Friday, 3 August 2007

ezard

e for excitement… e for extraordinary… e for ecstasy … e for ezard (for the pedantic, that’s EZ-ard, as in TevEZ and not ease-ard). Experience high emotions at this two toque Asian influenced modern restaurant. It’s an extremely casual venue, softly lit, simply but elegantly fitted, allowing no distractions from the main attraction, the exceptional gastronomic event to follow.

Szechuan pepper, yellow rock sugar and chilli, a dashi and nori mix, olive oil infused with parmesan, rosemary and garlic… that’s just the condiments for the crusty white bread. I’m giddy already. In for a penny, in for a pound, go for the extras and get the appetisers while you “decide” whether you’re going a la carte or degustation (choice to upgrade to wagyu for main). Fetta rolled in tumeric, a flavour explosion accompanied by a salty sticky reduction of soy. The fennel and cauliflower puree soup in macchiato cup was superb, rolling down the throat like a hummer on a freeway (T). The crème fraiche provided a little heaviness and sweetness further heightened by the blue swimmer crab.

Mistakes are made. Leaving a city. Trading Babe Ruth. Turning left instead of right. Ezard’s signature Japanese oyster shooter. A mistake made good. His zany experiment has the ability to make knees buckle. The creamy oyster slides down in a pool of sake, mirin and soy but it’s the sediment of wasabi at the end which provides the unexpected but welcomed surprise, not to mention clear nasal passages. Green tea treated noodles wrapped in nori finishes a spectacular beginning.

The exhibition continues with, as T would say, food prepared with CA thoroughness and Omega precision. Flavours of sweet, sour and salty invade your palate like Pooh Bear to honey with the cuttlefish cured with lime, soft and tender contrasting the hair strands of fried leek and seaweed, escorted by a bold creamy bonito mayonnaise and sticky soy. In your face as a Fitness First marketing rep is the Thai Tom Ka broth of coconut, chilli and lime that the sweet blue swimmer crab and most elegant prawn dumpling you’ll consume floats on. This is not for the feint hearted, it’s rich and no shame for lapping the plate like a pitbull terrier. A speed hump is encountered when the next dish arrives. Resembling an ottoman croquette of oozing polenta, it’s invigorated with a cheesy parmesan crisp and poached quail egg on top, with sautéed wild mushrooms. A toilet brush in the cosmetics section, a little out of place.

Ezard continues to arouse your tastebuds with a platinum portion of just cooked steamed Suzuki sea bass, the slightly chilli xo sauce is offset by a strong Japanese plum wine and soy dressing with sour tones. You’d wish fish at your local Cantonese diner was prepared this way. Chilled as a stoner on weed listening to Bob Marley, the mild chermoula spiced quail, its gamey flavour not overpowered by the shackled restrained creamy smooth babagnoush and hung dried labna with saffron syrup adding subtle sweetness. It’s a precursor that prepares you for the main event. A showdown to determine whether the upgrade was worth it. After 8 rounds, it’s a split decision. The duck, rubik complex, gentle with the Sichuan to be not overly peppery or chilli, the coconut rice more like a risotto with the starch massaged out surrendering it’s creaminess. Together, they combined as well as Hayden and Langer at the MCG. The prime cut of tender wagyu was sublime as well, hints of the fabled truffle through a sweet shallot sauce giving it opulence Moneybags would be proud of.

One more decision to make, but it’s an easy one. Go ahead and splurge some more and don’t leave wondering, as you get a taster of all the desserts on menu. Strange… there’s no red bean soup or green tea ice cream (jokes). I’ll leave the image to describe its pleasures. Needless to say the nutty Jerusalem artichoke crème brulee, while it might leave you feeling like you’ve just seen that Nandos TV ad with the stripper mum, it’s actually surprisingly good.

e for ecstatic, e for excellent, I left ezard with a grin on my face like I found that elusive peanut that I’d dropped between the couch cushions 2 weeks ago. Top 5 restaurants I’ve been to.

4.5 / 5 yums!

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Where? 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

What? Eight course tasting menu - $130, add additional $15 for main upgrade, $15 for dessert taster and $15 for appetisers and pre-dessert.


Left to Right : Condiments, Appetisers, Oyster Shooter, Lime Cured Cuttlefish, Blue Swimmer Crab and Spicy Prawn Dumpling, Crispy Polenta, Suzuki Sea Bass, Moroccan Spiced Quail, Six + Score Wagyu Beef, Sichuan Peppered Duck,


Desserts: Poached Tamarillos, Yoghurt Sorbet and Mulled Wine Jelly, (from top left) Jerusalem Artichoke with White Truffle oil Crème Brulee; Swiss Chocolate Tart with Mandarin ice-cream and Sticky Vanilla Syrup; Pear and Praline Parfait with Pear Sorbet, Roasted Pears and Pomegranate Syrup; Honey Crunch ice cream with Toasted Gingerbread and Sugar Swirl; Apple Sable, Pistachio Crumble, Sauternes syrup and Apple Sorbet

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