A few weekends ago now, The Boy and I celebrated a friend’s birthday with lunch and drinks at the Merrywell, at Crown Burswood. We’d been there before for drinks in the crowded evening but this was the first time properly sampling (and photographing) the food.
The Merrywell falls into the gastro-pub category, claiming to serve the ‘ultimate dude-food’. The menu is filled with slightly fancier versions of American dishes – mac ‘n cheese, cheesy fries, burgers and bacon aioli. The decor is likewise masculine and American-inspired, but more classy and refined than your average pub. On previous visits in the evening we’ve always hung around the bar, but on this occasion we enjoyed the lovely day outside. They do not take bookings, and since we had a large group we arrived just as the place was opening to make sure we had a place to sit. It turned out that it isn’t so busy at lunch time, and we had no trouble finding some large tables to take over.
We began with a jug of Gypsy Sangria ($55 for 1L) to share, which came in a big jar and was light and refreshing. Sharing platters were ordered for the table, and everyone got to taste a bit of everything. The signature Mac and Cheese Bites with homemade HP sauce ($15) was not impressive to me – maybe I was expecting the cheese inside to be a bit more gooey, and I’m generally not a big fan of mac ‘n cheese. The BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas ($22) were light and tasty, although the little piles of tomato, avocado and onion on top are tricky to eat neatly. The Charred Lamb Kebab ($19) were probably my favourite, with a nice smokey flavour, although again it’s difficult to eat neatly the way that it’s been presented. The Wagyu Mini Beef Burgers ($22) were adorable but the brioche buns a bit too rich for me with all the other ingredients; the Lollipo Buffalo Wings ($22) were also tasty but a bit rich, especially with the blue cheese sauce. The french fries topped with cheese and served with a currywurst sauce ($14) were tasty but unremarkable, in my opinion – I’ve previously tried the Merrywell Chips with bacon aioli ($15) and found them much more impressive. Needing more sustenance than finger food, The Boy also ordered a steak sandwich (appears to not be on the main menu – perhaps it was a special). I think there was a bit too much cheese and it lacked the acidity of tomatoes or some kind of relish to balance things out, making it one of the less impressive steak sandwiches I’ve tried.
All up: I’ll admit that in general this really isn’t my kind of food – the oily, deep-fried and very rich elements are a bit too much for me, and we didn’t really order anything to balance things out. The sharing platters are fun to taste or to snack on with drinks, but trying to make a meal of them gets expensive very quickly. It’s a nice concept and very well executed, but I suppose I’m not really the target audience of this kind of place, and I prefer more easily accessible and cheaper ‘fancy pubs’ that I’m used to. Still, if I find myself at Crown and in need of a drink and snack, this is probably where I’ll be heading.