We love Middle-Eastern cuisine simply because of the rich and sweet flavours from the spices, dried fruits and nuts. This time we chose Sezar, a modern Armenia restaurant in the city. Where exactly is Armenia geographically? Armenia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran to the south. The most famous Armenians we all know are the Kardashians no doubt. Do you think Kim can cook some traditional Armenian dishes at her LA home? Armenian cuisine infused with the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern food cultures. Chef Garen Maskal cast his modern magic wand to the centuries-old dishes resulting in some truly scrumptious dishes at Sezar.
Sezar is nestled in a two-story building at Melbourne Place just off Russell Street. As you entered through the door, the modern Gothic chandelier hanging down from the high ceiling will immediately catch your attention. The interior design is minimalist and the atmosphere is cosy and warm. We have our table at the comfy corner of the mezzanine. Friday night at 10 pm the restaurant was still fully packed with happy diners.
The menu has an interesting selection of classic dishes with the modern twists. There are a variety of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes to keep the meat eaters, pescetarian or vegetarian happy. Here is the selection of dishes we chose for the night.
Kataifi wrapped lamb neck, sesame mayo - delicious meat cigars of succulent lamb wrapped with crispy kataifi. Never thought the combination of lamb and tahini mayo can be so yum. Instead of the normal filo pastry, the use of kataifi gives that extra crunch. A very moreish starter indeed.
Bastourma & egg - Armenian air-dried beef, garlic jam & toasted brioche. Look at those marbled curls bastourma, they are tender and packed with great flavours from the spices. This bite-sized starter is another delicious version of the classic bastourma and eggs which is commonly served as breakfast in the Middle-Eastern countries.
Homus / hummus - topped with brown butter and served with lavash. Always love hummus, the brown butter added the extra buttery taste which is a perfect dip with the hot fluffy lavash.
Duck boreg, lemon labne - crispy filo pastry filled with tender slow-cooked duck meat. Borek filled with spinach and feta or minced lamb are very common in Melbourne food scene. This one filled with duck meat is a real treat. The lemon labne lightened the boreg with the lovely tangy flalvour.
BBQ oyster mushroom, green chermoula - this Middle-Eastern spicy salsa verde goes so well with the grilled mushroom. A vegetarian delight!
Smoked 1/2 chicken - tasty moist chicken served with buckwheat, green olive and pistachio salsa. I do love this salsa, both the textures and flavours are just so good. Perfect match with the smoked chicken.
Dessert tasting plate - kataifi cheesecake with honey, Iranian figs and sumac sorbet; honey cake with quince, cardamon cream, nuts and seeds; chocolate ganache with spiced hazelnuts, honeycomb and orange blossom; new style baklava. What a delectable plate showcasing the modern Middle-Eastern dessert creation. Just wow!
New style baklava - flaky buttery filo pastry sandwich of walnut toffee ice-cream, topped with chopped walnut and salted caramel. Just sensational!
2011 Pheasant's Tears Rkatsiteli - this amber wine from Kakheti, Georgia is delightful. Lovely peach and pear stone fruit to the palate. My first introduction to amber wine. The mocktail is called sumac fizz - scrumptious sumac sorbet, elderflower, citrus and soda. The wine list at Sezar has a good selection from Australia and France. Also a small section of unchartered wine from Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Croatia, Lebanon and Morocco which we should try in our next visit after completing the Dry July challenge.
My favourite savoury - Kataifi wrapped lamb neck, sesame mayo
My favourite dessert - New style baklava
If you love the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine, you will certainly enjoy the modern Armenian dishes at Sezar. Delicious classic dishes with some modern twists which are exciting and very palatable. Friendly staff with attentive service, cosy atmosphere, yummy food and exquisite wine list, so what not to like? Sezar is a delightful place for a romantic dinner or simply catch up with family and friends. Hope you will enjoy the modern Armenian food as much as we do. Bon appetit!
6 Melbourne Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9663 9882