A JEWEL AT CROWN
Buns were fun in Merrywell’s diner days, but now upstairs is dedicated to something a little more urbane, combining views, booze and globetrotting cuisine.
MEGAN MILLER REVIEWS MERRYWELL BAR AND DINING
MERRYWELL began life in 2012 as Crown’s good-time American diner, slinging burgers, beers and wings over two levels like it was the Super Bowl every day of the week.
You can still get your dude-food fill at the burger bar downstairs, but recently the upstairs has been reborn as the more refined Merrywell Bar and Dining.
Mod botanical murals now adorn the walls, there’s a cosy dining room and a fab terrace for TGIF sundown drinks, like the breezy 5 Star Spritzer of vanilla vodka, bubbles, passionfruit, pineapple and lime.
Daniel Wilson, co-founder of the Huxtaburger chain and also helped pioneer the cool-collingwood dining wave with Huxtable, has been busy flipping the menu, designing a new share-style offering across a global gamut of cuisines.
Open with rice-paper rolls packing poached chicken and heady with ginger, coriander and mint, or maybe tiles of sweet char siu pork with hoisin, cucumber and peanuts between springy bao. Then flit to Mexico for a super-fresh dice of tuna tartare to load onto tortilla chips along with guac spiked with tequila you can properly taste.
By now our table for two is heaving with food and our waitress has forgotten her vow to stagger dishes, so it’s under the heat lamp for our last two.
The DIY lamb souvlaki doesn’t survive the reheat, the meat’s texture now more nuked than wood-grilled. The Korean Bolognese, however, emerges not only unscathed but as dish of the day. It’s a knockout bowl of comfort – grass-fed beef slow-cooked with garlic, ginger, soy and mirin, and finished with rice noodles, funky kimchi, earthy shimeji mushrooms and fine strands of dried chilli. So good.
Finish with the refreshing mandarin pavlova with toasted coconut, and regret nothing.