Downstairs below the Aldephi Hotel on Flinders Lane is Ezard, the romantic, intimate Asian fusion restaurant owned by chef and restauranteur Teage Ezard. Since 1999, the restaurant has become known as one the best in Melbourne. I had the pleasure of dining there on the weekend. I had a three course meal, which engaged all of my senses.
First my fellow diners and I were offered an amuse-bouche. The bite-sized portion of delicate flavours were a preview of what we could expect from the menu which was placed before us. Ordering a glass of rosé, I read through the menu and ordered my entree and main.
The entree I chose was a gnocchi smothered with a creamy sauce of manchego cheese, raisins, dried olives and topped with toasted brioche crumble. As with all good gnocchi, the petite pillows melted in my mouth and transported me to food heaven.
My main course featured King George whiting with Jerusalem artichoke, cauliflower, sorrel sauce, lemon and seasonal herbs. Once again, the perfectly cooked fish melted in my mouth. The vegetables, sauce and herbs complemented the delicate fish.
Unable to decide on which dessert to choose from the tempting menu, we opted to go for the tasting plate. Many of the desserts were fruity, with just one really decadent chocolate dessert; a dome of dark chocolate and coffee ganache over hazelnut parfait and surrounded by caramelized popcorn. The other standout for me was the fromage frais cheesecake with kaffir lime jelly, toasted almond crumble and a refreshing guava sorbet.
Feeling just full enough without being uncomfortable, we left the restaurant happy with the service, the waiters were knowledgeable and attentive without being overbearing. The food at Ezard is Melbourne fine fining at its best and the flavours impeccable. The restaurant is deserving of the two chef hats it was awarded by The Age Good Food Guide this year.