Archive for ‘March into Merivale’

February 27, 2012

March into Merivale’s American Diner Degustation @ Mad Cow

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American Diner @ Mad Cow

Mad Cow was the perfect place to host March into Merivale’s American Diner Degustation; throw a mix of New York, plenty of white comfy booths and splatters of red and white stripes. March in Merivale kicks off filled with a month of exciting one-off dinners across Merivale’s family of restaurants. Also a perfect match for us to get excited about our upcoming trip of eating in the States (yay!).

American Diner @ Mad Cow Corn and Cheese Quesadillas

Most of the menus during March into Merivale are unannounced so it’s always a pleasant surprise on the day. To start us off, our amuse bouche were corn and cheese quesadilla triangles; pipping hot and filled with stretchy cheese and a revving mix of salsa and spices. Sadly it was only a triangle each…

American Diner @ Mad Cow
Mad Cow Chopped Salad w/ Spencer Gulf Prawns

The amuse bouche really got us going, so we dug into this salad as though it was our final meal. Filled with red onions, yellow and red tomatoes, leaves and plenty of prawns sprawled on top.

American Diner @ Mad Cow
Grilled Atlantic Salmon w/ crushed peas & mint

Our eyes sparkled when the salmon was dished; partly purely from hunger (there was a little too much wait in between courses) but also from the generous portions of fish. The salmon skin was as crispy as a potato chip with the flesh still medium rare. Not everyone was a fan of the mashed peas and mint, but I loved the combo of mushiness against crispy salmon.

American Diner @ Mad Cow
Shoestring fries

American Diner @ Mad Cow
Braised Beef Short Ribs

Seated near the kitchen, we smelt the naughtiness of the shoestring fries from a mile away. A must add to our main course of braised short ribs swimming in a jus with peas, baby carrots and thyme.

American Diner @ Mad Cow

American Diner @ Mad CowKey Lime Pie

After countless seasons and late nights of Dexter, our key lime pie itch was scratched and it was delicious! Even with the sweet tooth of mine, I loved the sourness of the lime contrasted by fluffy light meringue and a crunchy gingernut base. Traditionally this pie was cooked purely from the acidity of the lime with the eggs, but thankfully now it’s baked just a little.

American Diner @ Mad Cow

American Diner’s Degustation is apart of March into Merivale 2012.

Mad Cow
Ivy, Level 1, 330 George St

March 23, 2011

March into Merivale’s Abracadabra Lunch by Dan Hong

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Abracadabra! Dan Hong kicks start my Saturday morning with a 5 course lunch degustation for his contribution to March in Merivale. Lotus was decked out with card houses, silver stars, magic wands and rabbits in hats. Also complete with quick hands magician, Liam Power who wows and woos the crowd. He came around table by table showing us card tricks and coin tricks. So amazed. I think I still am.

Belverdere Flaming Moe

To kick start the lunch, it’s a liquid meal called the Flaming Moe, Belverdere grapefruit vodka shaken with nashi pear and Cinzano Bianco; an Italian brand of vermouth, of the sweeter kind. We’re wow’d because the waiter brings you a cocktail on arrival and the garnish is a flaming orange peel. In a poof of smoke, the peel disappears… into thin air. And all you smell is the amazing citrus aftermath. And still wondering where it’d all go.

Sashimi of sea scallops, foie gras, avruga, hazelnut oil

First up was were sashimi of sea scallops topped with foie gras, avruga caviar and surrounded by hazelnut oil. I’ve never dared to try raw sea scallops so I admit that I was slightly unsure by how I’d react. But with a complete bite with everything, it works. The simplicity and rawness of the scallops was balanced with the pungent foie gras, bursts of avruga (a caviar made from herring), sweet hazelnut oil and the crunchiness of the apple. A very interesting opening dish.

Spanner crab, dashi custard, asparagus, ginger consomme

Moving along was my favourite dish of the afternoon, as well as my fellow foodie companions’ pick. It had an amazing mix of flavours; a wobbly dashi custard topped with slices of spanner crab, sprinkled asparagus and spring onions sitting in a ginger consomme. The ginger consomme was subtle enough to mix well with the dashi custard. Delicious!

