(I dined as a guest of Ellacure, however all opinions are my own.)
I was invited to dine at Ellacure to provide an honest blogger review of the restaurant. Ellacure is part of 2617 Group that also own Soju Girl and Versatile. My last visit was back in 2013 so I was happy to try it out again. Located on the ground floor of an apartment block in Bruce (near the stadium), Ellacure is a popular suburban restaurant offering Italian/Modern Australian focused cuisine.
We picked a Saturday afternoon to have some lunch. The terrace at the front is completely undercover with cushions and candles at each table providing the comforts of home, all surrounded by luscious green herb garden beds.
We were greeted by our waiter at the door and shown to our table inside. One of the far walls is covered in frames filled with an assortment of food photos and knick knacks collected over the 8 years that Ellacure has been in operation.
I’m told that the Gin and Tonic drunken chicken with carrots and dukkah recipe in one of the frames gets a lot of attention, with diners taking photos of it to make at home. So here’s the recipe for you below.
Menus were brought to us promptly and tap water poured for us. I really liked their water glasses – big, robust and a good sized grip in my hand. I find a lot of other restaurants have tiny glasses of water. This is annoying (for me) since I drink a lot of water, especially when you don’t actually get a jug or bottle of water on the table and have to wait for staff to walk around and pour water for you in your tiny glass. But I digress. We were asked if we would like any drinks – J ordered the house wine while I felt like a ginger beer.
Ellacure caters to families with classic pizzas and pastas, and also to the foodies out there with more sophisticated items such as pork belly and duck on the menu. We were advised of the day’s special of pan seared scallops. I wasn’t fussed with what to order so I asked if the chef could bring out a few dishes for us to try. This was no trouble and the first thing to come out was the sea salt pizza with a trio of house made dips (usually $9). The dips consisted of olive tapenade, roasted garlic and sun dried tomato. The thin pizza bases were lightly sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt. I really enjoyed smearing on the different dips. I usually avoid olives but the olive tapenade was enjoyably acidic in its pure freshness. J was getting a little worried since he usually gets ALL the olives/olive-like items. I think my palate is evolving. The sun dried tomato was finely balanced and not as sour as originally imagined. The roasted garlic was quite powerful – I much preferred the other two. This was a great light starter to lunch.
The Queensland banana prawns in chorizo and tomato agrocdolce (usually $18) was a wonderful entrée. Five big juicy perfectly cooked prawns in this beautiful light sweet and sour tomato sauce with just a hint of acidity. It was pure savoury goodness with strips of chorizo mixed throughout. J and I liked it so much that we were eating spoonfuls of the agrodolce sauce after the prawns were gone. It was so good.
Although J and I are not huge fans of pork belly, the twice cooked pork belly with apple and mint salsa (usually $17) was surprisingly not that fatty. Well cooked and succulent, there was a little bit of belly fat but the majority was tender meat so we were happy with that. The fresh apple and mint salsa were great paired with the pork belly offering a fresh hit of sweetness to the meat.
Moving onto the mains, the gnocchi of roast beetroot, ricotta, asparagus, sage and gorgonzola (usually $24) looked so vibrant on the plate. The large pieces of gnocchi were a tad dense, however the flavours were excellent. The subtle taste of sweet earthy beetroot with the bitey pungent gorgonzola and hint of sage was a good combination. The asparagus offered the necessary crunch factor and contrasting colour to the plate. Although it looks like a small portion, the large pieces of gnocchi were very filling.
The rolled pork belly with pancetta, cranberries, caramelised onions, pistachios, root vegetables, cabbage and spiced pear sauce (usually $34) came out next. Again, the pork belly wasn’t too fatty and cooked to perfection. The meat was so soft while the outer shell was covered in crispy crackling. There was a reasonable amount of stuffing and I loved the spiced pear sauce which added a fruity sweet dimension to all of that meat. I would have liked more roasted vegetables but this was a filling dish.
I chose the dessert tasting plate (usually $22) to end our lunch which gives diners a bit of everything. That day, the tasting plate consisted of the crème brulee, lemon pannacotta, mini churros, a scoop of passionfruit sorbet, and sticky date walnut pudding (which we specifically asked for). The crème brulee gave that important crack when breaking through the thin sugary layer. The berries hiding underneath were a nice surprise contrasting against the smooth sweet cream. The glistening lemon pannacotta was firm and creamy smooth. It was very refreshing and I liked the dehydrated rhubarb and rhubarb sauce on top. I liked the crunchy mini churros with warm spiced apple and berries – a different take on churros (though I still prefer it with melted chocolate). The passionfruit sorbet was enjoyably sharp and tangy – full of passionfruit goodness. The sticky date pudding was superb and the clear favourite. It was still hot, super moist, sweet but not too sweet, with a very sexy sticky salted caramel sauce sitting on the side which had a fantastic rich consistency. The first bite was all it took to come to this realisation. One of the best sticky date puddings I’ve ever had! Next time, we’ll be ordering the sticky date pudding on its own which comes with vanilla bean gelato.
During lunch, we noticed staff going out to the herb garden at the front of the restaurant to snip off certain herbs for cooking. As much local produce as possible is used with 2617 Group supplying vegetables to both Soju Girl and Ellacure.
Service was attentive from the beginning with both entrees and mains coming out at the same time. The atmosphere is pleasantly casual and relaxed – a space where anyone is welcome and children can run around. It’s great to hear that Ellacure supports staff that do a variety of charity events too. The menu has been refreshed for Spring but I’m assured that favourites such as the sticky date pudding will remain on the menu. For an awesome deal, check out Ellacure’s 2 for 1 pizzas every Wednesday!
Ellacure can be found at the base of the Proximity apartments on Battye Street in Bruce. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 7.30am until late. Online bookings are taken via Dimmi.
Value for money 7/10
FPJ score 24/30
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