10 June 2010

Establishment Bar: A Feast for the Senses Launch Party, Sydney (9 June 2010)

Establishment Bar, 252 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

A feast of freebies

There's nothing better than a free event as long as you can handle the crowds and Merivale pulls out all stops to try and make sure there's plenty of drink and food to go around — and there sure was. Lining up at 5.40 pm for the 6 pm open door event the line up was already snaking around the corner at about 80 people deep and by 6 pm and I think there was at least 200 or more. Capacity for the Establishment Bar is 800 so it looked liked they fit everyone in plus many more who came later but at times it did get pretty cosy, especially when the food was being served. Instead of tiny canapés being served there were small bowls of tasty and filling dishes which were served by the small back bar kitchen table and by service staff.

There's always a frantic urge at first when food comes out but in the end there seemed to be plenty to go around and by 7.15 pm it was much easier to grab some food for those who were still hungry — but you still had to look out for it. Drinks were lined up across the bar so there was no problem quenching the thirst. I think my favourite savoury dish of the night was the Rotolo of roast field mushrooms although the Shiraz braised beef cheeks were really tender and the Chicken quesadilla was very nice as well. Bold flavours were in the Veal brain and bone marrow ravioli which would have scared off the vegetarians. The Chocolate cake and Caramel cream tart were excellent and quite filling and rich so I happily stopped at one of each.

For the first hour there was a very talented singer who sang along to recorded music and at first I thought it was all from a CD. The whole night was to launch Merivale's Feast for the Senses which is a whole season full of lunch and dinner offers for $39 comprising of 1, 2 or even 5 courses, with a glass of wine or beer. Starting on the Monday, 7 June and is available Monday to Friday 12 - 2 pm and 6 - 8 pm.

PROS: Complimentary drinks and food, No RSVP required, Friendly and professional service
CONS: Very popular, Very crowded, Long lineup, It's on a Wednesday
MUST TRY: Grabbing a drink and then finding a table and seat and looking out for food

The lineup

End of the queue around 5.45 pm

The drinks

The food
Cassoulet of braised beans, toulouse sausage, tarragon dragoncello, soft herb crust

Shiraz braised beef cheeks with chestnust puree, brussel srouts and crispy speck

Chicken quesadilla with salsa

Rotolo of roast field mushrooms, cavalo nero, ricotta and parmesan

Mini bowls of pasta

Veal brain and bone marrow ravioli with ratatouille style tomato sugo and argentian sea scallops

Chocolate cake

Caramel cream tart

The downstairs kitchen

The decor and crowds

The promotion

The happy camper
No, they're not all my empty glasses ... I promise :-)

Sugarpuffi and Me. Her camera was playing up which I know would have been devastating if that happened to me.

The singer
Who is this talented singer?


Maria said...

Oh man! So many people huh! I was going to go but got too lazy... food looks good though!

Betty @ The Hungry Girl said...

Looks like it was another Merivale success launch!

sugarpuffi said...

oh my~did you even sleep to post this? nice to meet you again and i managed to snap some photos with the very limited battery left in my other camera. didnt even see the veal brain, chocolate cake and tart so i went to max brenner for a dessert fix. what a bummer.

the rotolo was win! and the chocolate cake looks really good.

Laura said...

Omg, this look like such an exciting event/launch party. Damn, thats a lot of ppl

The food likwe divine, that chocolate cake looks delicious

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

I'm guessing at 5:45pm you were at the end of the line right? =p
My that is a massive turnout, looked interesting but to trek it all the way to the city after work was pretty much a no no, would have totally missed the party by the time I got there.

Richard Elliot said...

Looks like a great night.

Are you planning to go to any of the Feast of Sense restaurants / offers? Let me know if you'd like to meet up for lunch one day to check one out!

Brenda said...

Oooo that food looked so good!
Oh and anything marrowbone has got to be a winner so jealous!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi maria, it's quite overwhelming with so many people going but it was worth it in the end for me.

hi betty, certainly was. they sure know how to party.

hi sugarpuffi, sleep? what's that? hehe. that's great to hear you were able to take a few photos. looking forward to seeing them. the trick is you have to keep your eye out for the food and move around a bit to gauge where it's coming from.

hi laura, it sure it a lot of people. sometimes i wish it wasn't so popular so there'd be more room to move around.

hi angie, at 5.45 pm i was in the queue but no means at the end. by 6 pm there were quite a few people after me but everyone got in. Establishment is such a big place.

hi richard, i haven't had a chance to look at the menus for feast of senses as yet. is there anything that stands out to you? would be good to try.

hi brenda, hehe about the bone marrow. although i'm not sure if i'm a huge fan of it. i think i'd rather not know about it. i think it's an acquired taste for me. but the pasta did taste really nice.

Ladybird said...

800 capacity?! Wow! What a mammoth task catering for such an event!

Richard Elliot said...

Simon - Do you know who is cooking at the Bloggers Dinner? That sounds like it could be fun, although I'm unfortunately away when it's on.

Otherwise I'd be keen for one of the special offers at Mad Cow or Sailors Thai, both of which I'm yet to try at the Ivy.

Sara @ Belly Rumbles said...

I was very very tempted to go but thought the crowds would be crazy, looks like it wasn't too bad.

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi ladybird, they do pretty well considering so many people attend. i wouldn't want to be the one cooking though.

hi richard, i don't think they finalised the bloggers as yet. i did ask them but they were still working it out. would be interesting to know. i've yet to try mad cow as well but i managed to try sailors thai at the rocks but not at ivy as yet.

hi sara, actually it was pretty crowded as usual so it's no walk in the picnic in terms of finding a space :-)

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