A (long) Sunday champagne lunch
Fine food, champagne and glorious Sydney sunshine
Smartphone, emails, social media – the modern, connected world moves at a blistering pace. It’s no wonder, noodlies, Sydney food blog is exhausted all the time.
Maybe, it’s time for a break…
With fine dining on the nose, BLACK by ezard is shaking things up with effervescent value – three courses with continuously flowing, bubbling, popping Moet. Melbourne based Teage Ezard describes his food as “Australian freestyle” which sounds broad to the point of being vague. Those who have experienced his Melbourne establishments; plush ezard, and funky Gingerboy or have bought his cookbook, Lotus would know, Australian freestyle is a nod to our multicultural country – particularly Asian flavours.
In Sydney, BLACK by ezard is part of the gleaming The Star makeover, a push to broaden the casino’s image beyond pokies and Asian gambling whales. Ironically, in Sydney, where the population is more Asian-ised, BLACK by ezard serves up, er, steaks. The mystery is convincingly cleared up by the Sydney Morning Herald, apparently you can’t have a casino without a decent steak fine diner.
Perhaps it’s in recognition of Sydney’s punishing pace, both inside and outside the casino, last month BLACK by ezard introduced Sunday Champagne Lunch, a leisurely three hour affair with continuously flowing champagne, (starts noon and ends at 3pm). The three course menu includes a choice of four starters, six mains and four desserts for a bargainous $125, though you’ll need to fork out extra for ribeye and rumcap steak mains. Did I mention free flowing Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial?
Beef tartare with heirloom beets, spiced herb mayonnaise, mustard ice cream, puffed wild rice is a glorious vision. It evokes autumn soil, different colours and textures scattered on the ground (including wild rice grubs) with creamy, beef tartare soil hidden under a cellophane red beetroot canopy. They work in subtle harmony, punctured with salty crispy wild rice.
The highlight of the lunch is pork hock, slow roasted crispy fried apple and pear slaw green chilli caramel. Here, the Asian influence is apparent. Fresh, zesty salad with umami depth, teamed with thick, moist pork that has a slightly charred skin. Hearty and lively, it’s my favourite dish of the day.
Ocean trout with herb crusted witlof, black garlic jam, parsley emulsion, parsnip puree, fish crackle, hazlenuts is both substantial and dainty.
Duck breast, pan roasted, pumpkin cream, black figs, honey and Sichuan pepper, spiced citrus jus – tender medium rare pieces of aromatic duck set off beautifully with Sichuan pepper and tropical flavours.
Chocolate, warm couverture ganache, dulce de leche ice cream, peanut butter mousse is a sinful mess. Watch the noodlies video below – it arrives as an intriguing ball, at the table it’s poured with warm ganache, made with extra cocoa butter richness, to reveal creamy, milky ice cream. Intense chocolate and peanut butter – nothing could be better.
The deconstructed strawberry shortcake, mascarpone and vanilla custard, yoghurt lime sorbet, strawberry consommé is a Rococo treasure, each delectable component naked and ready for devouring.
What the menu doesn’t mention is the stunning Darling Harbour views; tables spaced along the length of the floor to ceiling windows which open, vertical louvre-style. On a blazing Sydney afternoon, it welcomes the elements – completely inspired. The décor aims for restrained plush comfort, perhaps being too mindful of the neighbouring garishness. The ground level semi-private dining room is a stunner, tantalising the voyeur.
On this lovely, relaxing afternoon, service was faultless; effortless (well, they made it seem effortless) and efficient. Someone was there when needed, invisible when not. Each interaction was friendly and warm, helpful but never condescending.
It wasn’t a massage but we left, relaxed, re-energised and very satisfied.
Sunday Champagne Lunch,
BLACK by ezard
WINTER SALAD crispy artichoke, kipfler potato, whipped goats curd, sherry vinaigrette
PORK slow cooked terrine, breaded, crispy fried, garlic and chilli emulsion, pickled shitake mushrooms, misosesame wafers
BEEF TARTARE heirloom beets, spiced herb mayonnaise, mustard ice cream, puffed wild rice
PRAWNS sautéed spencer gulf, white cheese polenta, compressed watermelon, jalapeno peppers, roast corn salad, crispy pancetta
DUCK BREAST pan roasted, pumpkin cream, black figs, honey and sichuan pepper, spiced citrus jus
AGNOLOTTI handmade, sweetcorn and macadamia, cauliflower cream, oyster mushrooms, lemon and parmesan
OCEAN TROUT herb crusted witlof, black garlic jam, parsley emulsion, parsnip puree, fish crackle, hazelnuts
FILET grass fed angus 200g, green beans, lemon butter, mushroom sauce
RIBEYE grain fed 150 day angus 400g, green beans, lemon butter, mushroom sauce (+10)
RUMPCAP grain fed wagyu MBS 9+ 250g, green beans, lemon butter, mushroom sauce (+$25)
POTATO buttered puree 10
BABY LETTUCES grapefruit, almonds, tarragon dressing 10
CHIPS parmesan oil, rosemary salt 10
BRUSSEL SPROUTS bacon, walnut, french dressing 10
CAULIFLOWER fried warm salad, golden raisins, cashew nuts 10
GRATIN leek, brioche, chives, gruyere cheese 10
HONEYCRUNCH clover honey parfait, ginger biscuit, honeycomb and cinnamon
STRAWBERRY shortcake, mascarpone and vanilla custard, yoghurt lime sorbet, strawberry consommé
CHOCOLATE warm couverture ganache, dulce de leche ice cream, peanut butter mousse
CHEESE PLATTER four cheeses served with accompaniments 28
3 COURSES $125
INCLUDING NV MOËT & CHANDON BRUT IMPERIAL
12noon – 3pm
BLACK by ezard
Level G, Harbour Side
801 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont 2009 Sydney
(02) 9777 9000
This noodlies, Sydney food blog experience was courtesy of BLACK by ezard.