Dinner at The Merrywell, Crown Casino

Hi everyone,

For BF’s birthday this year he let me decide where to go for dinner so I settled on the Merrywell at the Crown Casino and I had been wanting to see how the refurbishment had gone and to check out all the new restaurants that have opened since then.

Cocktail and Beer.

Cocktail and Beer.

I ordered a cherry and rum flavoured cocktail, the name of which escapes me but I have noticed that it is no longer on the menu which is a shame as I really loved it! BF got a beer and it came in a weighty little glass stein which  remind me of the many times we spent drinking beer in Germany.

BF and I opted to grab a meal each as well as something of the share platter for some veggies. I almost ordered another share dish and was questioning myself when the meals came out as I looked at the portion sizes. After a few mouthfuls however BF and I soon realised we had more than enough food for the two of us.

Mexican corn on the cob.

Mexican corn on the cob.

To share we ordered a serve of the Mexican corn on the cob which consisted of corn coated in zingy spices and cheese. I quite enjoyed how the cheese balanced out the spicyness of the mexican corn, however I felt that there was too much cheese on the cob and it can quickly make you feel a little sickly from cheese overload.

Burger.

The Merrywell Burger.

The Merrywell Burger consisted of lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, tomato, special sauce, Bacon, and a side of french fries. I could not fault this burger and struggled to finish it off. I really enjoyed this burger and while some more veggies would have finished it off perfectly this restaurant is big on cheese, meat and fat and this burger delivered on all three.

Pasta.

Meatball and Fettuccine Pasta.

BF picked the pasta dish on the menu which I too had been eyeing off. When it came out we were a little worried with the portion sizing. The dish however was a struggle to finish in the end and BF enjoyed it.

We skipped having desert here even though I have seen and heard fantastic things from the Merrywell to have a birthday cake at home with the family. I will be back for sure to try their deserts! Over all BF and I were content with the meal costing around $80. The only downside to dining at the Merrywell was a lack of a booking system causing us to circle the restaurant a few times before we managed to snag a table as people were leaving it on a mid-week night. Go to the Merrywell if you are in the mood for a carb and meat overload and not looking for many veggies, aka a good American feed.

Until next time!

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

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Lunch at Pickled Fig, South Fremantle

Hi everyone,

I finally made it to the Pickled Fig in South Fremantle a month or so ago for a spur of the moment lunch with BF. It was a nice warm day and we were lucky to get a table between two rushes, it seems that this restaurant gets very busy on the weekends from the two times I have been here. Decor is unusual but offers a great talking point and if you manage to get an outside table it is very refreshing when a sea breeze comes though as the restaurant is located just behinds the dunes at South Beach.

Little Creature's Pear Cider.

Little Creature’s Pear Cider ($5.6)

BF ordered the Little Creatures pear cider and he was nice enough to share some of it with me. Overall I was disappointed in the fruit flavour of the cider and felt it was lacking. Below is the fruit juice which I ordered and it contained orange, pineapple and passionfruit. There was some confusion with my drink order and I had to chase it up a few times before it was finally deliver to me when I was over halfway through my meal. The juice was nice and I would happily order it again. I reviewed both of these drinks in this weekly drink post.

'Fruit Frenzy' Juice.

‘Fruit Frenzy’ Juice ($8.5).

Below is a side of wedges which BF ordered to go with his steak sandwich. I ended up eating more of these than he did as the sandwich was more filling than he had anticipated. The wedges were not that great and the dipping sauce was runny. Would not order these again.

Wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream.

Wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream ($8.5).

BF order the sandwich below and almost did not want to share even a mouthful with me. Both of us agreed it  was delicious and he polished it off, feeling very content at the end. Highly recommend this sandwich.

Sandwitch

Steak Sandwich ($22)

I opted for the gnocchi and chose to add chicken to it for an extra cost. I loved the summer veggies in this dish and it was fresh and filling. Would happily recommend and reorder this dish again.

Gnocchi.

Going Gnocchi ($22) with chicken added ($8)

Overall the main meals were delicious. The larger food serves, juices and coffees here seem to be a winner from looking at what people around us were having. I would love to return again to try more off their menu, especially their shares and deserts menu. Hoping that the wedges were a one-off dud but it may take a few more visits before I choose to reorder them again.

