162 Elgin Street, Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 9838
Cuisine: Italian / Seafood
BYO: Yes, $10 a bottle
Prices: Entrées $19-$26, mains $35-$42, desserts $16-$21
Parking: Street parking, nearby paid car parks
It had been quite a while since hubby and I had caught up with Mr M & Mrs S so we arranged dinner one night at Esposito as it was sort of a middle meeting point. Esposito is located on the corner of Elgin & Rathdowne Street. Parking was a real bugger, with most spots within walking distance of the restaurant either taken or a permit zone! I did numerous circles in the car before finally finding one. There are a few paid car parks if you struggle to find street parking like me.
Mrs S recently found out I have a food blog but we have not dined with her & Mr M since I started blogging. I find the first time I dine with someone post-starting my food blog a bit awkward! You have to explain that you will be taking a photo of all the food and they are not allowed to start eating until I have taken my photos. Some people might mind, others don’t, but it is hard to tell the first time! I guess you can judge people’s reaction to your avid photography by whether or not you get invited out for dinner again! 🙂 I think Mr M & Mrs S didn’t mind (well, at least I hope not!).
The menu is quite limited with 7 entrées and 6 mains. There is a special loaves & fishes menu where on Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner, for $35 you get 2 courses and a glass of wine with tea or coffee. It is an excellent deal but I suspect the servings might be smaller and you do not get as much choice. There was no differentiation between entrées and mains in the loaves and fishes menu. The four of us decided to stick with the ala carte menu.
We all got an amuse bouche of a small bowl of mixed herbs to start off with.
We ordered two entrées to share between the four of us, the first being the Canadian scallops. It was 3 beautifully seared scallops on top of what tasted like a mash potato and one small duck tortellone. We split the tortellone into 4 so we could all try it, but the quartered piece ended up being so small, meaning none of us really got to taste it properly anyway!
The second entrée was the mud crab, avocado and apple salad. The waitress had spinach essence in a small test tube, which she poured onto the salad once it was at our table. The apple was grated so thinly, it didn’t taste like apple but gave the salad a delightful crunch. It was difficult to taste much of the mud crab, but I enjoyed the fresh flavours of the salad. It also came with a small bowl of crispy bread.
Mr M ordered the grilled John Dory fillets for his main which came mixed in a pile of broccolini and beetroot shreds. Mr M enjoyed his dish, but thought hubby’s fish was better. We had a good laugh at the “skid marks” when the dish first arrived!
Mrs S ordered the suckling pig. It was more like a slow roasted pork belly rather than the crispy skinned suckling pig you find at Chinese restaurants, which was what I was expecting. Mrs S proclaimed this as the best pork she has ever had! The pork had a wonderful flavour and melt in the mouth texture like all good pork should. The petite apple was very cute!
Hubby ordered the whole King George whiting. It came as a whole fish, open with the centre bone removed and stuffed with some steamed greens. The flesh of the fish was so delicate and sweet, cooked perfectly, but there was hardly any of it!
My main was the herb crusted salmon. I wouldn’t exactly call it herb crusted as the herbs were only just put on top of the fish. I liked how they cut it into a cylinder shape but I found the salmon underdone as it was still raw in the middle. The crayfish pieces on the side were so tender, almost like it was sashimi. When I asked the waiter whether the crayfish was supposed to be like sashimi, he mentioned that the chef tended to undercook the seafood. I didn’t mind because it tasted so good slightly undercooked.
We also got a side of roasted potatoes to share. The potatoes were nothing out of the ordinary and erring on the side of being overcooked.
Overall: The seafood was very fresh and of high quality, but prices were on the expensive side and the serves were small. The service was excellent and attentive even though the restaurant was fully booked.
Would I return? For the prices, I wasn’t blown away by the food though if I were to return, I would try the loaves and fishes menu.
Over & Out, Rilsta xx