Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March into Merivale 2012 Launch Party, Sydney

Finally it's March into Merivale month is here for 2012. And it went off with a bang! Seriously was it me or was it more packed this year than last year? As per last year, this was held at the Ash Street Laneway and the Ivy Room. Unfortunately they did not give out the menu list of food offered at all the stands which was slightly frustrating. Like last year, an entry ticket gives you 6 food items and 2 drinks to try out with additional $10 and $20 tokens that can be topped up throughout the night. This year, all tickets to the launch party have sold out in advance.

This year the theme for March into Merivale is 'Eat my words'. The theme is slightly similar to last year's theme 'The Art of Food' except with a focus on words describing food indulgence in varying forms. During the event, models parade around the venue displaying very little clothing in front of wordy background shots.

In complying with the theme, decorations such as plates were displayed across the restaurant stands with some classic food-related one-liners. Aside from the models, entertainment included a DJ and several musicians playing at the Ash Street Laneway and the Ivy Room.

My friends and I turned up before it opens which ended up being a good decision as the line got long fairly quickly. After trying several, I lost my friends in the massive crowd so it was time to wander around to check what's available. It was a bit tough trying to move through the crowd on both levels and some stalls had really long queues which can be tough for the impatient. Eventually I found my mates again but I decided to wander and check out more stuff while they chill out and drink on.

Glasses of wine and champagne were being handed out non-stop throughout the night for you to mingle and chill after an epic gourmet feast.

Ash Street Cellar

Chicken and chorizo Argentinian empanada with salsa criolla

Ash St Cellar tart of the day with various toppings (raspberry, blueberry) - I wanted to try the raspberry tart but the person in front of me got the last one!!!

Beresford Hotel

Shellfish orecchiette with vongole, mussels, crab, cuttlefish, squid, chilli, garlic, parsley & lemon - FAVE

Classic panzarotti in three different flavours

Bistrode CBD

Wagyu beef pie with homemade bistrode ketchup - FAVE

Spit roast Melanda Park pig with raw fennel and lemon dressing - FAVE

El Loco

Field mushroom quesadilla with chipotle mayo

Secret Taco

(Did not get to try the crumbed flathead taco which I heard is the standout dish at El Loco's stall)


Salad of sand crab heart of palm, avocado, chilli, pink grapefruit, coriander cress - FAVE

Mascarpone citrus cannoli, raspberries and violets


Lamb pie, sauteed mushrooms and tarragon jus - FAVE

Tasting of fruit de mare with lobster roll, oyster, prawn & mussel (ran out before I got to try it)

Mad Cow

Barbequed rangers valley wagyu flank steak with spicy barbeque sauce

Signature pavlova with strawberries and passionfruit

Ms G's

Vietnamese ocean trout ceviche with prawn crackers

Sang choy bao of cheeseburger springroll with potato chip mayonnaise - FAVE

Sailors Thai Ivy

Grilled chicken satay with peanut sauce - FAVE

Beef curry with roti - my friends really enjoyed this dish!

Sushi Choo

Vegetarian hand roll

Mixed seafood ceviche

Sushi E

Spicy tuna Dynamite roll, Wagyu beef confit with miso sesame sauce


Vitello Tonnato, piquillo peppers and caper berries

Prawn and calamari salad with saffron infused orzo, olives, chilli, cherrie tomatoes and parsley

Mr Wong (a new restaurant perhaps?)

Steamed scallop shumai

David O'Brien

Tuna carpaccio, fois gras butter, brioch, quail egg

By the end of the night I was absolutely full and slightly tipsy. So much food in so little time...

March into Merivale is running from 16th February to 5th April. For more info on upcoming special events and their month-long $33 restaurant meal deals, check out the Merivale website.
Make sure you book for your favourite event soon because it will sell out.

