The Chef, The Boudin, His Fan and Her Lover

When I was delegated the task of selecting a restaurant for an overdue meeting of friends, I couldn’t go past a favourite that had the best elements of a Parisian bistro. Chic yet relaxed, with a distinct French ambience, accented and attentive service staff, subtle décor with black and white photographs of French icons, a well-equipped bar for delicious aperitifs, and traditional bistro fare such as escargots, soufflé, faux fillet and poire belle Hélène.

Friends swooned at the recommendation but I had to come clean. The Paddington restaurant at Five Ways had acquired a new chef since my last visit. But no sooner that I mentioned the name Manu Fieldel, than the guest of honour, the ebullient Mrs T was in rapture.

“You mean Manu, the sexy celebrity chef? The one on Masterchef? We’re going to his restaurant?” She asked as if he were my first cousin, twice removed.

Once at L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, our group of six was ushered through the nineteenth century Victorian terraced house towards the courtyard, past the surprisingly small kitchen. A glimpse of the chef at work provided her with titillation and sent a wave of relief that he was cooking that evening.

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, PaddingtonL’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington

L’étoile Margarita – Pinot Noir from Bourgogne

L’étoile Margaritas arrived, a luscious variation of the classic drink made with pureed pears. Glasses were clinked before everyone set on the arduous task of selecting from the menu. The soufflé au fromage with petite salade de noisette was a popular choice. But the winner was the boudin de St Jacques, bisque de crustacés, a light as air white sausage made from scallops and served with a rich bisque sauce, an extremely delicate texture with flavours that surge on contact.

I can’t resist a good confit de canard. With the meat falling off the bones and complemented by truffled white haricot beans, I could have easily been somewhere in Paris. The Boeuf du Boucher, a butcher’s cut of beef served with Roquefort sauce was a crowd pleaser. Wine glasses were filled and refilled. A variety of desserts and Armagnac were ordered.

But the true dish of the evening was served after the watermelon granitas. When Chef Manu stepped out of the kitchen and onto the courtyard, Mrs T transformed into a love-stricken teenager. Catching his attention and professing her adoration for the chef or the man or the fantasy, who knows, she lunged past her husband and towards Manu, praising and flirting, much to the entertainment of our group.

Manu, seen in a photograph below wearing a halo, was ever so gracious in indulging her whims and allowing me to take a few photographs.

“You’re going to write about this, aren’t you?” she asked as the evening drew to a close.

Merci Manu.

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
boudin de St Jacques

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
soufflé au fromage

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
paté de Campagne de Canard

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
confit de canard with truffled beans

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
Boeuf du Boucher with Roquefort sauce

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
watermelon granitas

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
creme brulee

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington

Manu Fieldel - L’étoile Restaurant and Bar, Paddington
Chef Manu Fieldel

L’étoile Restaurant and Bar
211 Glenmore Rd
Paddington, NSW 2021


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.