New sommelier at Ezard

Ezard has had a few changes recently – nothing that would do anything but enhance its ever-so-smooth operation, so they were definitely worth checking out.  For starters – there were a few menu changes that justified some investigation.  And with the departure of their wonderful sommelier Jeanette Clark on maternity leave – I was curious to meet their new sommelier, and put him through his paces. So, it’s a good time to give an update and investigate all things new. 

My partner in crime for this visit was the gorgeous Ms T-bird.   It was her first visit – I do love it when I take newbies and they can enjoy the amazingness that is Ezard and its brilliant front of house team led by Quentin Ferguson, and the inspired kitchen team led by Sharn Greiner.

The new sommelier is Brendan Bennett, who most recently did a stint at the Atlantic with Donovan Cooke. His self authored twitter profile describes him as a drummer, wine enthusiast, and avid photographer who loves dining and travelling. I think we’re in for a good time!  We set him up to match wines for us, just to put him through his paces.

The amazing, gorgeous, delightful Ezard condiments

My first job was to introduce T-Bird to the wonderful oils and condiments that, with their gorgeous bread, form a course in and of themselves. 

Amuse Bouche

Our amuse bouche was a gorgeous mouthful of ocean trout with crunchy and smooth textural elements.  One spoon is not enough!

Steamed blue swimmer crab dumplings with yarra valley salmon roe, celery cress and tom kha

Anyone who first visits Ezard must have the crab dumplings in tom kha sauce as their entrée – this is a non-negotiable.  One of their signature dishes, it is mind blowingly good – the crab dumplings are delicate and sweet, and the sauce is complex powerhouse of flavours that manages to be subtle and seductive.

Seared Canadian scallops, edamame puree, miso caramel, betel leaf, sesame salt

I opted for the gorgeous scallops – seared and served with an endamame puree, they are perfectly cooked with a gorgeous caramelisation.  They are complemented by some miso caramel (hello!) and fried betel leaf and sesame salt.  The scallops never disappoint!

Steamed mulloway with rice noodle rolls, Japanese plum wine dressing, Asian mushrooms and chilli sambal

Our next dish was a gorgeous sampler of the new dish on the menu – the steamed mulloway with rice noodle rolls, Japanese plum wine dressing, Asian mushrooms and chilli sambal. What a flavour packed dish – the plum wine dressing is piquant, but perfectly balanced and goes beautifully with the delicacy of the mulloway.  This dish was matched with a madeira – an unusal combination that really works!

Master stock fried pork hock, chilli caramel, spicy thai beanshoot salad and fragrant jasmine rice

For her main, T-Bird went for the pork hock!  A dish not for the faint hearted, but again – one of the amazing signature dishes that endures.  A gorgeous cylinder of melt in the mouth pork, surrounded by the thinnest crackly skin you’ve ever seen – all topped off with a chilli caramel sauce and a fresh Asian salad – it is amazing.

Eight score Sher wagyu beef with soft polenta, braised shimeji mushrooms, sticky shallot sauce and celery cress

I haven’t had the wagyu for so long – and even though it has a $20 supplement – it is amazing. Can I tell you, ever since I’ve had this dish, all I’ve been doing is craving it again!  At the moment, the gorgeous melt in the mouth wagyu is being served with soft white polenta (oh.my.goodness!), enoki mushrooms, sticky shallot sauce and celery cress.  That polenta is to die for!!

Pistachio frangipane, caramelised strawberries, tonka bean ice cream

Did we have room for dessert?????   Absolutely… For Ms T-Bird,  she took one look at the menu, saw pistachio and looked no further.  Her dish – pistachio frangipane, caramelised strawberries, tonka bean ice cream. She adored it and looked like she was in heaven!

 

Salted caramel parfait, chocolate peanut butter crunch, pressed paw paw and blackberry syrup

And excuse me while I let out a little scream of delight – because the salted caramel parfait is back!!!  The parfait is gorgeously silky and light, with the unmistakable flavour of salted caramel that makes you close your eyes and swoon.  Ahhh… life’s good.

Once again – a brilliant evening of amazing food, smashing wines, fabulous company, and outstanding service.  It’s no wonder Ezard is my happy place!  I think I’m overdue for my next visit…

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