Merivale Restaurants

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thai-Namic, Canley Vale

Catching up with an old uni and work friend and a couple of her friends, we both thought that it was a perfect opportunity to check out Thai-namic at Canley Vale. I have already mentioned previously how Canley Heights is now considered as the new hotspot for late night restaurant feed and cafe hangouts and Canley Vale nearby is no different with their own share of eateries and cafes. It is also frequently compared to Canley Heights' Holy Basil which we have mentioned throughout this dinner.

The interior design has a modern, dark interior design combined with decor reminiscent of the Thai culture including sculptures and cutlery as well as comfortable seating. This made it more appealing for the hungry passerby to go inside the restaurant. It was tough choosing what we want to get because there were so many. We ended ordering several shared plates and a couple of curry dishes. And there's still desserts - which my friend recommended for us to try.
Papaya salad - Laotian style

I think we ordered this version instead of the Thai version of papaya sald because my friends said that they liked it better. I did not mind because the menu said that the Laotian version has crab meat. This was spicier than we all expected and I did not find much crab meat. It was very good to have after an epic dinner though and polished it off eventually.

Satay chicken skewers

Since having these at Satang Thai back in my university days, I always enjoy a good satay chicken whenever I go to a Thai restaurant. This ended up being one of my favourite dishes
of the night with its creamy and slightly spicy satay sauce. And the chicken is tender and well cooked. I could not get enough of this but we still have more to get through.

Ox tongue

Funny enough, I have never tried ox tongue - but I've tried veals tongue before and I loved that. Thai-namic's version was marinated and grilled in some kind of secret sauce. I definitely enjoyed this dish but I would recommend to eat this while it is still hot or warm. After a while when it is cooled down, the taste was not as great. This is served with tamarind, garlic and chilli sauce and a small salad on the side. The sauce is a good addition to this dish as it made the tongue taste nicer when it cools down.

We have also ordered the salt and pepper squid which ended up being an absolute delight. The batter is crispy right through which stands out from the other versions. Compared to the other salt and pepper squids, this version was less salty which I enjoyed. It is also a massive serving for all of us to finish so we struggled to finish this plate. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of this. But I can tell you that the presentation looked lovely (will try to get a photo of this soon...it really looks that good!)

Red duck curry

We all thought this was a lot spicier than we expected but the duck was very delicious. This tasted better when mixed with rice as it soothed down the spices.

Beef massaman curry

This was suitably milder than the duck red curry which gave our tastebuds a relief. The beef was wonderfully cooked with cashew nuts, tamarind and potatoes. The beef literally melts in your mouth and soon it was all gone!

Pandan creme brulee

After all that, we all gave each other a break from eating so we can handle the desserts. My friend said that we should try the pandan creme brulee but several of us were keen on the fried ice cream just to see if it is as good as Holy Basil. I ordered the pandan creme brulee even though I have never tried it before. And seriouesly where have I been? The creme brulee was absolutely heavenly! It was sweet, slightly creamy and the flavours and textures just complemented the experience. Originally we were planning to share it but I ended up eating most of it. Seriously a must try dish here!

Passionfruit creme brulee

I did not get to try this but my friends said it was good but not as great as the pandan creme brulee. Both versions are served with berries and a scoop of vanilla (I think?) ice cream on the side.

Fried ice cream

I had a small bite as I was absolutely stuffed. It looked very similar to Holy Basil's fried ice cream. It tasted pretty creamy with a bit of crunch. My friends thought that both versions of fried ice cream are good and it ended up being a bit tricky to compare since we all enjoyed it.

Whenever you come by the Canley Vale but you don't feel like waiting in lengthy queues outside Holy Basil or trekking to Canley Heights, give Thai-Namic a go. It was a bit quiet when I was there mainly because of the wet weather that night but it ended up making the time more relaxing. While the service was pretty average, the food was presented quite beautifully and the taste is just as sensational. However I would not recommend this to those who cannot handle their spices at all as a good amount of dishes we had consists of chillies. The prices are pretty affordable and the servings are quite decent. Try to save your stomach for dessert because they are really that good!

Shop 4&5, 47-49 Canley Vale Road,
Canley Vale NSW 2166
Contact no: (02) 9727 7798

Thai Namic on Urbanspoon