The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

The Merrywell

Crown Casino
Corner of Clarendon Street and Crown Riverside
Southbank VIC 3006
+61 3 9292 7468
http://www.themerrywell.com.au

I always look forward to having post-work dinners with my friend, Matt. But because he’s a lawyer with virtually no social life to speak of, it’s often hard to arrange an evening that suits us both. Thankfully we were both free one Wednesday night so we agreed to meet up. Now, the plan was to visit Melbourne’s new fromagerie but the hectic traffic out of the city scared us into staying away from the roads, at least for a few hours.

Matt parked his car at Crown that day so the most logical choice was to go to a restaurant in the casino. When it came to deciding which restaurant to choose, we both looked at each other and said, ‘The Merrywell’ at the same time. Now I’d never been to the American diner-slash-gastropub but I really wanted to go. Meanwhile, Matt had been twice already and because he loved it so much, he was keen to go again.

We rocked up in the middle of the dinner peak so tables were harder to come by than a decent coffee in the US. Luckily, there was a spare table on the balcony so we happily squeezed in underneath the heated lamps. We were immediately given a drinks menu and although the cocktail list was impressive enough, we both decided to skip the alcohol because we’re such squares these days.

Now, I had heard wonderful things about The Merrywell’s many burgers from their simple cheese burgers to their BBQ burgers. To my horror, I only saw one burger on the Merrywell menu – and one that contained pork belly. While I like pork belly as much as the next Asian, I really did want a simple no-nonsense beef burger. The closest thing that fitted that description were the mini wagyu burgers which was featured on the starters menu and came in threes. I asked the waitress if they and a side dish were enough to fill a person up and her response was, ‘no.’ I didn’t listen to her so I went ahead and ordered them anyway.

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We started off with some onion rings with lemon rosemary aioli ($12), a side that Matt strongly recommended. The onions rings were beautifully light, crispy and golden and we loved the herb-y and creamy aioli with very slight hints of piquancy.

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These chips ($14) were my sides. I expected them to be the hand-cut variety so I was surprised to see that they looked the way they did, all round and whatnot. I wasn’t sure I liked them (I prefer mine long and straight, thanks) but I did like the bacon aioli that came with it. Mmm bacon.

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Here are my mini wagyu burgers ($19). Each little burger came with white cheddar, caramelised onions and pickles. They were nice enough but I thought the beef patties were way too pepper-y and spoilt the burgers’ overall flavour.

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Meanwhile, Matt ordered the dish called ‘our fried chicken’ ($27), having loved it the first time he had it a month or so ago. The dish contained something called ‘125th Street chicken’ (a nod to Harlem?) and on the side, chocolate waffles and ‘killer bee honey.’ Chicken, waffles and honey on the same plate? It was weird but damn, it worked. Really well. The chicken pieces were out-of-this world crispy and drizzled with sticky honey, they were incredible. And if the dish wasn’t heart attack-inducing enough, there was a blob of lemon cream on the side. Matt, who doesn’t eat big portions these days, couldn’t finish his chicken – but that was okay because that’s what I was there for.

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Heh, cute.

It was a busy Wednesday night at The Merrywell but I reckoned the service was pretty good (until the point where we asked for the bill and they seemed to forget about us) and the food, fantastic. I later found out that there The Merrywell is made up of two sections, one called ‘Downstairs’ and one called ‘Upstairs.’ We just happened to sit upstairs whereas the downstairs section was more casual and had the entire burger range to choose from. D’oh.

My burgers might not have been the best I’ve ever had but that’s not going to stop me from returning. I enjoyed the onion rings and thought that Matt’s daring chicken dish was amazing. Plus, there were so many things on the menu that I wanted to try. Mac and cheese balls and Philly cheesesteaks, anyone?

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

13 Comments on The Merrywell

  1. Jo
    March 16, 2013 at 18:31 (2 years ago)

    I booked for a table not knowing we couldn’t order from the burger menu! The Angmoh had the chicken and waffles too and we did struggle to finish it. It was an odd combination, I must say.
    will need to go back soon and eat from the burger section!

    Reply
    • libishski
      March 18, 2013 at 19:01 (2 years ago)

      I agree – will remember to go DOWNSTAIRS this time!

      Reply
  2. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    March 18, 2013 at 21:09 (2 years ago)

    Oh I am so jealous! I want to be there and have the sliders =P. Best would be if you could join me for a bite there. One fine day hopefully…. =D

    Reply
    • libishski
      March 23, 2013 at 21:56 (1 year ago)

      One day, Helene, one day! :)

      Reply
  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    March 18, 2013 at 21:53 (1 year ago)

    I had the same reaction the first time I tried chicken and waffles! It’s an unusual combo isn’t it but somehow it works :)

    Reply
  4. Julie
    March 19, 2013 at 09:12 (1 year ago)

    Omg the “our fried chicken!!!” I am sort of kicking myself because I was suppose to go last night! Shame about those wagyu burgers! I find they don’t need much added for it to taste good ;)

    Reply
    • libishski
      March 23, 2013 at 21:54 (1 year ago)

      You’re right – wagyu meat is tasty on its own, there’s no need to add that much pepper … UNLESS you’re hiding something!

      Reply
  5. The Squishy Monster
    March 19, 2013 at 14:11 (1 year ago)

    Looks like such a fun spot…those mini burger/sliders look awesome!

    Reply
  6. GourmetGetaways
    March 20, 2013 at 14:47 (1 year ago)

    Lol! Love the bill ;) “Damage”
    I love onion rings but hardly anywhere seems to do them, I am sure I would love the fries too… they looked delish… but I really don’t know what I think of the waffle combo ??? I may have to stick to the Wagyu sliders yum ;)

    Reply
    • libishski
      March 23, 2013 at 21:53 (1 year ago)

      Haha I actually preferred the chicken/waffle dish to my wagyu sliders!

      And yes, good onion rings are hard to come by. Funnily enough, the best onion rings I’ve had were in restaurants around New Zealand – they seem to do it better than we Aussies!

      Reply
  7. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    March 24, 2013 at 01:43 (1 year ago)

    Ahhh damnn you didn’t know that they had an upstairs and downstairs :( I nearly booked a table upstairs but then they told me that they don’t have a booking system downstairs sigh >_< Doesn't matter at least you still enjoyed the food and I think it's not as noisy upstairs than it is downstairs ;)

    Reply
    • libishski
      March 25, 2013 at 17:57 (1 year ago)

      Yeah, definitely going to go downstairs next time now that I know that it actually exists!

      Reply
  8. Ashley
    March 29, 2013 at 14:35 (1 year ago)

    Oh man, you need to get downstairs on your next visit! From what I’ve heard, whilst upstairs is pleasant, it’s really all about the burgerrrrs in their oily, sloppy goodness downstairs :)

    Bacon aioli? Zomg. Sign me up!

    Reply

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