Melbourne | Ezard
Ezard restaurant isone of the city's and country's best eateries that has been serving Asian-influenced‘Australian freestyle’ cuisine in a refined and understated setting for 15 years in in the heart of downtown Melbourne. As the winner of 2014 The Age Good Food Guide Awards and Two Chef Hats 2015, Chef extrodinaire Teage Ezard and his team continuously experiment with flavours and textures to create an unique dining experience to the guests.
Came for: Tasting menu ($160)
My favorite dishes: Oyster, Crab Dumpling, Trout, Potato gnocchi
The entire dining area is on the left side of the hallway, with one private room for large group of 8 near the entrance. Food at Ezard emphasizes on the best of seasonal produce, they foster long-standing relationships with suppliers to ensure access to the finest ingredients in the nation. The menu continually evolves to take advantage of each ingredient at the height of its flavour, colour, appearance and quality.
Ezard offers 3 different menus: from a weekday express lunch or pre-theatre dinner, to an eight course tasting menu.
To enhance the best dining experience at Ezard, the eight course tasting menu ($180) is definitely the best choice. The menucarefully constructed to showcase seasonal ingredients and the breadth of Teage Ezard’s cuisine. This can be further enhanced by the matching wines, fastidiously sourced to complement each course.
Unlike the usual butter served with breads, the bread condiments at Ezard are very speical. I especially love the dried nori & sea salt on the left side, which is full of umami flavor.It also paired well with the sweet white powder in the middle (i'm not very sure what's that).
The kingfish was fresh and tender, the avocado puree brought a rich and creamy touch, while the orange and vinegared dressing nicely balanced the entire bite.
The first course was served in a very 'Japanese' style sake cup, the flavor has a strong Japanese twist as well. The wasabi shooter was unexpected spicy, the oyster itself was not very large in size but high in quality. The entire course was very refreshing and has a sweet aftertaste. Amazing starter.
The swordfish was nicely cured -fresh and juicy. The picked cucumber nicely balanced the savory sashimi.The puffs lifted up the texture of the dish.
Another Asian-inspired dish, the Thai coconut Tom Kha reminds me of Eat Me and Bra Bua by Kiin Kiin in Bangkok, which both used similar coconut soup base. Back to the dumling itself, which was umami and bouncy, the naturally sweet crab meat nicely paired with the sour, spicy and rich coconut Toma Kha - lovely.
Although i personally love vegetables and fruits, i usually avoid having veggie dishes at fine dining restaurants because few can make impressive ones. I believe even you don't like vegetables or fruits at all, you will love it. The figs were sweet, juicy, soft and melt in mouth. The fine asparagas was originally bland but the figs and smoked ricotta work so well. One of the most impressive salad so far.
The beautifully presented trout came with a lovely fragrant of toasted sesame. The finishing sashi broth looks clean and boring but it was really special and impressive - it taste like Chinese braised pork broth (红烧肉), the only obvious difference is the using of vinegar, which made it very refreshing.The trout itself was sashimi-tenderness, very juicy and succulent. I especially love the soya squid ink noodle on the bottom. It was rolled up like Cantonese cheung fun (rice roll), the texture was like jelly.
I have heard people saying that Ezard is famous for meat dishes. Sadly i am a pescetarian, but the fish dishes at Ezard neither disappointed. The king george whiting paired so well with the sorrel sauce, and the cirspy artichoke added a burnt fragrant to the dish. A very healthy, hearty and delicious dish.
I was really full even before this course, i expected next will be dessert but....
Substitute the beef or duck with gnocchi doesn't make any sense to most meat lovers, but seriously, i am not a potato lover but this poatato gnocchi was one of the best 'gnocchi' i have ever had. It was quite different from the normal al dante pasta you had before, this potato gnocchi was rather smooth and high in potato flavor. It was cheesy but not greasy, it was very lovely and balanced well with the sweet raisins.
The goat cheese mousse was smooth and high in flavor, the strawberry and sorbet brought a touch of refreshing to the entire dish - healthy and sweet ending.
I really enjoyed the dinner at Ezard, every dish was nicely prepared and presentated, the flavor was no doubt good. I love chef's creative of using local ingredients in Western cooking with a Asian twist, which is not commonly in any fine dining restaurants. Although each dish was nicely portioned, i was full by the first half of the meal.
The service was efficient, and servers have a great knowledge of the food served and communicate with diners a lot. Although Ezard is a fine dining restaurant with very elegant ambiance, i didn't feel constraint at all, yet very relax, warm and hommie.