Ezard at Adelphi2/15/2010 09:55:00 PM
2 weeks ago we went to Ezard to celebrate my changing jobs. (Yaaaay!) Despite being a consistent 2-hatter, I haven't read much about Ezard around the blogoshpere. In fact, I think Melbourne bloggers are more familiar with Teage Ezard's more casual eatery, Gingerboy. Ezard, on the other hand, is a properly fancy restaurant - tablecloths, nice glassware, deferential staff in sharp suits.
187 Flinders Lane
Melbourne Vic, 3000
Ph: (03) 9639 6811
The space is quite long and narrow, with muted lighting and funky grey walls (see above). The tables against the wall have couches. (Or is banquette the right word?) Either way, we happened to get a corner table, so we both got to sit on banquettes. Score!
If you've seen any of Teage's recipes before, you'll know they're incredibly detailed. Pages of ingredients, lengthy and complicated processes, and in some cases, days of preparation are required to achieve the final, beautiful, complex result. With this in mind, I was prepared for some sophisticated food, but still was blown away by the flavour combinations and the thought put into each and every dish.
Apologies if I've gotten any of these wrong, or missed out on certain ingredients - lots of the dishes aren't on the online menu, and I was too embarassed to start writing things down. (I did save a few things into my phone though, heheh).
Each table is provided with a selection of salts and spices for dipping.
From top: Szechuan pepper prickly ash; Chinese yellow rock sugar and chilli; Bonito with Szechuan pepper and wakame.
Of the 3 spices, my favourite was definitely the sugar and chilli. It started off sweet, and then
The Szechuan pepper prickly ash was quite strong and smoky, definitely best in small doses.
The oil provided was Ezard's own blend - olive oil infused with garlic, parmesan and rosemary. It was so delicious we bought a bottle to take home!
Before our entrees, a little amuse bouche came out - black sesame crusted smoked tofu with a soy mirin gel.
Here are the entrees:
Mushroom tortelli with porcini foam, spinach and mixed herb salad - $24.50
I had a little taste of the tortelli, and it was rather fabulous. In addition to the deep mushroom taste, the spinach had a charred-wok flavour. The flavours and textures worked really well together, especially with the fresh herbs on top.
I ordered the kingfish sashimi, which was super-fresh and gorgeously presented. I especially liked the little curls of coconut, as they reminded me of Vanuatu!
Kingfish sashimi with toasted sesame custard, chardonnay vinegar and shallot vinaigrette - $26.50
The mains seemed to have a bit of an Asian influence, but weren't particularly fusion-y (a good thing!)
Chicken special: red-roasted Barossa Valley chicken, saffron potatoes and a tumeric coconut curry - $44.50
The chicken here was slightly gamey, almost like duck, and was very tender. Underneath, the potatoes were soft, and soaked up the rich curry sauce deliciously, whilst the fresh salad on the top was both crunchy and sour, lightening the overall dish. Wonderful.
For myself, I again chose seafood, with fried snapper. I had a little trouble deciding on a main dish, but chose this one in the end because it had fresh broadbeans! I absolutely love broadbeans but can never be bothered shelling them myself.
Pan fried baby snapper, chimichurri butter sauce, saffron potatoes, broadbeans and crispy leek salad - $46.50
(The broadbeans were hidden under the fish, in between the potatoes.)
One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that I always find restaurant desserts too sweet, too big and too rich. And you're stuffed if you end up not liking your dessert (*ahem* Bistro Guillaume *ahem*). So if we are doing dessert, we almost always go for a platter to share between 2.
Dessert tasting plate - $48.00
I had a glass of sauternes with dessert. I forget the exact name of the wine, but if you visit it's the only one on the menu available by the glass! It was amazing. Sauternes, where have you been all my life?
Let's go one by one...
I can't remember exactly what this one is (our waiter explained all of them to us as she brought the plate over - I nodded and smiled, it was too much to remember!), but it was topped with kataifi, had a brandy-snap-type crunchy shell, and a vanilla-flecked moussy cream on the inside.
Macaron with raspberry sorbet, and passionfruit.
Cute, huh? The sorbet was intensely fruity, and the crunchy meringue provided a pleasing textural contrast. I certainly wouldn't call them macarons though - they were crunchy all the way through.
Pina colada parfait, coconut praline, honey and black basil seed pearls.
This dessert was topped with Iranian fairy floss, and had pomegranate seeds and tiny cubes of pineapple as well. It reminded me of Scott Pickett's wonderful pineapple-coconut dessert at The Point. Creamy coconut dessert also always remind me of being on holiday. And Wham's Club Tropicana. (George Michael rules!)
Below we have a fromage frais cheesecake, chilled strawberry soup and cubes of mango.
Apparently when our waiter was listing the desserts, I was just nodding and smiling politely, until she uttered the words "fromage frais cheesecake". At this point I exclaimed "Ooh cheesecake!". All class. Anyhoo, it was, as expected, fantastic. I hadn't had fromage frais before, and I found the finished cheesecake was quite similar to regular cheesecake, but with a less-fatty mouthfeel, and not as sour as cream-cheese based ones.
The sugar-crowned orb we see below was five spiced honeycrunch ice-cream with toasted gingerbread.
Even the crunchy caramel seemed to have a strong ginger taste. The result of days and days of work and preparation and infusing, no doubt. I love gingerbread (and spekulatius and those Swedish ginger almond cookies they give you at Kikki K....), so no surprise that I loved this dessert! With the crunchy sliver of gingerbread, I thought of it as a Christmas-spiced ice-cream sundae.
And finally, we have that devil in the centre, the chocolate marquise.
The green sprig you see on top of the bar was actually young coriander! (The same as is served with burrata at Tutto Bene). The bar was malevolently dark, with a rich, almost buttery filling. For dark chocolate lovers only!
Looks like a Mars bar inside, does not taste like a Mars bar inside.
By this stage I was well and truly full, but still wanted a little coffee to finish the meal. Coffee is $6.50 (!!!!), but you do get these funky chocolate truffles as well.
The white one had a creamy white chocolate filling, but the coconut-covered truffle at the front was a lot more interesting. After the first bite, a strong chilli hit came through. It was quite dark in the restaurant, but I think the chilli was contained in the jam-like substance you see below in the centre:
The total bill came up to $262 for 2, which included a $30 bottle of olive oil and a couple of drinks. One day, when I am grown up and sophisticated (hah!) I will order wine by the bottle, but for now I am happy with just a glass during the meal. We couldn't find any fault with the service: from making the reservations, to taking our orders, to the pacing of the meals. Ezard is a fantastic restaurant for a special occasion, and I can't wait to come back.