Not certain what happened to JAA's original post on Ms G's but here is my impression:
This place is popular, open less than a week and it is already booked out. Merivale’s latest opening is in the old Wokpool space in Potts Point, with Dan Hong and Jowett Yu cheffing. The space is done out in a sort of “shabby Asian” with rough wood, packing cases, bare concrete, and mismatched vintage (70‘s) crockery as opposed to the more standard black and red lacquer of up-market trendy Asians. The crowd is young and hip, lots of Darlo boys and ESP’s (Eastern Suburbs Princesses) glamming it up; music is loudish, the cocktails are prominent.
The menu conforms to the latest style for small plates to share, it is a sort of pan-Asian mix of dishes and techniques, with lots of interesting sounding options. From the starters menu we order the “Mini bánh mì- crisp pork belly” ($6 each) and “Ms. G’s grilled corn on the cob, parmesan, lime” ($3 each), interestingly these arrive after two other dishes have been consumed. We are quite used to random order food deliveries in but why label them “starters”?
The corn on the cob is interesting with the flavours melding well, it would be nice to have a whole cob, but this would be four portions which at $12 would make it pricey! The mini bánh mì description is totally accurate - they are very small - they taste good though, although not significantly better or worse than a Vietnamese bakery in the burbs.
The first two dishes to arrive are the “Prawn toast, yuzu aioli, herbs” ($14) and the “Buddha’s Delight - A textural vegetarian salad” ($14). The prawn toasts are fine and the mayo adds a nice dimension, the salad is also good with a nice crunch and as promised a pronounced textural dimension. But both are simply “nice” nothing to really rave about. Portion side is still on the small size, to be fair this maybe reflected in the pricing as the dishes are not expensive for a mainstream/trendy place.
Next up the “larger dishes” Braised pork belly “Hue Style, konnyaku noodles, lemongrass, chili broth” ($24) and “Egg noodles with XO sauce, braised duck, soft poached egg” ($16). The noodles promised more than they delivered, it was a sort of non-dish without a remarkable flavour profile. The pork was more successful with an interesting broth and very tender belly.
Total bill was $126 including a $40 bottle of Pinot, all in all $86 for the food isn’t that bad. If I return I would probably order a few more dishes as they are quite small serves. Service was good, but fast: we could have been in and out in 40 minutes if we hadn’t ordered an extra course (the pork belly).
To me it is a restaurant to go out to for a fun night rather than very serious food, it has a good vibe and feels it will become a place to be seen. Dan was at the pass on our visit, although he didn’t seem to be cooking, he obviously had an important customer upstairs as he was personally delivering dishes. Probably on the list for a return visit after Friday night drinks.
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