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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bites: The Merrywell.

The Merrywell is one of Crown Casino’s latest effort to boost its image from what was an aged complex to a more upmarket complex.  This high end pub showcases the dynamic duo chefs Grant MacPherson and Sammy De Marco whom Fishman have seen on the television a couple of times.  With a fancy interior and a new courtyard area, the Merrywell clearly distinguishes itself from other more casual pubs.  Unfortunately, the crowd is still typical. 5 men all trying so hard to woo one lady hahaha.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalking up to the reception, we were served but was told that to get a sit on the inside, we would need to leave our names and they would call us back.  But guess what?  That is the worst system ever.  Some people take forever to come, leaving many sits empty!  In the end, the little darling, fishman and I decided to sit in the courtyard which means we had to order food from the bar.


When this restaurant first opened, there were rave reviews on food websites giving it a 90% approval rating and such.  Since then, it has plunged to 68%.  Rocking up to the bar counter to order my food, I totally understood why.  Wait for 10 minutes, lean over the counter and the grumpy lady tells you that this is not a service counter, go to the middle to order your food.  Head over to the middle counter, wait 10 minutes to be served and the next young lady says we do not do food at this counter.  It has now been 30 minutes and still no food.  The little darling gave them the WTF treatment and they UNHAPPILY served us.  Add this to half drunk blokes spilling their beers over her leg and that was a really bad and shit service.


For the purpose of this review, the quality of the food is kept separate from the service.

What really surprised us after we ordered is that Merrywell actually serves food quite quickly in contrast to what the reviews have mentioned recently.  Our wait for the food only look us 15 minutes.

For starters, we ordered a Mac and Cheese with in-house HP Sauce to share.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese delicious morsels of cheesy goodness definitely qualifies to be a Merrywell specialty.  It was crunchy with a balance of stringy melted cheese and macaroni making it absolutely yummy!  And for me, the HP sauce was definitely another highlight with a rich and tangy taste to it, elevating  the taste of the slightly bland Mac and Cheese.


The Lollipop Buffalo Wings were another specialty highlighted on the menu.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAComing from home where American Pub food is enjoyed for lunch, delicious buffalo wings are no stranger.  To start, I was really pleased with the celery although I do not really like celery.  The ones used were well aged and not overly old and fibrous.  The Buffalo wings were not dry and was well-cooked.  But my complain lies in the lack of robustness of the flavor.  I wanted more acidity, more heat and all the other intense taste which one would normally dunk in the blue cheese fondue to cool.  For me and Fishman, it could have been better.


For our mains, the little darling ordered mini Wagyu burgers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think these are easily one of the more impressive burgers I have eaten in awhile.  For me, it was the simplicity the stood out.  Its condiments were simple cheddar, BBQ caramelized onions, and pickles.  While the patty was not as juicy as other burger places like Jus Burgers, these little burger were impressive.



The Fishman as his names suggests, ordered the Roasted Tasmanian Salmon with Potato Pierogi, Pickled Beets, Sour Cream.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe said it was pretty good and I would have to agree.  It was also the first time I have tasted Potato Pierogi which is a potato filled dumpling.  All the elements of this dish worked really well although all I had was one bite.  What might be a little turn off was that the salmon felt a little dry.  To be honest, such thin fillet should not be cooked for too long!


For me, I ordered Granny Grecco’s Chicken Parma with Spaghetti and Napoli Sauce.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArriving at the table, one thing which instantly caught my attention was the intensity of the sauce.  The flavors of the ripened tomatoes were such a hit in this dish that the slightly soggy chicken parma did not bother me the slightest bit.  The pasta was smooth and plausible but I really did not care about anything because, at that moment, it was all about the sauce.  It was really a good sauce in my opinion.  Most places tend to serve a very light and subtle sauce which sometimes makes me feel that the tomatoes used was barely ripe but the one at Merrywell was really just spot on.


At the end, I was really satisfied with my food.  It was pretty much a class act for pub food.  However though, for $40, it might look a little pretentious because pub food is not only about quality, but QUANTITY.  The serving sizes at Merrywell was OK but nowhere near a typical pub.  Service is barely worth mentioning unless it is about its crappiness.  BUT, would I return?  To be honest, I would.  Perhaps not on a weekends without an inside booking and service.



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