine at his newly refitted Northcote eatery reaches for the stars. "We grew our own vegetables and fruit trees, and we had cows and chickens," he says. "From an early age I had an appreciation for where food came from."

What was once The Estelle is now two restaurants, the more casual Estelle Bistro, and the tasting menu-focused ESP, and Pickett also keeps a hand on the tiller at Collingwood's Saint Crispin.

For this month's Fine Dining Lovers reader dinner, ESP's menu celebrates the end of spring. Kicking off with Jerusalem artichoke chips, smoked kangaroo on black rice crackers, and taramasalata-stuffed soufflés, Pickett says, "You'll be eating with your fingers to work up an appetite." Cured kingfish with squid-ink jelly and lemon curd also features, and Daintree chocolate mousse with buttermilk sorbet, violet-infused caramel and frozen mint-chocolate pebbles is the grand finale.

Join us for dinner at 7pm on Monday 30 November at ESP, 245 High St, Northcote, Vic. The cost of $160 per person includes five courses, Sanpellegrino waters, wines by the glass and a $10 donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. To book, call (03) 9489 4609. For more on the OCRF, call 1300 OVARIAN or visit

* Jerusalem artichoke and saltbush
* Potato soufflé and taramasalata
* Smoked kangaroo and egg yolk
2011 Domaine Pichot Vouvray Brut, Loire Valley

* New-season asparagus, green tomato and elderflower
2014 Bannockburn Sauvignon Blanc, Geelong, Vic

* Kingfish, ink and lemon curd
2011 Hautes-Cances Cairanne Grenache Blanc Blend, Southern Rhône

* Flinders Island lamb, wild garlic and broad beans
2009 Mount Mary Vineyard "Réflexion" Cabernet Blend, Yarra Valley, Vic

* Violet, milk and Daintree chocolate
NV Gutiérrez Colosia Pedro Ximénez, El Puerto de Santa María


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