187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Contemporary Australia and south-east Asia

EZARD has held one of Melbourne’s most coveted pieces of restaurant real estate on Flinders Lane since 1999. And now, 20 years later, this sleek and stylish restaurant is as exciting and innovative as when it first opened.

Under the direction of Executive Chef and Director, Teage Ezard, this eponymous restaurant began as a canvas for Teague’s now iconic “Australian freestyle” cuisine. However, 19 years after putting his stamp on Melbourne’s culinary landscape, Teague has loosened the reigns and made way for Head Chef, Jarrod Di Blasi. Part of the EZARD family since 2012, Jarrod was the Sous Chef under long-serving Head Chef, Sharn Greiner, until he stepped up to head the EZARD kitchen in 2014. Having trained under an array of highly esteemed chefs and restaurateurs in Melbourne and abroad, Jarrod had developed a strong foundation before joining EZARD. He has since shaken up Teage’s menu and picked up the 2017 Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award along the way.

Jarrod’s menu has seen old favourites disappear, with a shift in focus to seafood. Nevertheless, his changes remain true to Teage’s original food philosophy and the importance of balancing sweet, sour, salt and spice.

Dining at EZARD takes many forms. Guests can choose from a weekday express lunch, a pre-theatre dinner and a luxurious eight- course tasting menu, complete with matched wines if they wish to stray from the usual à la carte menu. Jarrod’s dishes are refined and focused, honouring the old EZARD classics with well thought out dishes, such as the Chinese-style Duck served with eggplant karaage, young lotus root, fermented chilli dressing and spring onion. A lover of seafood, Jarrod has created a selection of dishes, both small starters and larger plates, all showcasing the quality of seafood available to his kitchen.

His Steamed Scallop Dumplings with soy mirin broth, fragrant Sichuan chilli oil and preserved seaweed are a favourite, along with the Oyster Shooter topped with yuzu, cucumber and apple. Those who avoid seafood need not worry though, as Jarrod’s eight-score Sher Wagyu Beef with smoked potato croquettes, mushroom, red wine garlic jam, ox tongue and pepper jus impresses just as easily as any of the fish dishes.

The focus on quality does not waver when it comes to the drinks menu. Cocktails are as inventive and polished as the food, while the extensive wine list means the perfect drop is easily found and expertly paired with your meal.

Like the menu, the entire venue received a facelift when chefs changed hands. The stylish subterranean dining room takes on hues of navy blue, tied together with strong accents of gold, replacing the old green theme.

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