Fans of Teage Ezard are no doubt planning a trip to Coldstream in Victoria's Yarra Valley to check out this top Australian chefs’ latest venture — a 100-seat restaurant among the vines and wines. “Ezard at Levantine Hill is very much Ezard-esque," says the two-hatted chef. "It will have our signature modern ‘free-style’ approach to cooking, with an all-day tapas-style restaurant. However the wines are the major factor in the dish choices, as they will be created to match those made by winemaker Paul Bridgeman.”
If you’re familiar with the Yarra, then you’ll know it's famous for cool climate whites such as chardonnays, pinot noirs and sparkling varieties, and that the produce is some of the finest coming out of regional Australia. It's a match made in heaven.
Ezard, who was trained in Europe under the tutelage of revered Swiss-born chef Hermann Schneider has established himself as a contemporary chef and businessman around for the long haul. “We don’t set boundaries at my restaurants. That gives myself and our head chefs the chance to interpret different cultures and cuisines and not be confined by any one influence. We focus on achieving balance and then refine the dishes. It’s all about ying and yang.”
Achieving the ultimate balance in outstanding dishes will always be key for Ezard, but at his new Levantine Hill location, the meals are more European influenced, with Ezard commenting that galangal, kaffir lime and chili will not be on the menu. So for fans of Ezard's hugely popular Melbourne restaurant Gingerboy (offering a modern Australian adaptation of Asian hawker-style street market food), it’s going to be a fresh culinary ride experienced on a Yarra River terrace overlooking the vines. Word has it that riverside accommodation is on the cards as well.
Ezard’s flagship restaurant and his namesake — Ezard — is in the heart of Melbourne's CBD theatre and dining precinct. It has firmly stood the test of time, continually attracting both new and loyal customers. The sophisticated design of the restaurant, the welcoming, exceptionally educated staff, and the paired-back simplicity of décor, art and beautifully chosen plateware are testimony to the fact that this top chef will continue to thrive on the fine-dining scene. In fact, it’s predicted that Ezard and his multi-million dollar offering (being heralded as the biggest thing since Domaine Chandon’s launch in 1986) will attract around 100,000 visitors annually to the Yarra Valley. Not a bad foodie injection for a shining example of Australian wine country.