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Saturday, April 21, 2012
Ezard - The Degustation Experience!

"Restaurants like ezard change your perception of the dining experience"
(The Age Good Food Guide).... An old quote, but one that certainly still reigns true today.

Ezard is a restaurant that I will always love. It really is a very special place; special to me, because it was one of the first "hatted" restaurants I had the privelege of visiting when I embarked upon my foodie adventures, back in my teenage years. I remember saving for several weeks back then to build up the funds to go and spoil myself. That first experience was a full degustation dinner, similar to the one I'm going to share with you below.

Since that first gastronimc adventure I have continued to visit Ezard, perhaps three or four times a year; and to be honest not a lot has really changed, nor should it have.

The restaurant has however undergone some minor face-lifts over time and the menu has gradually evolved and become sharper, more creative and more refined than ever before. Like a good bottle of wine, Ezard has become that little bit better with age.

Ezard use to be termed a "Modern Australian" restaurant, a term which is now overused. The cuisine here is creative - it relies upon the freshest local produce, and fuses various differnt cooking styles, techniques and flavour combinations from around the world, to create a unique and memorable dining experience. Today we often term this stlye of food as "Contemporary" but this is so much more.

Chef Teague Ezard describes his food as "Australian freestyle" - a term I love. He says "the most obvious influences are the traditional dishes of the great Asian cuisines, including Chinese and Thai."

Ezard showcases true fusion cooking. "Fusion may be an overworked word, but the food it describes is not."

I am going to keep this review brief - and instead provide a very brief snapshot of each dish from the current Degustation Menu - needless to say a sublime meal was had. On this occasion we decided against the matched wine flight and chose to enjoy a bottle of Ten Minutes by Tractor "Estate", a luscious "new world" Chardonnay which perfectly matched the early dishes, followed by glasses of a beautiful Cotes Du Rone & Pinot Noir which assisted the enjoyment of the latter "meat" courses.

The Degustation Experience (April 2012):

Japanese inspired oyster shooter:
A signature dish on the ezard menu for many years. Here sits a fresh shucked oyster, in a sweet, but racey flamed off sake/mirin/chilli dressing. To finish a rice-noodle nori roll..... One was simply not enough - so we had another couple each afterwards.


Vodka and citrus cured salmon, beetroot crisp, finger lime, wasabi aioli and shiso cress:
Gorgeous, sikly salmon segments, with a creamy aioli, sweet betroot puree and crisp. A very elegently executed presentation.

Steamed blue swimmer crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, celery cress and tom kha:
By far the most peopular entree on the menu we are told. The description speaks for itself. A pefectly steamed dumpling, filled with a sweet crab meat farce. The plate is filled with beautiful, bustling salmon pearls - which just "pop" in the mouth and finished with a silky, luscious, spiced tom kha broth at the table.

Asparagus, persian feta and witlof salad, poached quail egg, hazelnuts and soft herbs:
A beautiful light salad. Robust goodness from the quail egg, that oh so creamy persian fetta and the dill atop helps balance all the flavours.

Coconut grilled ocean trout with asian gazpacho, heirloom tomatoes, creme fraiche, hot and sour salad:
Perfect roasted trout which just falls apart, a light semi-sweet gazpacho, and of course the hot and sourness from the chilli-herb salad balanced with the creamy and refreshing creme fraiche.

Char-siu quail with mandarin pancake, lime and cucumber salad and roasted rice:
A little bonus for us. Small segments of deboned, roasted quail meat, beautifully sweet and sticky. A rice-paper mandarin "pancake". A tangy salad provides that extra "Asian" element and the roasted rice provides a textural "crunch".

Slow cooked bangalow pork belly, apple pudding, fennel, white peach, calvados jus:
Sweet, gelatinous goodness. Apply pudding is your puree and the calvados jus adds some extra richness and "wow" to the dish.

Chinese style roast duck, green chilli and oyster sauce dressing with coconut rice and asian greens:
Another menu stalwart, and one of my favourites which has undergone some minor changes to keep up with the times, but kept the same major elements. Roasted, pink, tender duck breast slices sit atop the oh so sweet coconut rice and lightly wilted greens. Finished with a chilli-asian salad and sweet potato crisps and a light/sweet/spicy dressung the dish is simply a winner - and remains a favourite with regular punters for good reason.

ezard dessert tasting plate to share:
Would you really want to finish off a magical meal any other way. Six sublime deserts including an indulgent chocolate and passionfruit torte, pistachio frangipane and my all-time ezard desert favourite - the oh so delivious "honeycrunch icecream" resting upon a toasted gingerbread snap and finished with a sweet sugar swirl.... Heaven!

After eating here regularly for the last eight years Ezard remains my favourite dining destnation in Melbourne.... A very special restaurant; and thankfully one I can now access on a more regular basis. The food is always creative and impressive. You always feel comfortable, and the small basements space feels spacious, even if the tables are rather close. Another big drawcard is Ezard's service, which is faultless; perfectly balancing professionalism with passion, knowledge and witt - the ingredients for success.

Ezard received a score of 17 out of 20 in the 2012 Age Good Food Guide and was awarded Two Chefs Hats, a status it has held for the last five years, before experiencing three. Its been running strong since 1999 and I think it is worthy of Three Hats, but maybe I'm just a tad bit biased.

MY RATING:  18.5/20 - Food 9/10 Service 5/5 Ambience 4.5/5 - Truly one of Australia's great dining destinations. 


Ezard on Urbanspoon

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  posted at 8:57 AM  


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Name: Jon!

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