Pork belly, almond gazpacho, watermelon, chicharron

And it seems that no degustation is fulfilled without a pork belly dish. Dan Hong serves up crispy, caramelised pork belly that sits on cold almond gazpacho and watermelon spheres topped with crispy chicharron, made from pig’s skin that is dried, fried and puffed. Not a huge fan of chicharron, but definitely adds an interesting texture.

Rangers Valley wagyu, spiced beetroot & white fungi

The last of the savouries was a generous portion of seared wagyu beef with wedges of spiced beetroot, beetroot puree and white fungi. White fungi isn’t commonly used in Western dishes, but definitely seen in the sweeter Asian dishes. I particularly enjoyed how instead of a potato mash, this was served with good ol’ bright red beets and a contrast of white fungi.

Lime creme, chocolate & vanilla meringue, coconut sorbet

Dessert rolled along and presented in a gorgeous arch of textures, flavours and surprises. There was a fluorescent lime creme base with light chocolate and vanilla meringue pieces, crunchy cookie crumble, a scoop of super cold coconut sorbet and hidden amongst it all… popping candy! The end of our lunchtime conversations were interrupted by random burst of crackles and pops.

Petit fours

And just before we left, some complementary petit fours; wobbly peach jelly cubes, very moist chocolate brownie triangles and fluffy cloud tasting tonka bean marshmallow cubes. Tada!

Most of these dishes are on the daily Lotus menu, so it’s not too late to go and have a taste.

Abracadabra event was apart of March into Merivale 2011.

22 Challis Ave
Potts Point, Sydney

Lotus on Urbanspoon

April 4, 2010

March into Merivale’s Cocktail Express 2010

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My fellow Cocktail Trail girls signed up for March into Merivale’s Cocktail Express this year. An opportunity to sample four cocktails and canapes at four Merivale bars. The bars were kept hush-hush until the night, but we were grinning ear to ear when we discovered the bars were Gin Garden, Hemmesphere, Ivy Pool Bar & IvyLounge.

Conservatory Martini

Our meeting spot for the start of our night was Gin Garden – a beautiful hidden gem at the back of Establishment. This little bar is filled to the brim with hanging plants, archaic columns, birdcage-like light features, tall bamboo shoots and lighted candles.

It’s one of the only bars in Sydney that serves up 24 types of gin – so it was fitting to sample their Conservatory Martini; a shaken cocktail of fresh lychees, Plymoth Gin and cloudy apple juice; my favourite cocktail of the night. It was perfectly matched with a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich bite and a crispy risotto ball.

Gin Garden
252 George St


Next stop, Hemmesphere; upstairs from the Establishment. Influenced by the Ottoman Empire, this very intimate bar is decorated with deep leather couches, cigar filled glass cabinets, dim lighting and plenty of soft cushions.

The cocktail of choice is the Bordeaux; a mix of soda, wine and citrus served with a crispy wonton wrapper topped with prawn. Not my favourite cocktail of the night, but it was definitely a nice and refreshing change from the fruity cocktails devoured all night.

Level 4, 252 George St

Pink Flamingo

The most anticipated bar of the night, Ivy’s Pool Bar. Imagine of a piece of Miami dropped in the middle of the bustling and brightly lit city – a beautiful pool surrounded by private cabanas, palm trees and white lounging deck chairs.

Their cocktail of choice was the Pink Flamingo; shaken with gin, lime, grapefruit topped with basil and served with a slice of crispy, greasy cheese pizza. One of my favourite cocktails of the night, with a bite of sweet and tang.

Ivy Pool Bar
Level 4, 320 George St


The last bar on our express agenda was the IvyLounge. The IvyLounge overlooks the Ivy Bar and adopts an elegant and simplistic approach with a 1950s influence. It’s decked out with beautiful sleek black furniture, bright coloured lounges, marble table tops and over-the-top ferns.

Our last cocktail is death in a martini glass; a mix of vodka, blackberry, orange and a dash of passionfruit. It’s matched with mini Wagyu beef burgers with tomato, cucumber & spicy house sauce – my favourite canape of the night.

330 George St

This event was apart of March into Merivale 2010.