Crown’s Merrywell restaurant sits just off the Casino gaming floor, above the burger bar it shares a name with. Its kitchen is run by Daniel Wilson (the chef behind (now-closed) acclaimed Collingwood eatery Huxtable, and the (now-sold) string of gourmet-burger joints Huxtaburger).
The restaurant’s look distinguishes it from the burger spot beneath it. Office workers and off-duty gamblers lounge in tan leather armchairs, or dine by large windows overlooking the Yarra. There are hanging plants overhead and festoon lighting on the balcony, which has dazzling city views.
Wilson is serving an Asian-influenced sharing menu brimming with creativity and native ingredients. There are kangaroo sausage rolls with bush tomato sauce, pork crackling with mountain pepper, and grilled king prawns with macadamia hummus, finger lime, wakame and mint.
More substantial is the Japanese-inspired fried chicken with sesame and yuzu kosho mayo, and a hyper-umami Korean beef “bolognese” of spicy beef, shimeji mushrooms and kimchi on top of garae-tteok (cylindrical rice cakes).
Wines from Australia and New Zealand dominate the drinks list.