For some reason, Merivale Winter Feast promotion has never been on the top of my priority list. Don't get me wrong, one of the items in my to-do list is to tick off all the restaurants in theMerivale group. But I am not sure why, me and Merivale don't seem to gel very well together after a series of unfortunate events including missing out on the $300 Merivale Chefs gala dinner which clashed with another pre -booked event, then the Winter Feast launch party which fell on the same date as my own photographic exhibition. And even when I made an effort to show up, I was destined to dine elsewhere far worse.
Eventually I got the chance to take the advantage of the $35 winter feast offer at Teppanyaki with Myriam, Suze and Helen. But my experience with Merivale can never be a smooth sail, because even the mother nature thinks it would be funny to see me sitting in the restaurant, drenched from the heavy down pour. I consider myself baptised and welcomed to my very first Merivale winter feast.
As we approached the restaurant on level 2, I am surprised how dark it is inside. My eyes take a while to adjust before I brace myself walking through the maze of chairs and lounges to the dining area without tripping over. We are seated at the long wooden communal table, and seems like the only light source in the restaurant is from the open-plan kitchen where the chefs are in action.
The Merivale $35 winter feast at Teppanyaki offers 3 courses (or 2½ I would say, explain below) plus a glass of nominated wine or beer. Sharing is the key to happiness, and foodbloggers never fail to cover most dishes on the menu after an impromptu meeting to make sure no one orders the same dishes. The cutesy miniature Penny Wagyu Burger reminds me of making my own burger using Play Doh when I was a kid. The only dilemma is we have to split the already-so-small petite burgers further to share among four of us. The Balmain bug wontons is rather disappointing with very little almost to none of Balmain Bug flesh hidden beneath a big sheet of deep fried wonton skin. It is a mouthful of crunchiness, no more, no less.
The Kingfish sashimi, with shiso leaf and Asian salsa are served on, again -- deep fried wonton skins which is absolutely unnecessary. The oily crunchy deep fried wonton sheet is overpowering and has taken the flavour and texture of the kingfish away. Such a shame...
I always perked a little every time I see the word "wagyu" on the menu. There is really no need at all to justify our desire for some wagyu striploin, it is genetically programmed into us. We ordered two portions of it which unfortunately is a little bit overcooked. The wagyu is tad dry and chewy instead of the velvety melt in the mouth sensation. The side of plump juicy shiitake mushroom is "wok-tossed" (Wok tossed?) - a simple stir fry with buckwheat and soy bean yields extra level of flavour and texture.
Two mains of ocean trout are ordered to counterbalance the richness of the wagyu. The ocean trouts are more enjoyable with pan-fried crispy skin and the flesh is moist and tender. Served on a bed of black fungus, pickled cucumber and chilli that gives the dish an exciting crunch.
As for dessert, it is stated in the menu that one dessert is meant to be shared by two people. Hence, only two desserts can be ordered to share among four of us. We all share a scoop of black sesame ice cream with a selection of seasonal fruit on the side. The scoop of black sesame ice cream teases us with a very small mouthful of creaminess although I found the flavour is not as rich as the one I've had at Passionflower. I absolutely adore the banana tempura with sake chocolate fondue. The hot banana innards are sealed inside a light crispy tempura batter which happily soak up the bittersweet sake infused chocolate.
My very first Merivale Winter Feast at Teppanyaki is decent but nothing out of the ordinary. I am glad that the promotion has been extended until end of this month, as I have already been invited by another secret ally of food-lovers and booked myself for the next winter feast in two weeks time.
I know winter has already gone, but my craving for more winter feast has only just begun.
Teppanyaki Level 2, The Ivy (Merivale Group)
320-330 George St, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9240 3000
Tuesday to Friday open for lunch and dinner
Saturday open for dinner only
$35 Merivale Winter Feast at all restaurants in Merivale group
Promotion extended until end of September Offer valid Tuesday to Friday 12pm-2pm and 6pm-8pm