I’ve been very keen to eat at The Merrywell at Crown Perth since it opened, and regular readers will know that the kind of food served there – “dude food” as they call it – is right up my street. We’ve waited so long to go there as Renay and I are not big fans of crowds, and today (Monday) on a day off together we decided to give it a go. (It’s for this reason that we are yet to venture towards Jamie’s Italian, but that is moving close to the top of the agenda…)
Arriving at around 1pm, I’d say the restaurant was only around one third full so there were plenty of tables to choose from inside and out. The first thing that you notice is the size of the place, and I can imagine it being very loud and intimidating when full to the brim. We were told that there was a new menu, and I had studied the menus for the Perth and Melbourne restaurants so was interested to see what was new. The main change seems to be that lunchtime is now just for burgers & the sharing plates, and dinner kicks in at 5pm for meals like the chicken parma, fried chicken & red velvet waffles, jerk chicken, ribs etc. I was also pleased to see that a burger I had liked the look of on the Melbourne menu was now on the Perth one…
So down to business. There was no way we were going to miss out on the “share plate” goodies described in numerous reviews, and there seemed to be a few new items to choose from. I don’t recall seeing the cuban-style grilled ham & cheese pops with mustard dip ($16), charred lamb kebabs ($19) or sweet & sour crackling turkey leg ($21) on the old menu.
The mac & cheese bites with “house made HP dip” ($15) seems to be an obligatory starter, and I can see why. Crunchy, cheesy and served at a sensible temperature that doesn’t remove your mouth lining – yum. I didn’t think the “HP dip” tasted of much, certainly nothing like HP other than the colour but it wasn’t at all offensive.
The “lollipop” buffalo wings with blue cheese dip ($21) were really nice, and remarkably easy to eat with no finger bowl (or bib) required. I’d have liked the wings spicier, but that would probably apply to any sauce likely to have been served. No complaints.
Renay fancied a cocktail, and ordered a Mohito which was huge and uniquely presented. So now she knows what it’s like to drink booze from a jar while everyone else is at work.
Onto the main course, and I ordered the Memphis BBQ burger, with pulled pork, coleslaw and smoked gouda ($25 with fries). I was expecting this to be purely pulled pork, and was surprised to discover it was actually a beef burger but it was so good I didn’t mind. I wondered why she asked me if I wanted a second patty when I ordered it…
There wasn’t a great amount of pork which was a shame, and I was surprised by the firmness of the smoked gouda but it really worked. The beef patty was perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious. The coleslaw was really good, and the dressing just sharp enough – heaven.
Renay had the Chicken, bacon & avocado club ($25 with onion rings), which was fresh, light and delicious with a nice hint of lime in the aioli.
Mmm chilli cheese fries ($15, and also now available in a currywurst variety). The chilli was so-so, and the dish as a whole should have been an indulgent treat but there wasn’t enough cheese sauce to make it anything special. Should have ordered the potatoes with bacon aioli…
The onion rings deserve a special mention as they are simply the best either of us have ever had – and they’re one of my very favourite things. So light and tasty, and not remotely greasy. Exceptional.
Unfortunately we were too full to sample the tempting desserts-in-a-jar (I really liked the sound of the new Key Lime Cheesecake or Cupcakes in a Jar). We were both impressed with how light and non-greasy all of the food was, as this is the kind of food that can stay with you for days. This isn’t a cheap place to eat, although it’s not aimed at the “fast food” end of the market or families (not sure if there’s a kids menu) so I don’t think it matters, especially when the food is that good. The Merrywell would be a great place to go for a special occasion when you’re ready to tuck in and loosen your belt or with a group so that you can sample some of the share plates. Fantastic food, great setting and very much recommended.