Until next time!

The Pickled Fig Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: Back at the books again… with a slight detour…

Hi everyone,

I have just entered into a month long practicum and I am hoping I will be able to find some down time to get a handle on the backlog of posts I have to put up. I attended the Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival in Perth roughly 2 weeks ago, being a team member for Coles Liquor I was granted free access to the event and used it as a chance to sample many new wines that I sell to customers as well as getting a chance to talk to the people behind the wines. It was, like last year an enjoyable evening and while I missed interacting with the patrons like I had the previous year when I worked the event this time around it was nicer to be able to talk to the wine makers and the reps about their products.

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I did not make any detailed notes at the event for specific wines, rather I used this event to gage what I liked and what I felt I could sell back at work. I also had the chance to speak to Matt Skinner briefly while he was in town and it was nice to finally meet the man who is the face of wine for Coles Liquor.

Matt Skinner and I.

Matt Skinner and I.

The event was segregated into two areas, one being Australia and New Zealand (with some Spanish booths) and the other being Old World. I ended up spending more time in the first area due to the stock on hand in my store, however I would have much preferred to have spent the majority of my time in the Old World section of the event – Unfortunately this is not what my current store stocks. Below are just some of the wines that I tried and thought were worth mentioning.

Australia

Dandelion Vineyard

This is the only Australian winery that I visited at the show and for a good reason – I have loved the wines from this winery every time I have come across them in the past.

Shiraz Riesling ($23.99) – The Riesling provided a nice pop of interest to the Shiraz, loved it!

Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz ($99.99) – a VERY nice wine and it lingered in the mouth for a long time. Not sure if I would pay as much as they’re asking for it but it was a a treat to try this wine.

Chile

Casillero del Diablo/Cono Sur

Carmenere ($14.99) – plum and blackcurrant fruits with a toasty coffee finish. This one was recommended by a fellow wine taster and I’m glad they did, I enjoyed it.

France

Piper-Heidsieck

Brut Champagne NV ($49.99) – a fresh citrus driven Champagne. Not bad. I’m still have a soft spot for nutty and toasty sparkling wines but this one did not disappoint.

Italy

Ruffino

Prosecco DOC ($17.99) – my first Prosecco and I’m impressed! I will have to dabble with these more in the near future!

New Zealand

Blind River

This winery chose to stick to what New Zealand is known for – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Both of these varietals have been done exceptionally well by Blind River and their premier line was very nice, and consisted of a Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99) and Pinot Noir ($34.99) which highlighted why these varietals are the standouts for the region. The lady running the booth was fantastic to talk to as well!

Jules Taylor

Exceptional wines and it was nice to see a few different varietals that differed to the traditional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I spent quite a while here talking with the wine rep, it was interesting to go into more depth on the reasoning behind the alternative varietals as well as their struggles when it came to getting it out to a wider market due to the overwhelming popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Rose ($19.99) – 100% Merlot grapes and it won me over from the first sip. I will have to get my hands on some bottles of this for next summer as it will be a perfect wine to sip away on a hot summers afternoon.

Grüner Veltliner – white peach, lime and floral notes. I was hunting for a Riesling from New Zealand and this was as close as I got to one. It was not quite what I was looking for but still a delicious wine.

Robinsons

This is a line which Coles has exclusive rights to in Australia. I have always been a little wary of their wines due to this fact. I have to say that I was wrong for being skeptical and really enjoyed tasting my way though their range. I was very impressed all around and the husband of one of the children of the owners who was running the booth was well versed with the wines and a pleasure to chat with.

900 Grapes/Squealing Pig/Matua

I had a wonderful time chatting with the wine rep and wine maker at this booth. They had quite a large range of wines to try over the three labels which I ended up comparing and contrasting with as I went through.

Ranking the Sauvignon Blanc’s (and the labels overall):

1. Squealing Pig

2. 900 Grapes

3. Matua

I also enjoyed the 900 Grapes Merlot over their Pinot Noir (both $19.99) – it seems that Merlot was out to surprise me this night and was trying to convince me to give it another try after swearing off it a few years ago.

Portugal

Casa Santos Lima

This is the same people who make the wine LAB which I loved and reviewed in this blog. I went through the rest of their range that they import to Australia and there were some other gems to be found like the LAB in their range.

