Level 1, 252 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Champagne & oysters for lunch
To really appreciate a relaxing lunch I took the day off work to check out the est. March into Merivale $33 lunch menu. Arriving at 12.40 pm the dining room was actually filling up quickly so it seems to be a very popular venue. I've always been happy with the dish presentation of this 3 Hatted Restaurant and today is no exception. The Group Restaurant Manager Frank Roberts came over to chat who I've met on numerous occasions at Merivale launches. He kindly provided a complimentary glass of Ruinart Champagne to start which was excellent. My favourite is Bollinger at the moment but I think I'll have to add this one to my list as well.
For $33 you get one of three dishes and a glass of wine but you can also have entrees and desserts for $25. The oysters are freshly shucked and go well with the sharp tasting mignonette dressing although I'm still a huge fan of the larger pacific oysters. I couldn't resist ordering Grilled white scallops and calamari which were cooked beautifully. It went quite well with the small pieces of green apple which wasn't too overpowering. The calamari could have perhaps been a bit more tender and was thinking perhaps some cauliflower puree would help to bind the ingredients on the plate and provide some extra creaminess to the taste buds. Frank organised a complimentary entree of Grilled prawns and octopus to try which had a very distinctive swash of black squid ink. Seemed to be more for show than taste as I couldn't really seem to taste it. Decently sized prawns went well with the goats cheese feta and I enjoyed the contrasting taste of the green olives — watch out for the pimentos de padron which had a bit of a heat bite to some of them.
For mains the Fillet of veal parmigiana came with decent sized pieces of tender veal. The toasted breadcrumbs was an unusual take on the dish and worked well to provide a crunchy factor which was a good alternative to actually crumbing the veal and frying. The well portioned Crisp skin breast of corn fed chicken was delightfully moist as hoped and I loved the robust taste of the pine mushrooms which went well with the tarragon garlic butter — I was hoping for a bit more 'crisp' skin though. I enjoyed both the Domaine Chandon Chardonnay 2008 and Domaine Chandon Shiraz 2007 which are available with the meal and thankfully had a minimal tannin taste. The colourful Mesclun salad was very fresh and tasty and reminds me of the one I had at Tetsuya's many years ago. For dessert I was keen to try the buttermilk pannacotta but unfortunately it was not available today. Frank offered a plate of petit fours to end the meal on a sugary high — the est. labelled chocolate was my favourite. Service was friendly and professional.
It looks like quite a few restaurants are doing their own meal deals with wine at the moment which range between $30-$50 but you won't find them in a 3 Hatted Restaurants.
Other visits to est.:
• 17 Oct 2011 - Let's Do Lunch: Barramundi with asparagus, Sashimi of ocean trout, Salad of spanner crab, Italian buffalo mozzarella
• 5 Oct 2010 - Let's Do Lunch: Pan Roasted Salmon
• 12 Mar 2010 - March Into Merivale: Oysters, Scallops, Veal Parmgiana, Corn Fed Chicken, Mesclun Salad
• 30 June 2009 - Winter Feast: Scallop linguine, Barramundi, Lamb rump, Chips, Cheesecake, Slow poached quince
PROS: Sampling of a 3 Hatted Restaurant at a reasonable price, Good wines, Complimentary bread, Nice dining area, Save on prices for a la carte entrees and desserts
CONS: Justin Hemmes still seems to prefer Bvlgari soap cakes in the toilets but I think they should be replaced with L'Occitane or Aesops soap dispensers.
MUST TRY: Lunch tasting menu
Blanc de Blancs Ruinart Champagne
Grilled white scallops and calamari, leeks, belgian endive, green apple, hazelnut vinaigrette $35 ($25 menu special)
Grilled prawns and octopus, pimentos de padron, chorizo, goats cheese feta, green olives, chilli $36 ($25 menu special)
Fillet of veal parmigiana, spinach, toasted breadcrumbs, tomato, parmesan $33 including glass of wine
Crisp skin breast of corn fed chicken, pine mushrooms, baby beans, tarragon garlic butter $33 including glass of wine
Establishment hotel ground floor menu promotion
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