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Monday, June 22, 2009

Merivale Winter Feasts Launch Party, The Establishment, Sydney

Forget any jokes about swine flu. The pig outside the Establishment last Tuesday was more like a call to arms. Or a call to stomachs, as the case may be.

We joined the hungry hoardes at the Merivale Winter Feasts launch party, a follow-up to the successful March Into Merivale campaign. Over the three months of winter, Merivale restaurants will be offering $35 lunches and dinners of one, two and three courses.

Thanks to the lovely Melissa from Merivale, we food bloggers were given a fifteen minute headstart into the room so we could get photos without having to battle the crowds. By the time the doors opened at 6pm, the queuing public began pouring in for free beer, wine, champagne and canapes.

After the incessant appetites of queuing attendees last time, the restaurants were much more prepared for the masses, with trays of canapes already assembled. Crowd flow was much smoother and the food was as good as ever.


Prosciutto San Daniele and grissini
from Ucello (head chef Massimo Bianchi)

Prosciutto slicer

Prosciutto leg

from Ucello (head chef Massimo Bianchi)

from Ucello (head chef Massimo Bianchi)

Ocean trout sashimi
from Sushi e (head chef Ura San)

Salmon and avocado inside out roll
from Sushi e (head chef Ura San)

Canapese at the ready

Avocado, king crab and mint on lavosh
from est. (head chef Peter Doyle)

Tartare of ocean trout, cucumber, ponzu and coriander
from est. (head chef Peter Doyle)

Tuscan beef stew and braised beef cheek tarts
from est. (head chef Peter Doyle)

Prepared canapes at est.

Duck liver pate on a brioche bun with currant relish
from Ash St Cellar Ash St. Cellar (head chef Lauren Murdoch)

The duck liver pate was one of my favourites of the evening, a hearty combination of rich pate sweetened with currant relish on a soft brioche bun. We also went a bit mad for the steamed snapped and fennel soup, an incredibly aromatic and creamy soup that was bursting with flavour.

Steamed snapper and fennel soup with gremolata
from Ash St Cellar Ash St. Cellar (head chef Lauren Murdoch)

Filo tartlet with mascarpone realle, honey quince puree and roasted hazelnuts
from Ash St Cellar Ash St. Cellar (head chef Lauren Murdoch)

Gougeres - cheesy choux puffs
from bistro cbd (head chef Simun Dragicevich)

Duck fillette with beetroot, cornichons en croute
from bistro cbd (head chef Simun Dragicevich)

Autumnal decorations

White chocolate tartlettes
from bistro cbd (head chef Simun Dragicevich)

Pecorino and porcini mushroom arancini
from Merivale Functions and Events (head chef Carlos Justo and Richard Johnson)

Bacon and egg quiches
from Merivale Functions and Events (head chef Carlos Justo and Richard Johnson)

Tuna tartare with sweet wasabi
from Lotus Bistro (head chef Dan Hong)

The tuna tartare with sweet wasabi by Dan Hong was very similar to the one we enjoyed at the Chefs of Merivale dinner. The cool and slippery tuna and the dot of fresh wasabi win me over again. I also delight in the Vietnamese-style chicken croutons.

"It tastes just like a banh mi!" Dan says.

It does!

Venison tartare on crisp bread
and Vietnamese style chicken croutons
from Lotus Bistro (head chef Dan Hong)

Dan Hong in action

Beijing duck "ivy style"
from Teppanyaki (head chef Akira Urata)

King fish skewers with Asian salsa
from Teppanyaki (head chef Akira Urata)

Mini wagyu penny burger
from Teppanyaki (head chef Akira Urata)

Goat's curd, pear and rocket mini tart
from Mad Cow (head chef Christopher Whitehead)

Look! It's Michelle from Masterchef Australia!

There's also a bizarre moment when we spot Michelle from Masterchef Australia helping out at Teppanyaki. She comes in 3D!

Christopher Whitehead and Michelle Darlington

Signature beef tartare
from Mad Cow (head chef Christopher Whitehead)

Chocolate brownie
from Mad Cow (head chef Christopher Whitehead)

Suze and Michelle

We tore ourselves away from the free canapes to head down to the opening of Billy's first solo photography exhibition, also scheduled for that evening. The Red Balloon is a result of Billy's travels to the areas between Marysville and Kinglake in the aftermath of the Victorian Bushfires. The exhibition is on at The Depot Gallery II, 2 Danks Street (next-door to Danks Street Depot) and runs until 27 June so get down there to see the photos and meet the man behind A Table For Two.

The Merivale Winter Feasts launch party was held at the Establishment on Tuesday June 16, 2009.

