Estella, Juhu : Australian dinner by the sea; under the sky!

When you get invited to review India´s first Australian restaurant, the first thing that comes to your mind are wide beaches, blue water, fresh produce, meats and wines. Estella from outside reflects none of these characteristics. In fact, even the signage is small and non-pretentious, making one wonder what lies beyond.

However, as soon as you enter, the expanse of the beautifully lit alley leading to the terrace that overlooks the sea takes you by surprise. Soft lights hang over the terrace area and the music is low but audible, the sound of the waves lashing the shore and the starry skies beyond add to this surrealistic charm that makes up this place. There is also a covered area which houses the bar and doubles up as a dancing lounge. During the wet monsoon days, this would certainly be a blessing.

Our visit to the restaurant was on a dry day, thus the wines were out of equation. So after settling down with a Chilly Guava mocktail and a lemongrass based one; we moved to our starters. The first starter to be served to us was this very gorgeous looking platter of Grilled Tasmanian scallops; the giant scallops were served in a shell with some cauliflower mash and honey cream. The other starter was a Double baked cheese soufflé with braised leek confit and cranberry pickle. Both the starters were beautiful to look at, but I thought that the scallops were a tad bit undercooked and the goat cheese soufflé a bit clotted. The flavours were subtle and easy going and I loved the play of the cranberry pickle on the goat cheese and the carrot foam on the scallops.

The starters were good but failed to leave a mark, so it was up to the mains to leave an impression; and impression they made, majestically so! The portion size was the first thing we noticed, massive! The visual quality of the meat on our plates was next – impressive! We wasted no time to dig in and found both our Hazelnut Parmesan Chicken Escallop as well as the Grass-fed Lamb Wellington to be as impressive in flavours as they were visually. The chicken was beautifully cooked and juicy, the lamb steak perfectly pink in the centre, and the peppercorn jus that accompanied was packed with flavours. The hazelnut and parmesan crusting on the chicken complemented the dish quite well. The only weak element in my dish was the cauliflower gratin which was grossly under seasoned and the bruschetta served with the chicken dish didn’t add to the dish and felt like an unnecessary addition. Nevertheless, both the dishes stood out magnificently.

For desserts, we were served a Frangipani tart which I enjoyed quite a bit but the Blueberry and Lavender Viennese Shortbread, though visually stunning, was so hard that it took some effort to break into it.

The restaurant has a fantastic view and I am sure the sundowners here would be amazing. The food looks visually stunning and has its heart at the right place; A few misses here and there do not write it off. The soft lighting, the music, the fresh breeze from the sea, all of it contribute towards making the visit to this restaurant a very memorable experience.

Rating (Out of 5)

Food: 3 | Service: 2.5 | Ambience: 4.0 | Overall: 3.5

Meal for Two: Rs4000 | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 7pm to 1 am |

Address: Ground Floor, Nichani Kutir Building, Opposite HDFC Bank, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai| Phone: 079999 98232

Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.

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