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March into Merivale Food and Wine Festival 2015

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by Adrian Kmita (subscribe)
Writer and Osteopath. A Sydneysider traveling the world solving life's puzzles. instagram.com/AdrianKmita
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50 food and wine events over 5 weeks
Food glorious food from the launch party
Food glorious food from the launch party

Food festival season in Sydney and all the accompanying fanfare is upon us once again. While it's mainly an opportunity for all the classy eateries within Sydney to boost their business, it's also the ideal chance for Sydneysiders to sample some of the delicacies and delights on offer. It's now the perfect time for defining who are the pretenders, and who are at the top of the class in the Sydney culinary world.

Satay Chicken from Sunee's
Satay Chicken from Sunee's

It all starts with the March into Merivale food and wine festival, on Wednesday February 25th. As tradition dictates, the official opener to the festival is the March into Merivale Launch Party. All the fun kicks off at 5:30pm. The party can only be described as a fancy food fair scattered around the various bars and decorations within the walls of the ivy establishment. A significant number of spaces are utilised during the event, including Pailings, the Ash Street laneway, the ivy Ballroom, ivy Pool Club and also the main ivy bar and Den on level 2.

Dessert from est. at the launch party
Dessert from est. at the launch party

A number of years ago the event used to be free to attend, which created a kind of food free-for-all. The event is much better organised now, but that has unfortunately come at a cost. Entry fee to this year's event is $45 plus booking fee. Quite a significant price jump in five years. So is it worth the entry fee? That is debatable. Price of admission gets you 8 food and drink tokens, which can be a bit of a lottery. Some restaurant food stalls will take one food token for a sample of their specialised menu, while others may take two tokens per dish. Size of the dish and reputation of the restaurant are the main contributing factors to this.

Aerialist entertainment during the launch party
Aerialist entertainment during the launch party

However, Merivale does aim to please during the party. There is various entertainment on offer, including music, guitarists, aerialists, and models posing as living art work depending on the theme each year. The best advice is to have a plan of attack. Novices will be easily distracted once they walk into the throng of people and negotiate their way around all the visual stimuli. So to make the most of the entry fee, you have to know your restaurants. The better restaurants usually run out of samples the fastest, so to avoid disappointment head there first.

est. likes to use honeycomb in their desserts
est. likes to use honeycomb in their desserts

Merivale has only had one three hatted restaurant in the past according to The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, and that has been est. However, the 2015 edition of the Guide has knocked off a hat, bringing Peter Doyle's flagship restaurant back down to two hats. The est. stall is typically located upstairs in the ivy Ballroom, just 2 levels underneath the ivy Pool Club adjacent to The Royal George. His food usually doesn't last long, so get in quick. The good news is that his staff usually provide a dessert course towards the end. It's always excessively sweet, but a must try.

sushi e's stall at the launch party
sushi e's stall at the launch party

The ivy Ballroom is typically the home of the other high end food stalls as well, with the exception of Felix on Ash Street laneway and Uccello at ivy Pool Club. If sushi is your thing you must visit sushi e. Head chef Nobuyuki Ura really is a master of his craft. If oriental cuisine is your thing, head to Ms. G's or Mr. Wong and sample some of chef Dan Hong's creative concepts. There will even be a Mr. Wong Dim Sum stall catering to all those who desire dumplings. The 2015 Good Food Guide has also awarded Mr. Wong two hats for this year.

Lorraine's Patisserie stall
Lorraine's Patisserie stall

If you are one with a sweet tooth looking to spoil your dinner early, then Lorraine's Patisserie will be your desired destination. Typically adjacent to the Merivale's functions and events stall, the team will be constructing everything from macarons to ice cream sandwiches.

Lorraine's Patisserie stall
Lorraine's Patisserie stall

Restaurants and bars that are participating in the festival include Uccello, Pool Club pizza, est., Mr Wong, Bistrode CBD, sushi e, Papi Chulo, Vinnie's Pizza, Felix, Ash St. Cellar, Palmer & Co, The Beresford Hotel, El Loco Cocktails & Tacos, Coogee Pavilion, The Fish Shop, Palings, Ms.G's, Sunee's, Lorraine's Patisserie, Functions & Events at Merivale and Chandon Vintage Pop-Up Bar.

Food from the launch party at Pailings
Food from the launch party at Pailings

The sample menu for the launch party is as follows:

IN ASH STREET LANEWAY

THE BERESFORD HOTEL
Salt cod brandade with watercress, capers, olive and grilled sourdough
Risotto of cuttlefish braised in its ink, white wine, olive oil and parsley
Spit roast whole lamb on Iggy's rounds with roquette and anchoiade

FELIX
Mini assiette de charcuterie
Grilled salmon, sauce soubise, warm peas, lemon and marjoram
Sydney rock oysters

VINNIE'S PIZZA
Queen Margherita: San Marzano, buffalo mozzarella, basil
Salento: San Marzano, fior di latte, eggplant caviar, sopressa, ricotta salata
Patate e salsiccia: smoked buffalo mozzarella, potatoes, Italian sausage, and rosemary

EL LOCO
Pork Al Pastor, spit roasted with cabbage, spring onion, coriander salad, habanero and pimento salsa
Calamari taco with red chilli and lemongrass sambal, sesame seeds and cabbage, spring onion, coriander salad
Chorizo quesadilla with pickled jalapeños, mozzarella and chipotle
Mushroom quesadilla, Sam Jang, mozzarella and tomato salsa

