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By Marissa Ciampi
November 10, 2020
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By Marissa Ciampi
November 10, 2020
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Bistro Rex's Nick and Kirk Mathews-Bowden have teamed up with Chef Ben Sears (Paper Bird, Moon Park) to open Ezra — a love letter to Tel Aviv, a city on Israel's Mediterranean coast.

The trio hopes to bring a taste of this city Kings Cross, where Ezra has opened inside an old terrace house. Its design takes cues from Tel Aviv's byzantine and bauhaus architecture, with many curves and lots of earthy tones.

The space boasts two plant-filled courtyards — one out back and one in the front — a long walnut bar and a large mosaic archway, made using handmade Lebanese tiles. Floral sculptor Tracy Deep makes dried native arrangements for the space, too, while local artist Amy Hunter has created original pieces for the walls.

Apart from table seating, diners can pull up a stool at both the bar and in front of the open kitchen. Expect family-style dining here, with the menu split into small snacks, salads and larger charcoal-grilled dishes.

On the snacks front, there's spanner crab falafel ($6), gildas with salmon pastrami and pickled chilli ($5) and hummus with smoked egg ($14). We think the latter is best scooped up with pita ($4) or a Jerusalem bagel ($5). Larger dishes include chicken baked in vine leaf ($29), lamb shoulder and prune tagine ($29) and roast cauliflower with haloumi ($17), while desserts feature the likes of almond milk panna cotta ($12) and an ice cream baklava sandwich ($7).

Cassandra Hannagan

At Moon Park and Paper Bird, Sears was known for his riffs on Korean, Japanese and Chinese dishes, and he's incorporating some of those flavours into the dishes at Ezra, too. The whole flounder ($39), for example, is cooked in chickpea miso.

To accompany the food, a relatively succinct wine list spans both "natural" and "nostalgic", meaning you can get pét-nats, orange and minimal-intervention wines alongside a classic chablis.

Apart from wine, there's a short cocktail list, created by a friend from Melbourne's Black Pearl. On it is a paloma ($20), a limonana ($20) — a gin-spiked Israeli mint lemonade that's been shaken with lemon sorbet — and a play on a Brazilian batida de coco ($20). That last one is a dark rum-based drink similar to a piña colada, but the Ezra version uses natural yoghurt instead of coconut milk.

Images: Cassandra Hannagan

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