The Merivale brand is synonymous with drinking and dining around Sydney. It has pioneered hospitality trends under the guidance of CEO Justin Hemmes covering everything from fine-dining restaurants to quirky bars.
Just as we thought the season of over-indulgence had died down, Merivale is taking over the month of March with a series of one-off dinner parties and showcases for the seventh annual edition of March Into Merivale.
“This year we wanted to really tie together the lifestyle experience. Our thinking is living life larger every day with Merivale, so rather than it just being food, wine and chefs, we’re encompassing all of that with even more,” says Merivale’s food and beverage director, Frank Roberts.
The launch party takes place on February 25, with more than 20 venues taking over the Ivy to kick things off. The Coogee Foreshore Festival is another major stand-alone event, with Coogee Pavilion’s ground floor being transformed into a family friendly marketplace on Sunday March 15, with pop-ups from eateries such as Mr. Wong and El Loco and with a Deus surfboard-shaping stand.
Merivale’s latest addition is a favourite for Roberts. “Get to the Coogee Pavilion rooftop and snack on some beautiful eastern Mediterranean food with a cold beer. There’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon.”
Here’s our rundown of the daily offerings.
A space notorious for copious drinking, the Ivy Pool Club will take a healthful turn to start the week with Monday Detox nights. Yoga mats will replace lounges for free yoga sessions hosted by Lululemon. Papi Chulo, The Fish Shop, Coogee Pavilion, The Beresford Hotel and Uccello will offer a healthy dish and mocktail from $25.
Tuesday equals “date night” in Merivale’s books, offering couples two courses plus a bottle of San Pellegrino and a choice of beverage from Villa Maria, Chandon or Heineken, from $45 per person.
Each Wednesday in March is reserved for showcase events such as the predictably popular Just Desserts. It will happen on March 4 at Establishment and will feature the best sweets Merivale has to offer.
Merivale chef alumni, including Dan Hong, Peter Doyle and Jeremy Strode, will take turns to host their ultimate dinner party in the Ivy’s private dining room. Pastry queen Lorraine Godsmark will also offer two-hour masterclasses.
A different venue will host the Friday Surprise each week. Expect anything from freak shows to opera performances and impromptu cabaret.
Various Merivale venues will put their own spin on brunch each week, such as the barbeque brunch at Papi Chulo or brunch Italiana at Uccello. Each is a set menu including a glass of Chandon Rosé.
Adventurous diners can book in for a little excitement with a mystery dinner, where you may find yourself at any given Merivale venue. The ticket includes three or more courses, a bottle of wine and a bottle of San Pellegrino.
March into Merivale runs from February 23 until March 29. Tickets are on sale now.