Merivale Winter Feasts runs from June to August 2009 and comprises of one-, two- and three-course $35 lunch and dinner offers. Special events include cocktail classes, sushi classes, wine events and hands-on master classes with Merivale head chefs.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
March Into Merivale launch party
Chefs of Merivale Gala Dinner: Canapes and behind-the-scenes
Chefs of Merivale Gala Dinner
16 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/22/2009 01:06:00 am


  • At 6/22/2009 1:25 am, Anonymous trigg3rsnappy said…

    Food looks amazing =( i wanted to go to this but my friend only rang 15mins before the start and i missed it *sob*. Cool shots =)

  • At 6/22/2009 1:31 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    The snapper and fennel soup was very nice indeed, I had it a couple of weeks ago and loved it... the only downside is I need to pay for it :)

  • At 6/22/2009 1:53 am, Anonymous divemummy said…

    Oh they all look so delicious - just ready to hoover up.

    Love the photos - the canapes look like they are about to march into battle - or should I say march into stomachs.

  • At 6/22/2009 9:13 am, Anonymous LC said…

    I really enjoyed the March into Merivale lunches but was very disappointed when I called to make a group dinner booking at Teppanyaki and was told the following:

    * Maximum ten people
    * Cannot have a mixed order of set menu and 'normal' menu
    * Must provide credit card details for a $500 cancellation fee with less than 24-hour notice

  • At 6/22/2009 10:56 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    you could tell Michelle was concentrating so much it making sure the canapes were perfect.

  • At 6/22/2009 1:42 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    Everything looks yummy. Glad you snapped Peter Doyle this time.

    LC's comments about Teppanyaki were interesting. Should they be so fussy during this GFC?

  • At 6/22/2009 4:01 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    It looks amazing with all the little serves lined up so neatly on platters. Your description of the fennel soup is very tempting!

  • At 6/22/2009 5:19 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    ohhh how good was the tuna tartare! and the filo tarts! and the soup! and the brownie! and hahaha michelle mustve thought i was an idiot

  • At 6/23/2009 12:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That 15 mins seems so peacefuru compared the craziness after haha

  • At 6/23/2009 1:05 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi trigg3rsnappy - They were serving food until 8pm so you probably still could've made it down there. You'll know for next time :)

    Hi Joyce T - Oh the snapper soup was amazing. And yes, free things do taste good, but that soup I'd definitely be prepared to pay for!

    Hi Divemummy - Oh yes, I do like an army of canapes. There was an army of hungry punters too :)

    Hi LC - A shame that you faced so many conditions, although I do feel for restaurants when group bookings do a no-show. Did you still proceed with the booking?

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - She was concentrating intently indeed. I think I would be as well!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Ahh but I didn't snap Peter Doyle this time :)

    Hi Arwen - The snapper and fennel soup was incredibly delicious and I'm not a huge soup person. Have been meaning to get to Ash St Cellar for some time now - maybe sooner rather than later!

    Hi Chocolatesuze - lol. I'm sure Michelle was chuffed :) And you picked all my favourite samples of the night!

    Hi FFichiban - It became a bit of a race against the clock but yes, the crowdless room was so much easier to manage than having to contend with elbows and empty plates in every photo!

  • At 6/23/2009 8:11 am, Anonymous LC said…

    Hello again!

    I had intended on making a booking for 14 people for a Friday night birthday dinner but I cancelled it after reading the booking confirmation form conditions.

    It's a pity because all previous experiences at Merivale restaurants have been excellent!

  • At 6/24/2009 4:37 pm, Anonymous Jax said…

    Thanks so much for highlighting this - I'd have misse it otherwise. I'm off to book for est. !

  • At 6/26/2009 12:59 am, Anonymous Yas said…

    Hehe this was what you guys were up to that night!! I was wondering if you guys would show up at Billy's exhibition! soo many cute foooooooood!!

  • At 6/26/2009 1:23 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi LC - Oh sounds like they missed out on a big table. Hope your alternate venue was just as delicious.

    Hi Jax - Enjoy est. I hear that many venues are booking out!

    Hi Yas - Where there's food, there's foodbloggers. lol

  • At 6/28/2009 10:44 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    Nice! Some of your photos turned out much better than mine. Looks like the flash makes all the difference.

    Some of the lighting was seriously shocking for photography!

    Loved the tuna with fresh wasabi. I can see why you like it so much! :)

  • At 6/28/2009 11:27 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon - I actually regretted using my flash as the white balance went all crazy and I really didn't get dof :(

    The tuna with fresh wasabi was so good wasn't it? I would've loved to have parked myself there all night!


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