Need to catch up on Melbourne Part 1 first? Read up on breakfast at The Boatbuilders Yard, lunch at wonderful stumble find Knock Knock Cafe and Bar and of course Day 1 of the mandatory Melbourne shopping!
For our girly mother daughter weekend I wanted to treat Mama to a lovely dinner and foodie experience. So when I managed to get us a booking at Ezard (Teage Ezard‘s eponymous “freestyle”, Japanese-inspired restaurant in Flinders Lane, with two Chef Hats from The Age Good Food Guide, rave reviews and of course the success of Gingerboy under his belt too) we were both justifiably excited.
Descending the stairs lit by the glow of the green base-lit veneer walls and entering the softly lit dining room we were greeted and seated at a lovely table perfectly positioned under a direct light (a relief for my food photographer within). Immediately, Gemma (our incredible maître d’) took us through the menu structure and our options – 8-course degustation, 6-course degustation or al a carte. Confession time. We may have already had a sneaky peak at the menu and decided the 3-course al la Carte was the way to go! As we mused over the menu to finalise our choices we were given gorgeous fresh sourdough with parmesan and garlic infused olive oil various accompaniments. Prickled ash (Szechuan pepper and sea salt), Nori Dashi (dried bonito flakes and Nori seaweed) and the piece de resistance Chilli sugar (shaved yellow palm sugar and ground dried red chillies). The Chilli sugar was simply superb, which once dipped tasted like a spicy version of a cinnamon donut.
To drink? I indulged in the Ezard Mule mocktail (fevertree ginger beer, fresh lime and fresh mint), while Mama thoroughly enjoyed her Pooley Riesling from Coal River Valley in Tasmania, which was brilliantly matched to our meal choices by the sommelier.
To wet the appetite we were presented with an amuse bouche of vodka and citrus cured ocean trout with peas, puffed quinoa, finger limes and smoked yoghurt. Deliciously delicate, the trout was cured to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and in one small mouthful there was both texture from the puffed quinoa and al dente peas and a creamy cut-through from the smoked yoghurt.
For entree we decided to share the butter poached black marron with foie gras parfait, Madeira jelly, chocolate crumbs and orange textures and the seared scallops with mango, house made duck prosciutto, black fig and spiced duck sauce. The scallops were succulent round discs of buttery goodness and the duck prosciutto a perfectly salty accompaniment, subdued just slightly by the sweetness from the mango.
The marron was also superb and cooked immaculately. The sweet, plump, juicy flesh was only enhanced by the richness of the delicious quenelle of foie gras parfait and intense notes of cacao from the chocolate dirt. The orange textures were like mini freeze dried cubes of orange zest which added great depth and dimension to the dish. I felt like I was eating from Willy Wonka’s chocolate room!
Next came our mains – Mama choosing the Pan fried sesame crusted John Dory served with potato cream, subtly still-crunchy edamame, citrus and verjuice butter, radish and citrus candy, while I couldn’t go past the eight score sher Wagyu Beef on a bed of super smooth, creamy white polenta and mache salad with sweet morels, red wine jam, decadent slivers of foie gras and finished with a sticky shallot jus.
The John Dory was superbly cooked – light, fresh and so so flavoursome but in such a brilliantly delicate way the natural juiciness of the fish could shine. All the elements on the plate complimented one another and worked in wonderful harmony with the zing of the citrus infusing throughout the potato cream.
The Wagyu was equally superb – served medium rare and perfectly pink in the centre it was tender, rich and everything a wagyu should be. The foie gras was buttery, creamy and intense and shone beside the other components and flavours on the dish without overpowering them. The flavours of the foie momentarily transported me back to France is was that good! We polished off each morsel of deliciousness omitting (hopefully not too loud for the sake of our fellow diners) groans of pure foodie satisfaction.
Once we vigorously agreed to inspect the dessert menu we were given a palate cleanser of perfectly tart Yoghurt Sorbet with crushed freeze dried raspberries. A divine way to end the savoury journey and commence with the sweet…
And for our sweet choice we simply couldn’t go past the eponymous Ezard Dessert Tasting Plate to share. A masterpiece of mini creations the platter arrived with 6 perfectly presented rounded dishes of edible artwork. There was the impeccably light and airy, sweet and subtly boozy Pear and Poire William Parfait with native apple finished with butterscotch sauce, pear pearls and figs, a mini Fromage Frais Cheesecake with honey and rosemary served with blueberry sorbet and almond crumble (the delight was the mini lavender hued rosemary meringues on the side), creamy Honeycrunch Ice Cream with toasted gingerbread, cinnamon oil and sugar swirl (although my stupid intolerance prevented me from indulging in too much, but I did get a taste when I bit into the toasted gingerbread, which was like a crispy burst of Christmas) and quenelles of Blueberry and Quandong Sorbet with a granola crunch crumble.
Then there was the artful Chocolate ‘Hemisphere‘ (designed to appear like a freshly cracked open coconut) served with coconut textures, chocolate sorbet, intensely zingy and scrumptious kaffir lime jelly and almond and hazelnut crumble and the The inside of the chocolate shell was filled with a wonderful coconut cream with crunchy pieces throughout – combining all elements in the mouth and the flavours were reminiscent of childhood Bounty Bar memories.
However, my favourite had to be the Custard Apple Mousse with quandong sorbet, pressed green apple, puff pastry crisp and golden oats. The effect of tartness from the small mini scoops of vibrant green apple mixed with the sweetness from the viscid mousse was heavenly, whilst the crisp puff pastry base and oats added texture and complexity. It was a burst of refreshing, unique dessert flavours that left me in a state of bliss until the last scrape of the spoon on the bottom of the dainty dish.
Ezard, once again thank you for a marvelous evening and serious food experience and sensory journey. With standout service (from the lovely Gemma who repeatedly went through each of our menu item choices, their ingredients and the cooking and assembly methods behind them), word class fare (with perfect seafood, tender pink Wagyu and TWO dishes with top quality foie gras, plus the BEST dessert tasting plate I’ve ever laid eyes upon let alone tasted) Ezard is certainly a Must Try.
If you’ve been to Ezard or have any other fine dining/food experience suggestions for our next Melbourne trip I’d love to hear!