Late last year, I travelled to Melbourne for a week. It’s only a one and a half hour plane trip from Sydney, but I love going there and exploring the city, since there’s always new things to see and places to visit. One of these new finds (for me, anyway) was The Merrywell, located in the Crown Casino complex in Southbank.
Some tough decisions had to be made once we got there. First of all, upstairs or downstairs? Downstairs offered a casual burger and sandwich bar (hello duck burgers, fried chicken sandwiches and floats!), while upstairs had enticing snacks, mains and desserts in jars on the menu. We decide to head up to the restaurant, mainly because the snacks/share plates were too hard to resist.
The lollipop buffalo wings were the first to arrive, and I have to say I was a little disappointed that these were little drumettes rather than the wing itself. These were pretty spicy and hot enough so that my mouth was burning after eating one (yes, pathetic, I know). A blue cheese sauce and celery sticks accompanied the bowl of buffalo wings, which provided some much needed cooling action for the fire.
I was really excited about trying New England lobster rolls, even if it wasn’t actually in New England. These lobster rolls consisted of chilled lobster with creamy mayonnaise stuffed inside a mini brioche hotdog bun that was toasted on the inside. I liked the contrast of the cold lobster meat against the warm brioche, and the (house made?) crisps on the side were light and mildly salted.
The pink snapper tacos were served inside soft tortillas with sour cream, salsa and jalapenos. It was a fresh and tasty dish, even though I was surprised when I got hit with the heat of a hidden jalapeno inside my taco!
The best thing about The Merrywell chips was that they were served with bacon aioli. Yep, you heard right. BACON AIOLI! This aioli actually tasted like bacon and had bacon bits scattered throughout. It wasn’t only the aioli that was amazing, but the chips were also out of this world. They were thick cut into wedges, but “ripped” so that there were lots of exposed starchy innards that were refried to create the super crispy bits on the chip that we all love. These will definitely have you fighting over the last chip and the last drop of aioli.
But it was the mac & cheese bites which had me swooning. How can you go wrong with a chunk of creamy mac & cheese coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried? Inside these golden nuggets is some serious carb and dairy goodness that is delicious as it is bad for you. I think Charm and I pretty much demolished the whole bowl between the two of us – and probably could have eaten another!
I loved that the bill came in a envelope marked with ‘The Damage’. And what was the damage? For an early lunch for 4 people, it was reasonable $22 per person and we left feeling quite full and satisfied. I will definitely be coming back to try the burgers (and maybe sneak in a couple of mac & cheese bites too!)
Cnr Clarendon St & Crown Riverside
Southbank VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9292 7468