But CBD dining is always relevant and we decided to go one Friday night and luckily were able to secure a reservation booking only the day before.
We were surprised that it was the "new St Peter's" and that St Peter's was no more. We'd said we'd return to St. Peters but it never happened and I guess that sort of feeling must have been common for it not to have survived. So from we head East of Italy and enjoy a taste of Armenia.
We were shown to a table for two and granted we arrived amongst others but our welcome was a little lack lustre and the table next to us who arrived after us, were given menus and told the specials before we were. Our drinks took a while and when they were taken, the waitress assumed we were ready to order but we hadn't been given our intro into the menu as yet so it was all a bit uncomfortable.
But I think the wait staff realised we had been overlooked as things improved after we ordered and warm Armenian hospitality was the order of the day.
BASTOURMA & EGG - Armenian air dried beef, quail egg, toasted brioche & garlic jam
SEARED HERVEY BAY SCALLOPS - Cauliflower puree, cumin caramel & zaatar
CRISPY POTATO & SOUJAK KOFTE - Red pepper aioli
SPANNER CRAB MANTI - Armenian dumplings, sumac yoghurt & chilli oil
The bastourma and egg was reminiscent of the Movida Cecina dish with the truffle foam and bresaola but this was in canape form and the brioche just gave a yummy toasty sweetness note that lingered after the saltiness of the bastourma and the richness of the egg. Definitely a success.
The scallops were as they should be and the spicing of it was delicious and the same goes with the kofte / croquette. The little dumplings were noteworthy. East meets West in that the filling was very Chinesey as was the paper thin wrapper but the yoghurt dressing firmly takes us back to Eastern Europe.
Defintely a good start to the meal and these little small plates were perfect appetisers in that they set us up to be ready, open and willing for more...
SPINACH & FETA BOREG - Aleppo mayo
Flaky pastry, no oily residue, spinach filling seasoned by the mayo, this little spring roll was pretty good. Not quake in your boots, this has reshaped the World good, but good enough.
PULLED LAMB NECK - Tabouleh, tahini & steamed pita
BBQ SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS - Grilled haloumi, shallot & spinach cream
TWICE COOKED CHICKEN WINGS - Pomegranate glaze & crushed pistachios
BBQ WAGYU TENDERLOIN - Garlic yoghurt & lavash
The steamed pita in the pulled lamb neck was interestingly the Asian type bao which was a surprise. The meat itself was a touch overcooked so overconcentrated almostso the flavours were strong, intense but not clear or vibrant. The tabouleh and tahini could have helped but there wasn't enough of it. So the summary is decent but not repeatworthy.
We didn't actually order the mushrooms but an oversight in the kitchen meant we were gifted this plate. We thought it would work but something extra was needed to bring it all together. The mushrooms were a little bland and the haloumi wasn't salty enough to season them. The spinach cream was grassy but quite rough in texture so each element had its own flavour and nothing quite brought it together. A little bit strange that one.
The chicken wings brought us back to food Heaven and we could have eaten more. Golden and crispy, juicy and tasty meat covered in a sticky sweet glaze with a sharp hit of citrus and pomegranate every odd bite to pierce through the stickiness.
At this point of our Armenian journey we were pretty satisfied but were umming and aahing about squeezing in another dish. Good job there are dishes of different sizes at Sezar and our waiter helped us select the skewers of tenderloin. One mini kebab each later seasoned with a zesty garic yoghurt and we were fully replete!
NEW STYLE BAKLAVA / Crispy filo, walnut toffee ice cream & salted caramel
VANILLA PARFAIT / Strawberries, pistachio & rose water syrup
I enjoyed my very prettily presented sweet dish and the hint of roses takes me to the Ottoman times. Unfortunately Steve was very disappointed in his baklava because it wasn't baklava. Nothing essentially wrong with the flavours and nothing not to like about that but fundamentally apparently it's an ice cream sundae and shouldn't be called baklava! So that ended Sezar's good run in Steve's opinion which is probably a bit harsh but I guess he's a baklava traditionalist!
Sezar offers some lipsmackingly good dishes - the bastourma on brioche, the dumplings, the chicken wings. No dish was a bad dish - weird maybe but not bad. It's definitely a contender for Middle Eastern / Eastern European cuisine.