March into Merivale – Dinner at Ash St Cellar

by Forager on March 16, 2009

Last week I went to the first of a series of March into Merivale dinners. The co-pilot and I gathered a group of food-loving friends and after perusing the menus offered by each of the Merivale restaurants at length and a process of democratic voting, we went with the fennel spiced pork cutlet with fresh figs, baby spinach and honey balsamic offered by Ash St Cellar.

I’ve been to other venues in the Ivy complex before, but as the co-pilot hadn’t and we arrived 10 minutes early I took him on a little tour of the other dining venues and bar areas before heading to Ash St Cellar. This was the first time I’d been to Ash St Cellar and we agreed that the ambiance there was very comfortable – plenty of luxe dark wood in the interior, heavy laden chandeliers and an impressive wall of wine bottles. It has an understated style in contrast to the extroverted and brash hotel-lobby style of many of the other drinking venues in the complex. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter but in my opinion venues like Ash St Cellar are a particularly great to meet with old friends and catch-up without needing to strain your voice.

We settle in and enjoy a leisurely round of beers whilst we wait for the pork cutlet. And it was certainly worth the wait! The pork cutlet was exquisite – perfectly cooked and melt-in-the-mouth tender. The menu description read “fennel spiced” but I detect more complex flavours like aniseed and subtle hints of five spice. Where the plump fresh figs rest on the pork, they’ve sweetened the meat. Our group all approve and savour the meal slowly (partly also because it’s a slightly smaller portion than a usual main).

Sipping on our wines, we decide that although that meal should have been satisfying in volume, the reality is that we’re disturbingly accustomed to eating till we can’t eat any more – not eating till we’re full. The waiter offers us dessert and we all agree that we’re just lacking the finishing touch to the meal and dessert would fix that. We all order the ginger and pear tart with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream ($14). It is rich, sweet and gooey. Just what we needed and we leave contentedly full and satisfied with the night.

Merivale are offering $33 lunches and dinners all through the month of May. Check out what’s on offer at each of the Merivale venues at their website.

1 Ash St, Sydney (02) 9240 3000
Open Monday – Friday, 12pm – late.

Ash St Cellar

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella March 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

That looks great! I’m a big fan of whenever figs are used and it looks quite substantial (I guess it’s hard to tell how big it is from pics). I’m going to Mad Cow this week. Loving these lunch specials! :)

2 billy March 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

I promise myself to try at least one of the specials this month and still havent got the chance to! :S damn it.
Looks like you have scored a winner here!

3 FFichiban March 18, 2009 at 10:54 pm

oh *drooooool* Wahhhh I can’t believe I missed this :( I must make my way down there fast!

4 Forager March 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

Hey Lorraine – The figs were delicious but the portion was fairly small – for gluttons like me at least. A dessert tacked on to the end should do it though :)

Hey billy – Yup – I’m a fan of pork and this one was just delicious. Off to Teppanyaki this week for yet more pork…

Hey FFichiban – What are you doing? Get down there quick! You know that every $33 Merivale meal gets you $10 back to spend on one of their special events? At this rate, you won’t be able to attend any special events!

5 Ragne March 31, 2009 at 6:59 am

That really looks so great, thank you so much.
I can only imagine how good it was and I’m surely gonna try it, no doubt about it.

6 Forager March 31, 2009 at 9:55 am

Hey Ragne – Thanks for visiting my blog! It was pretty tasty but I can’t imagine it was too hard to make. Figs are in season here too so we’re making the most of them!

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