New Year’s Resolutions

ezard
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Melbourne  VIC  3000
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New Year’s Resolutions… they’re funny things aren’t they?  Last year I made two New Year’s resolutions –

1.  Read all of the Harry Potter books.

I know!!! I am a nerd!  But the truth of the matter is, people all over the place kept telling me how good they were, and how they’re not just books for kids, it seemed the right thing to do. With the last instalment coming out in 3D at the movies – I decided it was time to bite the bullet and read them all in one hit.
Status:  Resolution was successfully achieved before 7 Part 2 hit the screens! And I enjoyed them all!

2. Dine at ezard once per month.

I know!!  A fabulous resolution evoking envious and disbelieving responses from most people!!
Yes – also an expensive resolution, but hey – you can’t take it with you!  And what’s better than catching up with loved ones at your favourite restaurant – not much, I say!
Status: Resolution was successfully achieved – along with a couple of additional attendances due to Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, and other special events. You could say I’m an overachiever!!

Anyway – I’ve decided that resolution # 2 should be an enduring one.  You know, kind of like an enduring power of attorney – you can’t change it without some convoluted legal paperwork.  That works for me!

Although, the challenge with this type of resolution can sometimes be finding willing participants to come along with me –  it’s a commitment not for the faint hearted!  Although I did seem to manage last year…. but if there’s any volunteers… let me know.

In the case of January – the lovely iMac was keen to enjoy an ezard night out before she had to return to work. Interestingly, in response to my last ezard post – she was going to go completely left field and order all the dishes that I ordered – very different to what she usually gets – based purely on my description!

No pressure at all !!!

So, we placed our orders and received our first slice of the special bread, so we could partake of the gorgeous bread – oil – chilli sugar combo… oh my goodness… while we waited for next instalment…

Poached prawn, cucumber gel, oyster foam and shiso cress

A divine amuse bouche to get things started – this was so fresh and light.  The cucumber gel was the real surprise, adding a lovely shot of moistness to the mouthful of flavour.  We had a great glass of French champagne with this – beautiful.  A auspicious start to our evening!

Steamed blue swimmer crab dumplings with 
Yarra Valley salmon roe, celery cress and tom kha

The signature entrée – you just can’t go wrong ordering these little babies! The noodle wrapping is so tender, the crab filling so sweet, and the tom kha sauce is so multi-layered and complex with sweet, salty, creamy, sour, and a little bit of heat.  I am never disappointed ordering this, and tonight was no different.  Absolutely gorgeous.

For my choice of wine, I normally head straight for the pinot noir, but tonight I thought I would put my choices in the hands of the very able staff!  So accompanying this dish I had the 2009 Framingham Gewurztraminer from Marlborough, New Zealand.  They did warn me that there was some residual sugar – but I’m OK with that – and I have to admit, it was a lovely foil to the gentle, complex spiciness of the tom kha sauce.

Slow cooked bangalow pork belly,
apple pudding, fennel, white peach, calvados jus

The lovely iMac had the Bangalow pork belly for her entrée.  The pork belly is always on the menu in some incarnation – but this one is very different from the usual creations. Being quite earthy, and appley – it has real warmth and umami going on. iMac was particularly impressed with the caramelisation.

Accompanying her dish, iMac had the 2008 Chestnut Hill ‘Liberty’ chardonnay – which she absolutely loves.  So she was a very happy camper!

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

For my main, I had the classic, the inimitable, the amazing – slow cooked pork hock (just remember, you need to say it slowly). This dish has been on the menu since forever,  and it must NEVER come off!  Nobody comes close to serving pork like Teage Ezard – the meat absolutely falls apart, but first you have to crack into the thinnest crackling you’ve ever seen, which is wrapped around the unctuous, fatty meat!  It’s complemented with a spicy beanshoot salad with plenty of mint and coriander, and the most amazing chilli caramel sauce which transports you to heaven.  Everybody needs to have this dish at least once in their lifetime… I did say at least once.  You may need to have it many times over.

Red roasted Barossa chicken, pea and mint fritters,
fragrant red curry and pickled cucumber salad

iMac had the red roasted Barossa chicken for her main dish – and she absolutely loved it.  Phew!! She even admitted that she doesn’t normally like pea and mint – but she loved those fritters!

Accompanying both our dishes, we had the 2009 Domaine Collotte Marsannay ‘Cuvee Vieilles Vignes’ – a lovely pinot noir from Burgundy, France.  They didn’t want me to go without my favourite!!

Wok fried asian greens

Although I was worried that we might be overcommiting ourselves, iMac ordered a side of the wok fried asian greens.  It was actually a great, light accompaniment to our mains – fresh choy sum and bok choy, some crunchy baby corn, all adorned with crispy fried shallots – delicious!

Cheese plate served with muscatels, fruit loaf and lavosh

Something a bit different for me – I opted away from the sweet desserts and went for a cheese course.  On the plate was the washed rind, and the ewe’s milk papillon.  The ewes’ milk papillon was the winner – so soft and oozing, and the rind just melded with the lusciousness of the cheese.

Mango bavarois, slow cooked peach,
sesame seed wafer and raspberry sorbet

iMac wrestled with her choices – she had shortlisted down to three, but it was a tough call.  The mango bavarois won – and she really enjoyed it.  The slow cooked peaches were beautiful and not too sweet, and the mango bavarois itself was light and fresh, yet rich enough to satisfy her craving.  It comes with a sculptured ring of sesame seed wafer and a raspberry sorbet that was mild and gentle, yet lent a ‘real zing’ to the dish!

We both had the wonderful 2009 Chateau Gravas Sauternes with our final courses.  Always a winner – it is rich, sweet and honeyed in taste, with a subtle botrytis, and a silky finish!

Thinking it was too early to go home, and easily led astray by the gorgeous Anna – we indulged in a Montenegro Amaro on ice before calling it a night!  A really great digestif – it finished off the evening beautifully! Something new for both of us – iMac promptly wrote the name down so she could buy a bottle!!

A fabulous evening – 2012 is off to a good start!

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