March into Merivale 2011. Paid admission of twenty buckaroos buys you a night of six nibblies plus two drinks. The cover charge evidently deterred the lines this year. It was an effortless stroll in – past the short shorts and top hats, muscle fit tees and fruits of labour (semi nude ladies that wore fruit) that clung from the vine - a merivale spectacular. Of course!
The separate locations on Ash Street and the Ivy room provided crowd relief, a significant difference from the previous March into Merivale (2010). Once again, Merivale offers $33 lunch and dinner during the festival period. This year, by visiting all 10 restaurants and collecting your “passport stamps”, you will receive a $100 voucher and be in the running to win dinner a Peter Doyle party at your place with six friends!
We made a start with a round of due diligence. Ash st Cellar, Felix, Ms. G’s (Dan Hong’s new baby), lotus, Mad Cow, Sailors Thai, Bistrode CBD, uccello, sushi e, est., Sushi Choo and The Beresford Hotel. Shiraz in hand, DLSR strapped, lowepro sliding off one shoulder, I try to feed myself some of Dan Hong’s Thai inspired sea scallop and prawn ceviche on a prawn cracker. It is a marriage of fresh Vietnamese mint, floral zest of kaffir lime and creamy scallop, celebrated with a crunch! The mini pulled pork was compact, pressed in size but big in flavour.
The Chilli cheese dog spring rolls from Ms. G’s (a play on MSG) was reminiscent of chilli con carne encased in bite sized deep-fried armour. I may have devoured the buffalo wing san choi bow a little too quickly. Ms G’s spice almost forced me to participate in a coughing fit! Drawn in by the meaty perfume of steak on a grill, I could not resist the beef tartare and tender barbequed Rangers Valley wagyu flank steak with chimmichurri sauce from Mad Cow. I refuse to comprehend how one can walk away empty handed from glistening slabs of wagyu on a barbeque! The bamboo skewered BBQ chicken from Sailor’s Thai on the other hand seemed to have bathed in sweet chilli sauce and I would have much rather preferred the chicken on its own. I certainly would not be knocking over any chairs for that one!
In the land of mediocre was the Japanese angel hair pasta, seafood reduction, mixed with sashimi from Sushi Choo. The wagyu corned beef with horseradish cream and cured salmon with celeriac and grain mustard from Bistrode CBD was of the same calibre. Sushi e offered three sushi rolls. The Hemmesphere roll - salmon, avocado and jalapeno mayonnaise. The California roll – fresh blue swimmer crab, mayo, avocado, cucumber and red tobiko. Finally, The Dynamite roll – spicy tuna marinated in 7 peppers, chilli, sesame oil, sweet onion and cucumber. All were well worth a try and certainly more appealing than your local lunchtime special that is in walking distance of your place of work.
Thank you est. for your creativity this year. The extra spoons of sashimi Queensland scallop, apple dashi lime and hazelnut and the juniper scented venison, cauliflower and coffee-cocoa were delightful. It was an interesting addition to the Merivale palate this March! All in all, a celebration of food managed much better, allowing those who attended to appreciate the efforts of your deserving chefs.
330 George Street
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