Barramundi with pink pepper corns

Russel Norman is a London restaurateur who has a great grasp of morden dining, we love looking at what he is doing on the other side of the world and often use him for inspiration. In this case we have just directly copied one of his dishes as it is so delicious we thought we could not improve it.

We are using Humpty Doo barramundi fillets which is a divergence from the original recipe but the fish is so delicate it really works in well in this technique. 

The recipe is simple, you just poach the fish in a mixture of 50% fish stock, 25% orange juice 25% lemon juice with a big slug of olive oil, seasoning the fish well. place it on heat, bring up to a simmer, turn heat off, put on lid, wait 30 seconds, pop in pink pepper corns, garnish with chopped mint, dill and parsley.... eat! yum

Here is a link to the Polpo book and you should go and ask Jane at Antipodes bookstore for a copy it's a great read with heaps of simple recipes.




Even though we are in the midst of the wild windy winter down here in Victoria the sun is shining further north in the country. This is why capsicum is so delicious and plentiful in the markets at this time of the year. We were thinking of how to use these in the restaurant and our minds kept straying to Romesco de peix that classic Catalan dish of fish in almond and red pepper broth.

We had a great recipe for Romesco sauce from Frank the chef at Movida in the city and with a small alteration to make it gluten free which is not traditional but almost needed in this current restaurant environment in Melbourne as there seems to be many guests who can no longer tolerate wheat.

4 tomatoes roasted  on grill

6 capsicums roasted on grill till black
1 onion roasted in skin 30 minutes
1 head of garlic roasted in skin 30 minutes

175 roasted hazelnuts
175 roasted flaked almonds
65 ml sherry Vinegar
100 ml olive oil
1 1⁄2 table spoons sweet paprika

blitz it all together in food processor and you will have enough romesco for a week of suppers....

salt to taste



Wine Dinners in Sorrento

Last week we hosted another great wine dinner with Andrew Marks wine maker at both Gembrook HIll and The Wanderer. The night began with a Gin and tonic for all the guests, made with of course Andrew's other project Melbourne Gin Co. gin, we garnished it with rosemary and pink grapefruit which complemented these notes in the gin's botanical profile. Once everyone had enjoyed a chat with the winemaker and found their seats there was a huge array of wine and food for them to enjoy.... 



The starting bracket was Blanc de Blancs sparkling, Gembrook Sauvignon Blanc and Gembrook Chardonnay, we teamed up with Andrew and his gin again and cured some fabulous winter salmon from Tasmania in the gin. Was a wonderful bracket of wine but the standout for everyone and possibly the most unexpected wine was the Sauvignon Blanc.

The next bracket was pinot focused with both the Gembrook Village Pinot and Estate Pinot matched with a pork pie with red currant gravy. The Estate pinot was really expressive and was my personal favourite but the Village wine seemed to be very popular on the evening judging by the amount of wine ordered from the ladies at the Independent Wine Store in Rye after the evening had concluded.


We finished the evening with the Wanderer Syrah and Shiraz both of these wine were from the same vines but showed the difference that you can get if you change the wine making techniques in the winery. 






Meet the Maker


Tuesday 24th July 6.30pm

Join us for a 3 course dinner with winemaker ANDREW MARKS from Gembrook Hill.
Gembrook Hill is one of the pacesetters in the Yarra Valley wine scene with its restrained yet complex style. Andrew’s wines are regarded as some of the most outstanding examples of their variety in Australia and are crafted with an old-world winemaking mindset, most of the vines are now aged over twenty years imparting great complexity to the wine.

Andrew will also be bringing along his other projects; The Wanderer and Melbourne Gin Company for you to enjoy as part of the night.

3 course dinner including wine $85

Bookings essential: 5984 4995

Arts in restaurants

Our whole restaurant is inspired by a book that I borrowed from James. It is a book called "reflexions" and the author is a guy called Richard Olney. It is essentially an memoir of his life in France, it informs many of the things that we do here at the bistro. Richard was involved in the lives of many of the worlds most influential food people over many years and I find his uncompromising search for excellence and quality inspirational also he has a way with language which is quite rare.

Anyhow the point to this is that we here at Bistro Elba are always looking for ways to bring that love of culture and the arts that we have to the fore front of our guests experience

One way that we celebrate the arts is with our monthly Literary lunch. We always strive to create a wonderful extravagant luncheon for the people clever enough to snare a ticket to these events. We always make sure that we have time in our work day to sit down and listen to the conversation with the author at every lunch, in fact at one of the lunches last year I found out that the author had worked with the before mentioned Mr Olney and told me that he was a really difficult character...

Next Friday we have Mark Brandi whose book I have not read (yet), but I am looking forward to hearing about as it is set in Western Districts of Victoria. 

I came in early to the restaurant today to do a bit of menu planning for the lunch next week and I am quite excited about what we are going to cook for everyone. If you have not attended a literary lunch before but like us love reading, books and all things interesting, please don't feel shy, come, we would love to have you for lunch.   

Literary Lunch
Friday 29th July 12:30 pm - till 3:30pm
Three course lunch with wines
$85 a person
ph. 5984 4995
or just pop in to book