Black by Ezard is fairly removed from Teage Ezard’s Asian-leaning Melbourne establishments: it's a glitzy and expansive steak house looking out to Pyrmont Bay, where the high rollers feed before dropping said rolls of cash.
The fitout is pretty amazing, incorporating a stunning wine cellar in full view of anyone passing the casino’s front entrance and a classy bar area where serious cocktails are had. It was particularly difficult to resist the bar food menu while perched at the bar perusing the cocktail list ahead of a dinner reservation.
|Wagyu sliders at Black Bar, The Star, Pyrmont|
Just one bite through the buttery mini brioche bun, the flavours of rich, melty cheese and ridiculously juicy wagyu beef pattie meld and party on the palate. Pickles join the affair at the peak, and it starts all over again at the next bite.
Dripping all over my hands as I sipped a Charlie Chaplin (my new favourite cocktail with apricot brandy, sloe gin and lemon), I didn’t want the slider to end; the combination of tastes and textures was just naughtily divine.
The chicken was saucily spicy, a little salty with the blue cheese, and the softened celery an interesting twist. It was possibly not the best dish with the Bobby Burns cocktail of Pig’s Nose Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth and Benedictine.
|Brioche, butter and black volcanic salt flakes at Black by Ezard, The Star, Pyrmont|
It’s easy to draw comparisons to another city steak house, but I try not to, especially as the glossy brioche loaf arrives with a pat of butter and black volcanic salt flakes apparently from Hawaii. The richness of the brioche doesn’t need any more butter, but my excuse is that it helps the salt flakes stick.
Perusing the iPad wine list, there’s incredible variety in wines by the bottle and somewhat less so by the glass. I selected my glass of Malbec without advice, but it turned out to be a fabulous match to the steaks.
|Organic farm egg, potato cream, truffles, iberico ham, herb salad|
The foamy potato cream and strip of iberico ham laid aside add a little more substance, but I think you have to be a real egg lover to be enthralled by this dish.
|Prawns butter poached, wood grilled watermelon, corn salad|
The flavours were fairly subdued but all the components matched well enough, particularly when smothered in the creamy corn puree. I enjoyed the varied textures, especially the vibrantly red and juicy watermelon strips.
One thing I noticed about the Black by Ezard menu is that provenance of ingredients is not highlighted, so I’m not sure where my prawns were from, nor from where the steaks are sourced. I wonder if it’s just a Sydney restaurant trend, but it might be nice to know where my cow comes from.
|Flat iron, grain fed wagyu, MBS 9+, 200g|
I wonder if this small-ish cut, cooked medium-rare, still receives the sous vide treatment which all Black by Ezard steaks apparently do, which is more than justifiable on the man-sized steak that I ordered.
|Rib eye, dry aged grass fed angus, 400g|
A few edge parts of the steak were a little tough and more medium than my requested medium-rare, but the main game was satisfyingly juicy and meaty – my preference over the luxurious creaminess of high marble-scored wagyu beef.
There was a nice level of spice in the chimichurri to keep the 400 grams of beef interesting, but despite my valiant attempt, I conceded defeat many, many, many minutes into the game, when I couldn’t take another mouthful of cold steak.
|Cos, chorizo, piquillo pepper, heirloom carrot|
The salad ended up being a bit of a surprise in that chorizo wasn't easy to find; the finely diced sausage barely registering its presence in sight or taste.
More abundant were thin rounds of what I thought were radish, but the white-inner, purple-outer root vegetable turned out to be heirloom carrot. With our meaty mains, the light dressing on the crunchy cos lettuce was most appreciated.
|Parsnip fritters, coconut, turmeric caramel|
There was no room for dessert after, essentially, three substantial savoury courses. The Black by Ezard experience was much like what I would imagine dining in a Las Vegas casino would be: decent food, slick service, lots of action and for The Star, a very good bet.