If you weren’t lucky enough to live in the hippie oasis that was California’s Laurel County in the late 60s, early 70s and be neighbours with singers like Joni Mitchell and Jim Morrisson, leave your regrets at the door of Estrella. This modern American restaurant on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip conjures the flower child vibe with aplomb. Studio Collective, the boutique design agency that brought the idea to life, included everything from macrame to the odd guitar, gently leaning in the corner. It’s an artistic, creative, comfortable space reminiscent of the bungalows that characterised Laurel County. You almost expect to see Neil Young or Stephen Stills sauntering past one of the dining nooks.
At Estrella you can dine inside or out, both are lushly wound with verdant greenery and strewn with cushions. There’s a fireplace here, colourful dangling glass lights, and even a 60-seat Art Deco auditorium, which is available to hire for anything from movie screenings to business presentations. But as wonderful as the space and the ambience here is, the food is the main event.
Created by Dakota Weiss, the menu, from breakfast through to dinner, is a marvel. There’s everything from butternut squash and goat cheese frittata to sous vide hanger steak served with fava bean puree, a carrot and herb salad, and homemade carrot sriracha sauce. There are smoothies to kick start the morning and original cocktails, like the ‘Joni Mitchell’ (made with bourbon, grapefruit juice, pomegranate molasses, and lime) and the ‘Sex, Drugs, and Rock N’ Roll’ (a concoction of tequila, mezcal, lime, ginger, nutmeg and rosemary honey) that’ll ease you into the evening. And all manner of incredible dishes and drinks in between. Some have even attained cult status, like ‘The Rolling Stone’. This brunch dish takes the form of a bacon-wrapped scotch egg, but what you’ll find when you slice into the crispy meaty exterior is a perfectly poached egg at the heart of bright avocado. Sprinkled with queso fresco and lashings of fresh herbs, this is a dish you’re sure to remember for a while, unless you overdo it on the Joni Mitchells, of course.