You can’t really go wrong with a freshly made taco from El Loco, the newest member of the Merivale family serving up Mexican food on a street corner in Surry Hills. While it’s attached to the Excelsior Hotel on Foveaux St, it’s a stand-alone place in its own right, with tacos, sandwiches and plenty of tequila to go around.
The inside of the Mexican cantina is decked out in bright colours, pictures of cacti and sombreros as well as used jalapeno cans as pot plants. It’s all things Mexican here, and while I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the food having never been to Mexico myself, it’s a far cry from the food-court nachos with fresh, crisp flavours and quite possibly the most delicious guacamole I’ve ever had.
Wegrab some drinks and snack on some corn chips with guacamole and salsa ($5 – which I conveniently forgot to take a photo of). You can’t go wrong with a Classic Margarita, but if that’s not your thing you can always go for the more adventurous Jalapeno Margarita (which wasn’t actually that spicy) or the sweet Pink Cuco which comes in the form of a slushie. There is also an extensive selection of tequilas on offer with varying prices depending on the quality of the tequila.
Even though I’ve been to the Ivy a few times before, I’ve never noticed the brightly decorated Sushi Choo nestled behind the stairs with its red lanterns, Astroboy figurines and bonsai trees on the counter. Tonight we’re indulging in the early bird $20 all you can eat offer and we arrive bright and early at 5.30pm when the restaurant opens to maximise our eating time.
5.30pm is very early for me to be having dinner but I can’t resist when we’re seated and the sushi starts rolling out in front of us on the train. There’s a fat green piggy sitting between the sushi train rails and it’s as if he is giving us license to pig out on the all the sushi. Ok, we will!
Being only $20, the variety is limited as expected but the sushi is fresh and tasty and you can see the sushi chefs working away behind the counter to keep the rails fully stocked. Aside from sushi there are also other foods circulating on the train, including edamame and a creamy pasta dish with vegetables and wholegrain mustard.
It was Sir D’s birthday 2 weeks ago, and to celebrate I decided to take him to one of the special dinners hosted by Merivale as part of the annual March into Merivale event. It was hard to decide which event to go to since so many of them sounded good but in the end I decided on the Omakase Dinner coordinated by the three Japanese chefs at Merivale – Nobuyuki Ura (sushi e), Akira Urata (Uccello) and Atsushi Saito (Sushi Choo).
The concept of omakase comes from Japan and leaves the chef to decide and select the dishes for your consumption rather than ordering from the a la carte menu. For someone who likes to check out the menu before visiting a restaurant, it involves a certain level of trust on the diner’s part that the chef will be able to surprise and excite your palate. Tuna ravioli didn’t sound particularly exciting but when it arrived on the table I was impressed by the use of thin slices of tuna sashimi as the casing for the ravioli and all the individual components of the dish which married well with each other. A creative and interesting start to the meal.
What happens when you chuck four food bloggers into the kitchen of Bistro CBD to cook one course each for 70 guests? It turns out that you get a phenomenal success, as we all found out last night at the Food Bloggers’ Dinner as part of Merivale’s Feast for the Senses promotion.
We were served up five delicious courses, one from each of the bloggers and one from Bistro CBD’s head chef Simun Dragicevich. When we arrived, Fouad, Billy, Karen and Linda were hard at work preparing their dishes in the kitchen, as they had been doing all day and the night before.
To start, we had some sparkling wine which was included in the $60pp price for the dinner, as well as some sourdough to munch on while we waited for dinner to be served. There was an awesome vibe on our table of bloggers since we were all here to support the guys in the kitchen, cheering them on when they came out after their dish was served.
Sashimi of kingfish, avocado, wasabi, lime and soft herbs by Simun Dragicevich, Bistro CBD