Spawned from a wisecrack about starting an inner city venue, new Armenian restaurant Sezar fast became a reality for head chef, Garen Maskal and his business partners, Aret and Sasoon Arzadian.
Maskal's Armenian background and close-knit family ties are the inspirations behind Sezar. The restaurant was named after his influential grandmother, and Maskal admits to tweaking his mum's family favourite boreg recipe for the menu, too.
Nestled inside the old Canary Club, Sezar flaunts its rich Armenian history through a graffitied mural depicting Mount Ararat, which commands a presence over the restaurant's otherwise minimalist and sleek design. "We wanted to showcase images of Armenia that would be meaningful and have an interesting story behind them that people could ask about," Maskal says.
The dim lighting, sophisticated cocktails and fragrant smell of spices all add to the charm of Sezar, but it’s Maskal’s take on a centuries-old favourite that will impress most. His "new style" baklava takes the form of an "ice-cream sandwich", with Ricketts point vanilla and walnut praline ice-cream enveloped between layers of buttery filo pastry and then doused in salted caramel.
After all this, a digestif might be on the cards, and fortunately an after-hours cocktail bar is set to open upstairs in mid-March.
6 Melbourne Place, Melbourne
(03) 9663 9882
Mon to Sat 5.30pm-late
Thurs to Fri noon-late