Bons VentosRose ($9.99) – refreshing and a great value for money rose.

Quinta Das Setencostas Red ($14.99) – Not a bad wine, I still preferred LAB to this one personally but I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this over dinner either.

Touriz ($26.66) – complex red wine with cherries, blackcurrant and plums. Loved it!

USA

Wente Vineyard

I worked this booth at last years show so I quickly popped by to try the Beyer Ranch Zinfandel ($19.99) and the Morning Fog Chardonnay ($19.99) once more. They were both as nice as I remembered from last year and the booth was very busy so I did not linger for very long.

Chalkboard Series

This is another Coles exclusive range. One which is in the process of being added to (Matt Skinner mentioned that there will be a Prosecco out in the near future from Brown Brother under this label, which I am definitely going to be on the look out for after my first tasting of a Prosecco at this event!)

The Central Otago Pinot Noir ($18.99) was a definite favourite of many people at the booth tasting the wines. However it was the Cote’s du Rhone ($11.99) which stole my heart in this range!

Until next time!

Denkmark Wineries (Singlefile and Harewood)

Hi everyone,

BF and I went down south to Albany for a few days and while we were there I managed to stop in at two wineries between Albany and Denmark. I had planned to visit a few more wineries around Albany and Mt Barker however I ended up getting sick towards the end of the trip and have spent the week since recovering. BF and I adored the region however! The scenery of the region is quite unlike that of Margaret River. The wineries too are not as well accessible as Margaret River, which has spent a significant amount of time, money and effort to create itself as the wine-seekers destination when heading south of Perth.

Harewood

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2012 Porongurup Riesling ($21).

Floral, citrus and passionfruit nose with green apple and passionfruit on the palate of this wine is finished off by a nice mineral finish. I did like this wine and would happily have it again!

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2011 Chardonnay ($34).

I quite liked this Chardonnay. Grapefruit, stone fruit and a nice touch of vanilla from it’s time on oak came through on the palate. Would have again.

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2011 Pinot Noir ($21).

A much younger and less complex Pinot Noir to the reserve. Nice, but didn’t wow me.

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2010 Reserve Pinot Noir ($45).

I really liked this wine but was hanging out to try more from Mount Barker before picking up some bottles to bring back. A really nice wine, a little more expensive that what I would have liked to paid for a Pinot I liked for the region but I would be happy to splurge for this one from time to time. Lots of dark berries, dried fruits and rich chocolate to be found in this wine.

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2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($34).

Blackcurrant, plums and vanilla on the palate and nose of this wine had me quite excited! It was a nice delicate wine that could be drunk now, however I personally feel it would be superb with a few more years in the bottle.

Singlefile

I featured Singlefile winery in a Halliday Day post last, which can be found here.

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NV Run Free Serendipity Curvée ($26).

Quite a nice sparkling. Grapes sourced from Pemberton region. Citrus on the nose and palate with the palate having a nice texture and crisp finish. Would have again.

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2012 Pemberton Fume Blanc ($30).

This wine is a testament to how my palate has changed since starting this blog! I had the opportunity to try this wine back in November of last year at the WA Boutique Wine Show and was not overly impressed with the wine, this time around I ended up walking away with a bottle of it to take home with me. This oaked Sauvignon Blanc had a beautiful texture and it really enhanced the grassy and spicy flavours and aromas in the wine.

Reserve Chardonnay.

2012 Reserve Chardonnay ($45).

A delightful wine with stone fruit, a hint of citrus and a good creamy nuttiness across the nose and palate of this wine. This wine was very nice and getting closer to a Chardonnay that I feel I would enjoy (one with a good amount of oak). I contemplated picking up a bottle of this wine but in the end decided against it as the backseat of the car was beginning to look like a wine cellar. Would happily try this wine again!

Rose.

2012 Run Free La vie en Rosé ($20).

Shiraz and Grenache blended Rosé. Grapes sourced from Porongurup region. Lovely strawberry, herb and vanilla nose to the wine. Palate did not disappoint with a refreshing and clean finish. Picked up a bottle of this to take home.

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2012 Pemberton Pinot Noir ($30).

This Pinot Noir was nice, but it did not ‘blow my socks off’ as I was hoping for a Pinot Noir to do during my time in the region. Lots of cherries, other berries and spiciness on the nose and palate. Good texture and palate weight. Overall not a bad wine and would try again.

