It’s no secret that the Merivale group – headed by Justin Hemmes, and boasting flagship venues such as Mr. Wong and Papi Chulo – is a champion of the accessible dining scene in Sydney, as well as a supporter of the fine-dining experience. The group regularly launches restaurants that reflect the latest trends and it mentors young and up-and-coming chefs, making it a huge player in Sydney’s dining scene. And just when you thought the season of indulgence was all over, it’s again time for Merivale’s annual celebration of all things food – March into Merivale.
Now in its sixth year, the festival puts a spotlight on all the fun drinking and dining that Merivale can offer. With more than 60 events scheduled from February 12 to April 11, including The Beresford’s Long Table Feast; Mr. Wong’s Hang with Hong Dan Hong masterclass and El Loco’s Taco Challenge just to name a few. The theme this year is Born to Cook and draws on the favourite memories and funniest experiences of the Merivale chef stable. Here’s our pick of what’s happening during March into Merivale.
Launch Party: A festival is nothing without a launch party to kick it into gear and with a laneway all of its own, Merivale has the perfect showcase for a cracking opening event. Hosted at Ivy, and encompassing Ash Street, Ivy Ballroom, Palings and Ivy Level 2, the event brings all the renowned Merivale chefs together to provide samples of their fare. With live music, aerial performances, cocktails and DJs – as well as all the vibrant food on offer, it’s guaranteed to be a huge party that will spill into the laneway. When: Wednesday February 12 from 5.30pm Where: Ivy, Level 1, 330 George Street, Sydney Tix: $35 including eight food-and-drink tokens
Where There's Smoke: In celebration of the launch of Merivale’s latest on-trend food offering, the team from Papi Chulo in Manly will be bringing its flair to Ivy for a meaty BBQ party. Cuts will be big and seasoned, spiced and marinated before being slow cooked over wood in smokers for more than six hours. The result promises to be a melt-in-your-mouth experience accompanied by live music and cocktails to evoke that American Deep South, pit-BBQ experience. When: Wednesday March 19 from 6pm Where: Ivy, level 1, 330 George Street, Sydney Tix: $55 including eight food-and-drink tokens
Just Desserts: If you like to walk on the sweet side, then Just Desserts at the Establishment will pique your appetite. With dessert-only stations offering sweet treats from Est., Mr. Wong and Lorraine’s Patisserie – not to mention live chocolate-making stations, nitrogen-churned ice-cream, dessert wines and sweet cocktails. Be prepared for a sugar rush. When: Monday March 10, 6pm–8pm Where: Establishment, 252 George Street, Sydney Tix: $45 including six food-and-drink tokens
The $33 Meal Deals: Everyone loves a discount meal and that’s just what’s on offer Monday to Friday between noon and 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm with the $33 Meal Deal. The Merivale restaurants taking part are offering one meal and one drink for this reduced price, while at the pubs the deal includes two meals and two drinks. The full list of participating restaurants and their Meal Deal menus can be found here: merivale.com.au, but keep an eye out for Papi Chulo, Bistrode CBD, The Beresford Hotel and Ash St. Cellar. When: February 12–April 11 Where: Various Merivale venues Cost: $33
European Laneway on Ash Street: The European flavours of France, Italy, Spain and the UK all come together for one tasty evening in a twilight European street fair in Ash Street. With the best of international treats from Felix, Uccello, Ash St. Cellar, Paling’s Kitchen & Bar and desserts from Lorraine’s Patisserie, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled the continent without leaving the romance of the laneway. When: Wednesday April 9 from 5.30pm Where: Ivy, Ash Street Tix: $45 including food-and-drink tokens
For the full run down of March into Merivale events go to: merivale.com