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, BLACK by ezard 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 employed by Ezard and his team is timeless. An eight-course tasting menu might begin with an oyster soaked in yuzu, cucumber and apple; then move onto a tenderly wrapped scallop dumpling in a hot and sour broth, topped with fine strands of dried chilli. Things really ramp up with the incredible eight-score Sher Wagyu beef fillet with smoked potato, tongue and cucumber pickle; and the finishing dark-chocolate sphere served with tonka beans and sour cherry.
A la carte is more substantial but no less inventive. The butter-poached marron with spiced granola and citrus sabayon (a mousse-like sauce made with white wine) might grab your attention, as might the master stock-fried pork hock in chilli caramel. 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.