It’s viva Las Vegas with a full American experience at the Star’s new glamour grill Black by Ezard. A really good bet for a top Sydney dinner. By Renate Ruge
A glass of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir with a pretty rose flush bubbles with strawberry, raspberry and subtle cinnamon tones and makes for a sparkling opening to dinner at Black by Ezard, the new super chic bistro at Sydney’s casino The Star.
American wines as yet mostly untapped by other Sydney restaurants take centre stage here. The 800 plus wines on the list are thankfully are presented by iPad and over 250 of the featured drops hail from Napa and Sonoma and other regions of the United States. Black’s sommelier James Audas has gone for emerging labels and cult wines from local regions like Orange and the Hunter Valley as well as the best of everything from around the world.
Top chef Teage Ezard of Melbourne’s Gingerboy fame is the restaurateur but Black gets an added American edge from the Vegas-born man in the kitchen, executive chef Michael Tripp.
The restaurant’s glass walls over look the waterside entrance to the casino with cool views of Sydney wharfs and the Harbour Bridge.
The Star has only been reopened for a few weeks and thanks to its $850 million refurbishment everything feels slick and polished. A particularly warm welcome greets diners by the front of house team headed up by the charming Craig Hemmings formerly of Guillaume at Bennelong. They have worked at the cream of Sydney’s restaurant crop and really know their stuff.
Dinner here is a decadent affair like the starter of seared foie gras served with a peach and yuzu puree and a hazelnut and pistachio crumble.
The delicious kingfish sashimi starter is a lighter affair, where lovely textures of silky slithers kingfish and smooth sesame and truffle custard are punctuated with a crunch of crisp puffed rice and crystallized wakame seaweed.
Mains should involve something from the grill whether it be a char grilled ocean trout fillet from Tasmania or one of a long list of Wagyu steaks cooked in a sous-vide, which come with sauces on the side served in tiny copper pans.
There’s also the slightly OTT (over the top) poaching of signature seafood dishes in water sourced from the coast of Kona, Hawaii.
And even sides stick to the decadent theme with asparagus cooked in butter and tossed with pancetta, spring peas are perked up with bacon and the potato gratin has an outrageously rich and cheesy Parmesan crust. The Cabernet Napa Valley, Rutherford is a good wine match for the meat and the Zinfandel Bomarito 2007 from Sonoma is light and beautifully quaffable.
Look around and you are likely to catch a glimpse of a sporting star or a visiting celebrity (we spotted Adrian Grenier from TV’s Entourage and heard Leonardo DiCaprio was here too.)
The atmosphere is fun as people may come for starters and main before heading to a concert or show and popping back in for desert (which is worth prolonging your night for), settling into the rich brown leather seats, secluded banquettes and cosy corners under low sultry lighting.
A 2009 Horrocks Clare Valley sticky (dessert wine) is a sweet soul mate to the fresh citrus flavours of the lemon curd dessert and its pink grapefruit, buttery citrus shortbread, candied endive and liquorice dust combo.
Finally a shot of Espresso Hitachioni stout – a cool coffee tasting beer – is a refreshing change especially paired with a show-stopping chocolatey ganache desert.
Black by Ezard
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Phone: 1800 700 700
Cost: around $190 for two plus wine.