Ezard is unapologetically fine-dining. The tablecloths are white, the cutlery’s silver and the service is totally pro. Opened in 1999, it’s the flagship venue for chef Teage Ezard, the restaurateur behind Gingerboy and Ezard @ Levantine Hill. But there’s a reason the original is still around: great food is never faddish.
Fusing Asian and French cooking was fashionable in the ’90s, but the sweet/salty/sour/spicy nexus developed by Ezard and tweaked by head chef Jarrod Di Blasi is timeless. An eight-course tasting menu might begin with an oyster soaked of yuzu, cucumber and apple; then move onto a tenderly wrapped scallop dumpling in a soy-mirin broth. Things really ramp up with the incredible eight-score Sher Wagyu beef fillet with smoked potato, tongue and mushroom; and the finishing dark-chocolate sphere served with passionfruit curd and kaffir-lime ice-cream.
A la carte is more substantial but no less inventive. The Chinese-style duck with tempura eggplant, lotus root, fermented chilli and spring onion might grab your attention. Ditto for the twice-cooked pork belly with blood plum, balsamic glaze, five spice and native mint. It's a successor of sorts to the master stock-fried pork hock in chilli caramel, which was a signature at Ezard for more than a decade. Vegetarians are well catered for, with their own eight-course degustation.
Through it all, expect an artful nouvelle-cuisine aesthetic. Dishes are cookbook-ready, without the fussy theatre of some other fine-diners. The space itself plays a strong part in the Ezard experience, too. The subterranean, moodily lit venue is transportive to, say, a New York basement; and the waitstaff is polished but never stiff.
The wine list is expectedly eclectic. Local gems such as Castagna’s Harlequin field blend are listed alongside a Premier Cru from Burgundy, plus unusual bottles from America, South Africa and the Canary Islands. These add up to special-occasion prices, but that’s okay. Ezard’s a special occasion in itself.