Review: BLACK by Ezard (Autumn Menu 2016) – Pyrmont (Sydney)

The ultra-slick Black by Ezard has been a staple for Sydney’s discerning diners for almost five years now, maintaining the high standards of celebrity chef and owner Teage Ezard with what is presented as a modern modern grill and steak house that feels premium and casual at the same time, an ambiance upheld by it’s elegant look, which was handled by Paul Kelly Design (Sokyo, Supper Club), and gentle, welcoming service. Illuminated by the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows which face Pyrmont Bay, each individual table feels private and exclusive, particularly the several booths that dot the darkened floor and the extravagant private dining rooms (there are two) which are given shine from lavish chandeliers. The space is gorgeous and intimate, tucked away from the obnoxiousness of the casino floor with a sleek, seductive atmosphere that’s perfect for this kind of cuisine.

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You can tell from the moment you walk in; this is not somewhere you want to be dining on a budget, lest you miss out on the proper Black by Ezard experience. No, it’s best to come here with money to spend so you are unfettered when exploring the restaurant’s new Autumn menu, which Exec. Chef Dany Karam has been expanded to include even more cuts of meat, since BLACK by Ezard is well known for the way they handle their steaks, most of which are smoked with cherry wood to bring out a richness and body that makes any of the price tags seem almost negligible.

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A more extensive menu doesn’t mean the restaurant’s signatures have seen much of a change though, and those who have been before will be glad to know that the Farm Egg ($28) is still here and all of it’s textural magnificence, served with potato and leek cream, jamón ibérico, and herb salad. The shell of entangled brik pastry that encase the runny, slow-cooked organic farm egg is soft, thin, and slightly salt, intensified by the rich soupy potato and leek cream and hints of white truffle oil. The top quality ham is long and thin, adding a nice melt-in-your-mouth fattiness to the dish that is balanced out by the fresh herb salad that sits on top of it all. It’s a beautiful dish in look, texture, and taste; easily justifying it’s endearing position as a must-have staple the restaurant.

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At the start of the meal, you’ll receive a golden buttery soft mini-loaf of house-made brioche; try to resist finishing it all before the Farm Egg arrives, before you’ll really want to be soaking up some of that cream ( assuming you like to indulge in strong flavours when dining out).

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Though meats are at the forefront of BLACK, the kitchen are equally skilled with seafood, and so a newly added entree of Tuna Tartare ($28) is a good pick, coming with yuzu emulsion, green onion, sesame, and crispy rice cracker. There’s hints of lime and dashi in the centre of the diced tower of yellowfin, breaking through the fatty taste of the fish to add a little zing, complemented by a small kick of wasabi tobiko.

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It’s worth taking your time (and staff suggestions) when perusing the comprehensive list of steaks, but equally important are the sides to accompany those quality cuts. Taking a look at the modest but flashy list of salads is worthwhile, giving you the likes of Fig Salad ($26) with buffalo mozzarella, house-made duck ham, candied walnut, bitter leaves, and white balsamic dressing. It’ll alleviate some of the guilt that may come with the necessary sides of Mac & Cheese ($10) with a three cheese (gruyere, cheddar, and comté) sauce and bacon crumbs, as well as a creamy, steaming hot Cauliflower Gratin ($10) with nutmeg and mixed herbs.

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A good main to choose is the Pork ($45) with pork belly, pork tenderloin and crispy puffed skin, celeriac cream puree, apple puree, apple gel, mustard emulsion, and apples that have been compressed with jalapeno to add a bit of heat. This is a complex dish, artfully plated with so many different, disparate and subtle flavours anchored by the excellent pork. The tenderloin is the most valuable on the plate, hiding tenderly under a crispy skin that has been crumbed with spices, giving it an earthy smack before you reach that full-flavoured meat.

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Karam will likely recommend something like the recently added Skirt 600 day ration fed wagyu ($56) which comes in four pieces, totaling 200g of this premium MBS 9+ meat. It’s an outside skirt as well, so it’s very tender and flavourful, rich from the aforementioned cherry wood with a slightly caramelised flavour. You’ll want to chew all of that juice out to get your moneys worth.

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For dessert, something zesty that fizzled on the tongue like freshly made lemonade is the Lemon Aspen Curd ($20) that comes plated with sheep yoghurt ice, native thyme, dessert lime meringue, poppy seeds, and almond crumble on the top. It’s a shock to the palate at first with a strong, acidic taste, more distinctive but less theatrical than the Chocolate ($23). BLACK’s chocolate dessert is one of those that you’ve no doubt seen on viral videos, where the shell slowly melts away once warm chocolate syrup is poured on, revealing the actual dessert. It’s likely the table will want to whip out their phones and take a video of this one before the waiter pours the liquid on because the milk chocolate shell melts away quite quickly, making way of a warm couverture ganache with peanuts, banana sorbet, and cookie crumble.

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BLACK by Ezard is often seen as a “special occasion” restaurant, but it’s hard to wait between events with a menu like this on offer. There’s plenty of choice, and a consistency in quality that similar restaurants strive for and rarely achieve. It’s easy to want for some bigger portions when the mains are so pricey, but the focus on fully flavoured dishes is a good enough reason to live a little.

BLACK by Ezard

Address: Harbourside, The Star Level G/, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Contact: +61 2 9657 9109
Website: http://www.blackbyezard.com.au/