The Merrywell

Last weekend, Ollie had bought tickets for myself and him to see Les Miserables last week at Crown Perth, and we had made plans to have dinner at the Merrywell beforehand.  I have to confess, I was actually was looking forward to the dinner at the Merrywell more than the show itself.  Les Mis is cultured and all that jazz, but I had seen the movie when it came out and all I remembered was I preferred Anne Hathaway with long hair, and the whole thing seemed to drag on for a little bit too long. But whether you do or don’t like Les Mis, feel free to read on about the dude food that is beyond compare at the Merrywell and I promise not to mention my feelings about the show again.

We met up with a few others for dinner, and started the hunt to find some seats where we could watch the all-important Asian Cup final while eating dinner. All important for the boys anyway – I don’t mind the odd game of soccer but the happiness of my night didn’t hinge on Australia kicking more balls into a net than South Korea. But luckily for them, the Merrywell has a few TV screens strewn around the place, and it wasn’t too much trouble to sit ourselves near one. We started off the night with some cider and a few beers from the James Squire range of  brews which feature heavily here and throughout the rest of the Casino. Good times on tap indeed!

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There is plenty of options on the menu to choose from, with every type of carbohydrate and protein you can imagine available to sate your hunger.  Ollie started with one of his favourites – Aussie oysters, kilpatrick style ($12 for 3).  Served on a bed of warm rock salt, they were piled high with bacon which I thought looked like it might have been a bit much, but Ollie said that even through all of this the traditional oyster taste shone through and the taste was still fresh.

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We had also chosen to share the lollipop buffalo wings with blue cheese fondue, hot sauce and celery sticks ($21), because both of us are absolutely mad for this dish, and I was intrigued to see what was involved with a lollipop buffalo wing. They turned out to be a ball of chicken on the end of a single chicken bone – I’m still not quite sure how they managed to do this, but it was pretty damn magical.  None of this fiddly business getting into between the two bones in the chicken wings, this was straight outta the plate, into the sauce and into your chomper.  The sauce wasn’t too spicy, and the blue cheese mild enough not to offend anyone that has an aversion to smelly cheeses. With plenty to go round and enough sauce left for dipping onion rings in later, this dish was a huge tick for the Merrywell.

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After both these exciting starters, we were looking forward to the main meals with bated breath. Ollie had made a rather ambitious choice with the real New York sirloin steak. Wondering what a real New York sirloin steak is? According the the Merrywell, it comprises of 300g of steak, goats cheese, heirloom tomatoes, rocket, smoked vinaigrette, balsamic and shallots for a grand total of $39 (much more than I have ever paid for a steak in New York!). Ollie also took up the option to add half a lobster tail for $16. His steak was cooked medium rare as requested, and certainly was not wanting for shallots – you could hardly see the steak through them! The lobster tail was stuffed full of tender meat, and looked like all kinds of delicious for those who are into eating our friends from the ocean.

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I had chosen a fancy version of a pub favourite, the Merrywell D-Man and G-Mac BLT. This monster of a sandwich included porchetta, pork belly and pancetta, a sunny side up egg, rocket, feta, tomato, bacon aoili, bacon bread and onion rings – what a mouthful! A delicious mouthful though – the meat was salty and plentiful, and the bacon aioli slathered throughout gave it a lovely creamy taste. The soft bread with its bacon bits flecked throughout was on hand to soak the aioli up, and at a certain point I got so full that Ollie suggested that maybe I just eat the filling and leave the bread, at which point I stopped momentarily to look at him like he was crazy, and went promptly back to my bread. Seriously addictive (and I did finish it).

The sandwich came with some sort of pickled slices of a vegetable (maybe?) which somewhat resembled chips, except they were cold, floppy and vinegary (so nothing like chips really). They were really acidic, and to be honest just plain weird.  If anyone has a different opinion on these (or knows what they are!) I would love to hear it, but they definitely were not for me.  I was glad for the onion rings that came on top, along with the extra serve of onion rings that Ollie had ordered ($7), not that I needed any extra food a this point.

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We couldn’t even think about dessert after this, so we left the Merrywell, stuffed to the brim with heart stopping, tastebud tempting ‘dude food’ having satisfied our tummies for another evening.  Although the food here was a bit on the pricey side, it was tasty and portion sizes were out of control – you couldn’t claim you hadn’t got your pennies worth.  Whether anyone ever needs to eat that much food is another question, but it didn’t leave anyone at our table with a bad word to say.

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