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Review: Ellacure

Beatrice Smith

Ellacure has always piqued my curiosity.

Nestled in the ground floor of the Proximity apartments in Bruce, Ellacure‘s somewhat isolated location – between the forest of Bruce apartment buildings and the car park for the AIS – seems a strange choice for a restaurant. When I first visited Ellacure a couple of years ago for breakfast, it was almost like stumbling upon an oasis in a sea of concrete and saplings.

It’s on Saturday mornings, however, that Ellacure’s location becomes less of a mystery and more of an obvious move – families from the surrounding apartments and townhouse developments flock to Ellacure for Mushroom Benedict and coffee and booking becomes a necessity.

For a while I was a breakfast regular, having a friend that lived in the neighbourhood, but since my friend moved away from Bruce I hadn’t been back. Needless to say, I was delighted for the opportunity to revisit the oasis, especially for dinner.

Nathan Frost from Ellacure says the restaurant aims for a broad appeal, especially as they attract large crowds of sports supporters when events are held at Bruce Stadium, across the road. “Ellacure [has] a modern Italian influence. Being a suburban restaurant we go for that warm, hearty feeling with [our] food as well, so it’s modern Italian,” he says.

Nathan also says that, in Ellacure’s eighth year it’s important that they stay fresh, even with their continued popularity with the locals. They’ve started offering free breakfasts for kids* on weekdays and take away pizzas some nights in an effort to fit into the local population of young families and working professionals.

“Coming into summer, we have that lovely big outdoor area that gets a lot of sun in the morning and a really nice vibe at nighttime. We’ll also be doing a few refurbs on that before summer, dressing it up with some fairy lights.”

When I arrived at Ellacure I was greeted by Bec, one of the managers and our waiter for the evening. Bec, enthusiastic and warm, told us a little about the menu and then left us to pore over it. My dining companion and I decided to select a couple of dishes from each strata of the menu and share them between us, which Ellacure clearly welcomes.

I ordered a Shanghai Sally – Bacardi, Malibu, cranberry juice, dash of lychee syrup, lychee, lime and coconut jelly – which is tangy and refreshing, and my companion ordered a glass of the Torbreck ‘Woodcutters’ Semillon.

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Shanghai Sally

 

For starters, Bec commended our choice of the Rosemary & Sea Salt Pizza Crust served with a trio of dips. The dips were perfectly sized – olive and feta, garlic and sundried tomato – and are made in-house. The olive and feta was my favourite; a perfect balance of creamy and salty.

The pizza crust, however, is the stand out of the dish, chewy and yielding but perfectly crisped and lightly tasting of rosemary. I immediately began to look forward to the pizza we ordered, still a few dishes away.

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Rosemary & Sea Salt Pizza Crust served with a trio of dips

 

Next up was the salt and pepper calamari with lemon, rocket, parmesan and garlic aioli. The portion size was good, but the calamari themselves were a little small. Nonetheless, the crust was lovely, adding beautiful texture to the dish and the parmesan and rocket combination is always a winner. Next time I’ll definitely order a main size of this.

 

Saltand pepper calamari, lemon, rocket, parmesan, garlic aioli

Salt and pepper calamari, lemon, rocket, parmesan, garlic aioli

 

Our next choice showcased the aforementioned Italian element of Ellacure – an entree portion of the Spaghetti with chorizo, olives, feta, baby spinach, spanish onion, capers, cherry tomato and chilli. The chorizo was amazing in this dish, really tasty and sweet.

The spaghetti was perfectly al dente and the smaller elements like the onion, capers and chilli were well balanced. The feta and olives really made the dish pop, too. This dish was perfect as an in-between to entrees and mains as it was enough for a taste of everything between two but not too much as to spoil the appetite.

 

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Spaghetti with chorizo, olives, feta, baby spinach, spanish onion, capers, cherry tomato and chilli

 

The next dish was also a pasta dish which was perhaps, in hindsight, a misstep on our behalf as two heavy dishes in a row definitely slowed me down.

