Eyes bigger than our stomach's.
Definitely a problem that Em and I have. Because what sane people would insist on ordering an extra serve of fries on top of a 'feed me' menu?
Em and I would. Yup.
We met at Sezar, which resides in St Peter's old home, down a Melbourne Place, off Russell Street in the heart of the city. Here, it introduces Melbourne to Armenian food, in a cosy but cool environment.
When we arrived, we tucked into deliciously floral and colourful cocktails, a Sezar Express and Kardashian Fling, that were big on the aroma and flavour, but low on the sweetness, making them refreshing and oh so moreish. They were like fruit candy. I definitely contemplated having two.
Although Em and I are usually pretty good at picking apart menus to craft something that the both of us are excited about, there was just really too much on Sezar's menu that we couldn't make up our mind! It was one of those evil menus that just made you want to order absolutely everything…but that would be a bit too gluttonous…and expensive on the wallet.
So we opted for the second of the 'feed me' options, at $65 per person, which included the dessert tasting plate.
We blitzed through a stunning array of entrees, Harvey bay scallops with cauliflower puree, cumin caramel and zaatar were lovely (although it was a shame they weren't plumper, guess it's just not the season), the spinach and feta boreg with aleppo mayo just kind of looked like spring rolls to me on the outside, but were creamy and lush, with a perfectly crisp exterior and the cured ocean trout with apple and fennel salad with creme fraiche and roe made for a nice cool and refreshing interval. I loved seeing cured trout, there's a lovely sweetness that's so different to salmon and would love to see it on more menus!
The barbecued shiitake mushrooms with grilled haloumi, shallot and spinach cream hit us first with it's awesome aroma, a good char and a touch of smokiness. And come now, what's not to like about haloumi with everything really? It wasn't a combination I expected to see, an asian mushroom with cheese, but it worked beautifully.
The pulled lamb neck came as a little 'DIY' session, with soft fluffy steamed pita to fill with the tender lamb and tahini, which we couldn't decide whether to put on the bun first before the lamb, or if it should go on top of the lamb…and also a tabouleh, really just the perfect companion to the lamb.
The glazed pork with purslane, pomegranate and radish salad arrived at our table glistening, a shiny meat sculpture that was almost too pretty to eat. But of course, fortunately we did, as it was so tender, with a nice bit of fat on it, and totally moreish. The radish salad and little bits of pomegranate cut through the richness and the fattiness of the pork, complementing it nicely.
And of course on top of all this, we had to get the triple cooked chips with roasted garlic and aleppo pepper. I mean, how do you say no to that? I will admit, I was a little sad they weren't as crunchy as I envisioned them to be, but these thick golden fingers were just delicious. I'm assuming some form of animal fat is involved, but I won't question and just enjoy. Scrumptious.
Soon there was mild regret for having ordered the chips as the dessert platter was squeezed in on our table. On top of a grey stone slab, we are tempted by the new style baklava with crispy filo, walnut toffee ice-cream and salted caramel, the vanilla parfait with strawberries, pistachio and rose water syrup, a semolina cake with slow cooked quince, amends and creme fraiche ice-cream and a softened chocolate ganache with cardamom cake, hazelnuts and orange blossom cream.
Goodness, talk about sugar overload! All the desserts were lovely, the vanilla parfait might have had a little more rose in it than I can appreciate, but I absolutely adored the new style baklava, sweet and light and really, mostly composed of ice-cream (which is always good to me). The chocolate ganache was also a favourite, light as air but with a richness in flavour.
All in all, Sezar made for a fabulous catch up spot, with an exotic flair, where savoury and sweet come together on many of the dishes. I think I may have been a little caught up in a big of gas-bagging this particular night and did not pay as close attention to the dishes as I might usually, but it's always an excuse to come back now isn't it…?
6 Melbourne Place