As part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Ezard Restaurant held a vegetarian (with a vegan option) degustation with matched wines from the vegetarian winemaker Mark at South Gippsland wine producer Caledonia Australis.
A group of eight of us booked a table to enjoy.
I should say firstly that the dinner was very much about the wine, and we were not disappointed there. There were no mean pours, our glasses were generously filled and quite often refilled or topped up. The food was designed around the wine and was intended to complement the wine rather than the more usual other way round.
I’ve never been to Ezard before, but based on rave reviews from other vegan food enthusiasts, I had very, very high expectations.
The first couple of courses were OK, even a little disappointing, but the food picked up as we moved along. I would have paid the full price just for course number three, the zucchini flowers. It was the kind of food where every mouthful sings.
I was told by two people there, that the dishes in the usual vegan degustation are at that high standard, so I’d be happy to try again.
I’m not complaining *a lot*, but the food was a bit patchy and I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect consistently great food at that price level. But when it was good it was sublime.
We started with champagne on arrival and an amuse bouche and went on from there. Three and a bit hours later we left, replete.
So here it is:
Amuse bouche – smoky tomato, cucumber, rice crisps
Salad of pickled and raw vegetables, olive soil, orange gel, shallot and hazelnut dressing
2010 Caledonia Australis Chardonnay
Nice, but a bit difficult to eat as the raw vegetables were difficult to cut without them flying off the plate…
Blood plum poached, persimmon, black fig with a mint dressing and sesame quinoa crumble
2003 Caledonia Australis Chardonnay
Something was wrong here, we got rice crisps, not the crumble and there wasn’t a hint of dressing. The dish was really pretty bland as a result which was a disappointment.
Home made rice noodles, plum wine broth, zucchini flower stuffed with tofu, chilli sambal and black bean
2012 Caledonia Australis Pinot Noir
This was seriously good, sensational flavours, contrasting textures, utterly delicious.
Hay baked salted potato, mushrooms, black barley, beetroot chips, rocket
2009 Caledonia Australis Pinot Noir
Pretty damn yummy, though I think my potato was a little bit underdone.
Berries and sorbet (strawberry, coconut, blackberry?)
2011 Friends of Punch Noble Riesling
187 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9639 6811