The Tortellini, chicken, goat’s cheese, capsicum, onion, button mushrooms, peas, cream and white wine sauce was very indulgent, heavy in flavour due to the cream, onion and tortellini but also well textured thanks to the capsicum and parmesan. If I ordered this dish again I would do so paired with a light entrée.

 

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Tortellini, chicken, goat’s cheese, capsicum, onion, button mushrooms, peas, cream and white wine sauce

 

From here we moved on to the main sized dishes, starting with my favourite dish of the night, the Kipfler potatoes, prosciutto, sage, Spanish onion, roasted sweet garlic aioli pizza.

 

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Kiplfer potatoes, prosciutto, sage, Spanish onion, Roasted sweet garlic aioli pizza

 

Apart from being cooked to perfection, the pizza was incredibly well seasoned with the sweet, salty prosciutto and thin sliced potato balancing each other perfectly and the sage was present, but never overwhelming.

My only criticism is of myself, for eating too much before this pizza came out and therefore struggling to eat my half of it. If I could choose only one food to eat for the rest of my life, it might just be this pizza.

By this point we needed a drinks top up so I took Bec’s recommendation of a Spiced Mango Mojito – Captain Morgan’s spiced rum, lime, mint, mango puree, sugar syrup and a dash of soda – which was tangy and sweet and the perfect way to refresh during a rich meal.

My companion moved on to a glass of The Primrose Path Shiraz, which he said matched the main dishes well.

 

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Spiced Mango Mojito

 

After a small breather, our last savoury course came out; the Prosciutto wrapped eye fillet with root vegetables, goats cheese and red wine jus. The portion size was perfect for how late it was in our multiple courses, but for others visiting Ellacure I might recommend one each as the focus is on the balance of flavour and textures rather than overloading the plate.

For us, however, it was the perfect way to end the main courses. The beef was tender and the jus was delicate, a perfect balance to the salty, rich prosciutto.

 

Prosciuttowrapped eye fillet, root vegetables, goats cheese, red wine jus

Prosciutto wrapped eye fillet, root vegetables, goats cheese, red wine jus

 

Finally we came to the dessert courses. Even though I was comfortably full…ok, uncomfortably full, I wanted to sample more than one of the desserts for the purposes of the review…ok, because I couldn’t decide between two of them.

The Chocolate Parfait with creme anglaise, chocolate sauce, white chocolate snow and peanut brittle was a special on the night, although Bec informed us it had been incredibly popular (and therefore regularly on the specials board) for the past few weeks – fingers crossed it still is in the future.

The parfait was melt-in-your-mouth soft and, to me, seemed much like a light frozen chocolate mousse. The creme anglaise was especially lovely, and paired well with the chocolate sauce and the white chocolate snow really made the dish stand out with it’s crunchy texture. The peanut brittle, however, took the dish to the next level – lovers of full-on desserts, look no further.

 

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Chocolate Parfait with creme anglaise, chocolate sauce, white chocolate snow and peanut brittle

 

I almost felt sorry for our other dessert, the Sticky date and walnut pudding with salted caramel and vanilla gelato, when it came out – it looked so simple in comparison – but I needn’t have – this dessert can stand on its own. The pudding was light and fluffy but flavoured beautifully with the crunchy walnuts.

 

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Sticky date and walnut pudding with salted caramel and vanilla gelato

 

The sauce was abundant – a perfect caramel – and the vanilla ice cream cut through the sweetness of the dish, balancing it and melting beautifully with the warm pudding.

After the meal was over I was really able to relate to what Nathan had told me earlier. All the dishes were great takes on modern Italian but still incredibly accessible and very flexible; perfect for for a casual mid-week meal with friends or served in degustation-like courses for a special occasion.

Ellacure may be nearing a decade of delicious service, but all that means is they’ve had all this time to perfect a range of dishes that are both imaginative and appealing to all.

the essentials
What: Ellacure Restaurant
Where: Proximity Apartments, Bruce
When: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30am until late. Closed Sunday/Monday.
Phone: (02) 6251 0990
Web: ellacure.com.au

*Free breakfast for children is dependent on the time, day and age of the child. Call (02) 6251 0990 for more information.

The writer ate courtesy of Ellacure, however, their opinions remain their own. 

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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