Don’t be deterred from Esposito if you don’t eat fish. Quail, duck and steak will keep you amused, but you’ll be missing out on some of Melbourne’s best seafood. The site’s previous tenant, Carlton’s iconic Toofey’s, left some big fishy shoes to fill and Maurice Esposito, owner and executive chef, met the challenge with an uncompromising attitude to freshness and sustainability.
Only sustainable species are served and all suppliers catch their fish using the Japanese iki-jime technique. Sounding very much like an ancient martial art, iki-jime minimises stress and maximises quality. Schoolbooks aside, their food tastes fantastic. Supported by locally grown produce, each dish has a delicate flavour balance. Think dill and nasturtium flavoured pasta with Bay bugs, or rock flathead fillets with basil gnocchi, handpicked mud crab, tomato and preserved lemon salad.
Something about Esposito is refined and calming. Possibly the food, maybe the reasonably priced wine, but likely the muted colours of the dining room, with enough blue to evoke seaside visions, and no seashells in sight.
162 Elgin Street, Carlton
(03) 9347 9838