My wife and I are big advocates of the degustation menu with matching wines. Getting the balance of enough food coupled with the right amount of wine and matching the textures as well as the flavours can be a chefs and sommeliers nightmare.
Cue Ezard at Levantine. Here is the exception and I say that having experienced it for myself.
Let me start at the beginning; Teage Ezard has come up with an exquisite menu that works so well with the quality Levantine Hill wines you are bound to walk away thinking like I did. There has been a lot of thought, care and planning gone into this.
Ora King salmon, squid ink, tapioca dust, Yarra Valley Dairy Persian fetta, chervil, salmon roe, yuzu pearls, burdock root, and finished with various succulents.
The dishes are not a meal, let me make that clear from the start but, this is a good thing. When selecting the degustation menu of your choice, whether it be the five course (with the option of an extra wagyu beef inclusion) or the eight course, there is enough food to satisfy even the most robust of eaters. The menus are so well structured and thought out. I just realised how (almost) boring that sounds. What I mean is, the dishes are served in a sequence that highlights the hero of the dish starting with lighter foods through to heavier meats, culminating in dessert.
Top: Pork belly, green pea, garlic, red wine
Bottom: Wagyu beef, ox tongue, onion, pickled shiitake, potato terrine
Another treat awaiting the taste buds is how delicately and beautifully the flavours are matched. Nothing is overpowering or dominant. Everything seems to just meld together effortlessly. I’ve only ever used this word when I’ve described a wine but, ‘balanced’ is appropriate for all of the dishes.
Apple, black sesame, fromage frais
Another aspect of their ‘way’ is the timing of presenting each course. Nothing is rushed, each course seems to appear in a timely manner and with a clear, concise verbal description of what you’re about to experience. Not in a way that is pretentious or boastful but informative and in a proud way. Gee they do a good job of this!
The whole experience is exactly that, an experience (it’s not a process like some places). You certainly feel special but you don’t feel exclusive. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s just that the Ezard team make you feel so relaxed and comfortable it is like they are bringing you your meal at your own dining table.
I know it is not within everyone’s reach but, if you get the chance to visit and eat at Ezard at Levantine Hill, special occasion or not, do so. When you leave, it will be remembered as a special occasion regardless. I have no doubt.
Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria Price: (from) $135 Source: Invitation
Next time: Levantine Hill – The Wines