EL LOCO MARGARITA
The Classic
El Loco 'Club' Cocktail

ASH ST. CELLAR
Kingfish ceviche
Paella with roast garlic aioli
Jamón, gruyere and truffle empanada
Sangria (served at bar)

AT PALINGS

PALINGS
Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, basil, preserved lemon
Grains and nuts: freekah, quinoa, wild rice, lentils, pistachios, honey yoghurt dressing
Chargrilled Ranger's Valley wagyu flank steak with chimichurri

SUNEE'S THAI CANTEEN
Chicken satay
BBQ pork skewer
Green mango salad with chilli and lime dressing
Crispy pork belly with hot and sour sauce

MS.G'S
Vietnamese steak tartare, prawn cracker
Cheese burger spring rolls
Ocean trout with pickled jalapeno dressing and fish crumbs

THE FISH SHOP
Mini fish and bacon burger
Fish and chips
Poached salmon, prawn and avocado cocktail

COOGEE PAVILION
Hawkesbury River 'hot prawn boil' with hot sauce aioli and southern citrus spice
Coogee diner burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, burger sauce
Roasted whole suckling pig porchetta, fish sauce aglio e olio

ON LEVEL 2

LORRAINE'S PATISSERIE
My Rocher Chocolates
Nougat ice cream
Dude donuts

FUNCTIONS & EVENTS AT MERIVALE: PASTRY
Macaron ice cream sandwiches: hazelnut and banana, double chocolate, and black sesame and green tea
Shortbread with marshmallow and dark chocolate topped with a colourful mix of candied violets, pop rocks, popcorn and nuts
Bubble ice cream: ice cream drops frozen live in a bath of liquid nitrogen, served in coloured wooden cones

PALMER & CO.
Sounds of a Hurricane: Palmer & Co.'s Spiced Rum, lime juice, pineapple syrup & homemade ginger beer
Morning Glory: Chivas Regal, lemon juice, sugar and absinthe
Beachside Fizz: Plymouth gin, lemon juice, sugar, cucumber and mint

AT IVY BALLROOM

PAPI CHULO
Smoked hot wings with comeback sauce
Smoked rangers valley wagyu f1 brisket roll

BISTRODE CBD
Bistrode's house smoked salmon with celeriac and grain mustard
Heirloom tomato with Meredith feta, lentil, rocket and sourdough salad
Slow-cooked pork shoulder with pumpkin and ginger

MR WONG
Steamed pacific oysters with vermicelli and XO sauce
Spicy white cut chicken with sesame sauce and sichuan chilli oil
Salt and pepper Lamb cutlets with fennel and cumin salt

MR WONG DIM SUM
Jade seafood and ku chive dumpling
Aromatic duck spring roll
Steamed wild mushroom with water chestnuts

SUSHI E
Tuna sashimi
Tuna nigiri
Dynamite roll (spicy tuna roll)
Tuna ceviche

EST.
Wagyu tartare, oyster cream, horseradish, rye
Kingfish, cucumber, shiso, ginger, shallot, sesame
Mango, lemon curd, meringue, shortbread

FUNCTIONS & EVENTS AT MERIVALE
Buttermilk fried chicken with ranch dressing
Tomato tart with buffalo mozzarella, frisée and basil
Veal carpaccio with pickled mushrooms, truffle croutes and pecorino

POOL CLUB

PADDINGTON
The Cuban Sandwich
Grilled pork spare ribs with wild fennel and peach mostarda

POOL CLUB PIZZA
Margherita
Gnomo: San marzano tomatoes, Smoked buffalo mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, black truffle
Maiala: tomato, mozzarella, ham, hot salami, parmesan

UCCELLO
Scampi, chilli and fennel pollen
Piadina with prosciutto, mozzarella and rocket
Rotolo with wild mushrooms, taleggio and Parmesan
Tiramisu

COOGEE PAVILION ROOFTOP
Charred squid, toum, coriander, pickle, dried lemon and aleppo spice kebab
Salted pork neck, tzatziki, vinegar-dill cucumber, red spice kebab
Grilled haloumi in vine leaves with sumac

Other events that are included as part of the 5 week long food and wine festival include Yoga by the Pool, Coogee Foreshore Festival, Chandon Vintage Pop-up Bar, Just Deserts, Pastry School with the theme Marvelous Meringues, Absolut Coogee Sundays, Yum Cha at Mr. Wong, European Laneway, and the "At home" series featuring home cooked dinners with various chefs including Peter Doyle and Dan Hong. Prices vary greatly depending on the events you choose to attend.

March into Merivale food and wine festival runs from February 23 to March 29. More info can be found at marchintomerivale.com.au
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Why? Food glorious food.
When: Monday February 23 until Sunday March 29.
Where: Merivale restaurants across Sydney starting at ivy.
Cost: Price varies depending on event. Launch party costs $45
Your Comment
The launch party desserts looks delish.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12479) 1731 days ago
The desserts look gorgeous
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1245) 1732 days ago
Informative article! Thank you:)
by Maria M (score: 2|661) 1728 days ago
Definitely heading to Lorraines Patisserie if i get the chance!
by Victoria (score: 1|11) 1727 days ago
It was a great event! Comparable to the Taste festival! Here's my review: http://www.mysomewhereelse.com/march-into-merivale-restaurant-showcase/
by jay.l (score: 0|2) 1727 days ago
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