Last Thursday after work I made my way down into the city to catch up with a few lovely ladies I met at a Sydney Food Blogger picnic back in January. Social company aside, the March into Merivale Launch Party, which saw 13 food stalls and 4 bars take over the ballroom of The Ivy and the whole of Ash Street, was promising enough to warrant a migration over the bridge on a ‘school night’.
Even the weather was behaving for an evening of milling about, and the polished pretties of Sydney were of course out in force. I however have worked outside the CBD for long enough to forget that I should have been wearing stilettos, a slinky dress and about 4 extra coats of makeup for such an event… yeah, no.
March into Merivale is a 7 week long event running from mid-February straight through to mid-April. The cornucopia of restaurants in the Merivale Group come together to offer $33 lunch and dinner set menu specials along with themed meal events and master classes. The launch event was an opportunity to grab as many tastes as possible!
Apparently this year the theme was ‘eat your words’. Some how this translated into little other than half naked women painted with food words. Lets just chalk that one up to creative interpretation and a strong willed art director shall we. I was more concerned with eating up the food instead.
Ok, on to the tasty bit…
I’ve by no means captured all the stalls but below are the ones I visited. My standouts?
- A crumbed flathead fish taco with pico de galo put El Loco firmly on my must-visit-sooner-rather-than-later list, and in a city of fair to poor Mexican I have extraordinarily high hopes due solely to the 4 bite taco;
- an incredible combination of tuna carpaccio, fois gras butter, quail egg and salty brioche bread crumbs compliments of David O’Brien [Executive Chef – Merivale Events] was mind-blowing;
- and an absolutely divine steamed scallop shumai dumpling from Mr Wong [opening in May] may have turned into just one or three more.
The feasting began up in the ballroom with seafood and orecchiette pasta from The Beresford. The pasta was a touch un-inspiring but the tender morsles of white fish and shellfish swimming in a fragrant broth more than made up for it.
Next stop was at Est for a fresh salad of sand crab, hearts of palm, avocado, chili, pink grapefruit and coriander cress.
Back down in Ash Street, while the girls ravished cheeseburger springrolls from Ms G’s and lamb pies from Felix, I waited far too long in the El Loco queue for the fresh, crunchy, absolutely more-ish fish taco. It tasted like a little plate of California. I only got one. I should have gotten at least two. I’m not too worried about it however as I’ll be dragging RJ there [who am I kidding, there will be very little dragging and more likely a mad sprint by both of us] as soon as possible.
A quick fresh-berry and custard [?] tart from Ash Street Cellar, was the perfect treat when paired with a glass of bubbles… before heading back up to the ballroom to partake in the amazing seafood morsels on offer.
Sushi Choo were serving up a salmon and avocado hand-roll. I neglected to grab a mixed seafood ceviche first time through and it was gone on my return but the fresh steamed veggies provided a light alternative to the richness that was about to invade my taste buds…
I was nearly on my way out when I ran into a workmate who I had actually traveled into the city with earlier that evening – before both heading our own ways to meet up with respective groups. She happened to be in possession of some extra token cards, how very convenient, and immediately inquired if I had tried the tuna carpaccio from David O’Brien… why no, I haven’t…
Oh my, and then oh my. If you missed it the first time – tuna carpaccio, fois gras butter, quail egg and salty brioche bread crumbs. A brilliant marriage of tastes and textures wrapped up in a single decadent bite. Of course I tried the eggplant, zucchini, ricotta and parmesan roulade with pesto and lentils, and it was perfectly sufficient…
After that I was sure that my evening was complete however a quick stop at Mr Wong proved me wrong in the best way possible. This was the only stand to offer one item. But when your one item is a perfect steamed scallop shumai dumpling I guess there is no need for anything else…
… topped with fish roe and served with siraccha… be still my heart, and make room for just one more in my belly.
I of course had to grab a mini-pavlova from Mad Cow to finish the evening off, it wouldn’t have been right to pass it by!
Great company, great food, and home before 10. That’s what I call a successful evening!
I attended March into Merivale on my own dime – or 200 dimes [$20] as the case may be – and this food was too good not to share. The fortuitous bumping-into of my workmate and her extra token tickets connection made for a rampant last minute feast. Yum.