Estelle by Scott Pickett, Melbourne

Author: Wendy Hargreaves

Scott Pickett's Estelle Bar and Kitchen is on the move, but not to the CBD as originally planned.

Pickett (who also co-owns Collingwood's Saint Crispin) envisioned leaving Northcote for a bigger city venue, but a combination of strong local support and the availability of a space next door to the original Estelle has meant a change of plans.

The new extension will open late March as Estelle by Scott Pickett, or ESP, a 50-seat restaurant designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates. The format will be an eight-course tasting menu, and the open kitchen will feature a sunken work area, putting the chefs at eye level with the 20 customers seated around the kitchen on Philippe Starck chairs.

The current Estelle closes for a "cosmetic update" on 4 January, opening 2 February as Estelle Bistro with black lacquered surfaces, dark timber and a copper-edged bar. It'll offer the choice of a five-course menu or à la carte dining, with an extensive list of wines by the glass.

"Estelle Bistro will be very much about our locals … an eatery they can patronise a few times a week," Pickett says. "ESP is our opportunity and channel to show regulars, along with destination diners, what we can do."

Josh Pelham, whose CV includes time at The Square, The French Laundry, The Press Club) will head the ESP kitchen while current sous Aaron Brodie (ex-Cumulus Inc, Pied à Terre) will take charge in the bistro.

Pickett will be previewing the new venues at a two-week pop-up at the Australian Open in January, highlighting the bistro in the first week, and ESP in the second. He's also releasing his first cookbook on 19 November, Scott Pickett: A Cook's Story.

Estelle Bistro, Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP), 243-245 High St, Northcote, Vic, (03) 9489 4609

Looking for more Melbourne dining options? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Melbourne.

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