Nouvelle salt and pepper

condiments

It was hard to miss at the media luncheon hosted by Swissôtel last week in Melbourne – the traditional condiments had been usurped, replaced by a triple play of seasonings in dark green, pale pink and let’s call it, taupe.

We were at ezard restaurant, with its “Australian freestyle” culinary bent, so perhaps it should have come as no surprise.  Here Teage Ezard, melds Asian influences into his fare, especially Thai and Chinese.

So when the waiter brought a crusty loaf and olive oil that he declared was a product of the ezard kitchen – parmesan, garlic and rosemary infused, which they sell at $30 a bottle  – a quick dip into the colourful condiments was required.

I asked for the ingredients (not the recipe unfortunately) and L-R they were:

  • roasted wakame seaweed (50%), nori, bonito, sesame seed, dried dashi and sea salt
  • dried chilli and yellow rock sugar
  • Szechuan pepper, wok-roasted sea salt

More than meeting expectations as flavour enhancers, they were in turn:

  • a complex mouthful of marine life with mineral texture for the tongue
  • slightly sweet with the inevitable sting in the tail
  • self-confessed pepper fanboy loves this powdered heat with none of the usual grinder debris

Posing a supplementary question, as we scribes are prone to do, regarding the birthplace of the wok-roasted sea salt, it was “the Murray River”.

– Graeme Kemlo

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