The Ivy Room, 320 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Free party for all!
Congratulations to those of you who actually made it into The Ivy Room for what I think is the best, biggest and most generous 'free' food and drink party of the year — and of course to launch the Merivale $33 lunch and dinner menus at nine of its restaurants. I hope I was able to pre warn some of you about the event in my previous post. An early SMS message from a friend outside at 5.55 pm stating the line was huge confirms it was very well attended — in fact over 3000 online RSVPs were received and I heard the line outside stretched down George Street and around to Hunter Street. A big thanks to Renee and Debbie from Merivale who looked after the food bloggers on arrival attending the launch — they really did a great job giving us access to photograph and sample the food before the 6 pm official opening.
Catering for literally a small army of hungry and thirsty punters is a very daunting task but Merivale seemed to cope exceptionally well. The waitstaff should be commended for distributing the Event Kitchen canapés throughout The Ivy Room. They even got plenty of food to the other side of the room and onto the balcony area and remained calm and professional. The chefs did an incredible job under such pressure and were happy to explain their canapés and menus available at their restaurants. Masterchef judges Matt Preston and George Calombaris were spotted amongst the crowd as well as Justin Hemmes, the owner of Merivale, who casually walked around to check out his popular party launch while looking quite relaxed — thank you for giving me the time to take some photos of you. The Ivy Room was a much better venue and setup for catering to large numbers than the Establishment last year which had too many crowd traffic bottlenecks.
The friendly and energetic head chef David O'Brien of the Event Kitchen did a great job in providing countless trays of extra food to the guests. The Figs with Ricotta were deliciously in season and the tasty Poached Prawns with Poached Lemon Mayonnaise were one of the standouts of the night for me — I could have happily enjoyed a whole tray of them. I'm always very impressed with the presentation of canapés by Peter Doyle from est. The Skewer of Serrano jamon, compressed rock melon and nasturtium is a mini work of art — I think I've discovered my next birthday canapé to try and make. The Grilled rangers valley wagyu flank steak with chimichurri sauce from Mad Cow is one of my favourites — seeing the whole tray of it literally made be drool. I fondly remember the Waygu steak with chimichurri at last years launch. Bistro cbd were freshly shucking Hastings River Oysters which were a great treat. I've come around to enjoying the Wagyu penny burgers with spicy mayonnaise this time — the mayonnaise was really tasty and wagyu mouth-watering. The sushi e Spicy Salmon Roll had a definite spice factor and I loved the cbd bistro Chocolate Indulgence which I think was very similar to the Double Chocolate Brownies I thoroughly enjoyed at their 15 years of Dining Tasting Night Event. The Ocean trout ceviche with Thai flavours from lotus was deliciously fresh and sat on a fantastically light cracker. The playful and fun Skewer of prawn crusted with “Tasty Toobs” was a crowd pleaser as well.
PROS: Free samplings of food and drinks by top chefs, Good service under pressure
CONS: Very popular, very crowded, long lineup, The chefs didn't dress up in their super hero outfits
MUST TRY: Everything as quickly possible — especially the Grilled rangers valley wagyu flank steak with chimichurri sauce
Gingerbread, chicken liver parfait and Tasmanian black currants
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Oh no, I must have missed Sushi Choo? Sushi Choo — where are you?
Event Kitchen waitstaff serving figs with ricotta canapé
Poached prawns with poahed lemon mayonnaise
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Fig with ricotta and caramelised almonds
Head Chef of Event Kitchen is David O'Brien
5.15 pm: Sitting by the Ivy Pool while chefs are getting ready
5.35 pm: Entering the Ivy Room — I felt a Charlie in the Chocolate Factory moment
Food bloggers doing their thing
5.55 pm sms message — it's going to be a huge event!
Matt Preston (MasterChef judge and food critic) and me
George Calombaris (MasterChef judge and Chef) and Me
Justin Hemmes and me in the Event Kitchen
The Ivy Room
After party drinks
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