While planning for my extended Melbourn sojourn, I researched restaurants that would be must visits. One that consistently floated to the top of all best restaurant lists I found was ezard by renown chef Teague Ezard.
Specializing in ‘Australian freestyle’ cuisine made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, ezard offers a memorable experience for the foodie. Teague says, “I love the food we create, the focus on flavour and texture, heavily influenced by Asian techniques, in particular Thai, Indonesian and Chinese. I believe that at ezard we ‘taste outside the square’, presenting unusual combinations where flavour is paramount.”
Upon arrival, I was surprised to find a simple door and stairs leading down into the small, intimate yet formal, subterranean space. My dinner companion and I elected to have the full degustation menu, but you can select a la carte or a smaller pre-theatre dinner menu. The full experience, complete with wine took about four hours and isn’t cheap, but was worth every penny. Actually, we would have lingered even longer but by the end my jet lag reached new heights and I was struggling to stay awake.
If degustation is a new word for you, it is defined by Wikipedia as, “a culinary term meaning a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company. Dégustation is more likely to involve sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. Usually consisting of eight or more courses, it may be accompanied by a matching wine degustation which complements each dish.”
The menu served us was below and every course was exceptional, every morsel a delicious creation. I would suffer through a 14 hour time difference jet lag for the pleasure of enjoying a meal like this anytime!
Eight Course Tasting Menu
We started with an amuse-bouche (a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre)
Course 1 = japanese inspired oyster shooter served with 2002 pol roger brut, champagne, france
Course #2 = mezcal cured salmon, pickled snow pea salad, wasabi jam, smoked yoghurt, sesame seed crisp and tangerine vinaigrette served with 2012 kirei shuzo ‘karakuchi 80’ junmai nama genshu sake, hiroshima, japan
Course #3 = steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil cress and tom kha served with 2011 j. hofstatter gewurztraminer, alto adige, italy
Course #4 = salad of beetroot, asparagus, witlof and black fig, serrano jamon, whipped goats curd, hazelnut dressing served with 2009 bella ridge estate chenin blanc, swan valley, western australia
Course #5 = crispy skin baby barramundi with caramelised eggplant, tomato and lime salad, yellow curry dressing served with 2012 levantine hill estate rose, yarra valley, victoria
Course #6 = slow cooked pork belly, five spice pear pudding, fennel salad, pressed apple, pedro ximenez jus served with 2011 eric bordelet ‘brut tendre’ cidre, normandy, france
Course #7 = chinese style roast duck, green chilli and oyster sauce dressing with coconut rice and mustard greens 2005 gaja ‘pieve santa restituta’ brunello di montalcino, tuscany, italy
If you opt for ezard, I suggest you book a reservation a couple of weeks in advance, +61 3 9639 6811. Located at 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, its conveniently within two blocks of hotels like the Grand Hyatt and Westin.
Lunch Mon – Fri, 12 pm – 2:30 pm
Dinner Mon – Sat, 6 pm – 10:30 pm