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2010 Mount Barker Syrah ($37).

A medium bodied Shiraz with delicate berry flavour on the palate and a hint of pepperiness. This is a Shiraz that I wouldn’t mind drinking and I ended up picking a bottle of this up as a gift.

Barossa Shiraz.

2010 Barossa Shiraz.

This Shiraz was full bodied and packed a punch. It was nice to try this wine however it was not a style of wine that I would quickly go back to, I must admit that Shiraz is not a favourite varietal of mine.

Until next time!

April Monthly Review

Hi everyone,

1. Favourite wine of the month?

Dandelions Vineyard, Legacy of the Barossa, 30 year old Pedro Ximenez. Barossa, Australia.

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I tried this wine at the last Wine Century Challenge Meet and it was the perfect wine to end the night on. I have also tried and loved the Rose fro Dandelions Vineyard (review can be found here)

2. What has been the best value wine of the month?

I haven’t had a stand out value for money wine this month unfortunately.

3. What has been added to my to-try wine list?

Plantagenet, Galafrey and Orangje Tractor – these three wineries are ones which I did not managed to visit when I was down south due to falling sick. I do hope to be back down in that region in the near future!

4. What restaurants do I want to return to?

BF and I went to the Merrywell at Crown Casino for his birthday (another restaurant review in the que to get up on this blog!) we decided to order individual meals rather than from the share menu. I would love to and need to return and try their share food as well as to have another cocktail (pictured below) which was delicious!

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5. What was my favourite meal this month?

The waffles at Little Creatures was a great way to celebrate BF’s birthday with friends.

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6. Upcoming events for next month?

Good Food and Wine show – tickets went on sale May 1st, the show will be in town July 19-21. (entry costs $36, extra for wine and cheese classes and lunches)

Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival – May 6th & 7th in Perth, 5:30-9pm (tickets cost $25)

7. Favourite wine packaging?

Express Winemakers have some fantastic artwork on their wines. Below is their Rosado which I have tried twice now and it is growing on me. I am curious as well to try the rest of their range!

2012 Express Winemakers ‘Rosado’. Tempranillo (Great Southern) and Grenache (Swan Valley), Australia.

Wine Express Makers, Rosaldo.

Wine Express Makers, Rosaldo.

8. Best service?

Harewood Estate Winery – I had a fantastic time with the lady running the cellar door! She was informative and happy to discuss both their wines and recommend other wines to me to pursue my wine century challenge. I highly recommend visiting as the cellar door’s location has a fantastic view and a packed picnic would be a nice way to spend the afternoon.

9. Restaurant I am most keen to try next month?

Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant in town called Jamie’s. I’ve been eyeing off all the blog reviews of this place and am yet to see anyone not leave satisfied overall. I just need to get around to gathering some people and making a booking as I am not patient enough to wait in line!

10. Wine Century Challenge.

Total: 46 varietals.

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: Break (Albany)

Hi everyone,

This past week I spent most of the week in Albany. Albany is a town located about a 4 and a half hour drive south of Perth, along the southern coast of Western Australia. Albany is located in a wine region called the Great Southern and is one with the best climate for producing good Pinot Noir’s and Rieslings in Western Australia. I did manage to make it to two wineries to sample their wines, however I fell sick towards the end of the trip and had to miss out on visiting the wineries surrounding nearby Mount Barker. I had been looking forward to visiting Plantagenet and Galafrey’s in particular near Mount Barker, I guess I will need to head back to the region again soon when I am rested and have another break from university!

BF and I drove around the city centre of Albany and I was quick to spot the Dan Murphey’s and was curious to see what they stocked, being the competition for my workplace. I quickly discovered their international section and ended up finding a Greek wine that caught my eye, seeing my heritage is Greek I felt a little compelled to give this wine a try. I was a little unsure of the Greek wine (as it was only $10) so I purchased a back-up Riesling to get myself in the mood for the wines of the region we were staying in.

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This Greek wine introduced me to two new grape varietals, Roditis and Savatiano. This is a traditional greek wine made by Tsantali using pine resin to the fermenting must to achieve a wine similar to that of old fermentation methods. The wine had an aroma which drew me in and interested me but the palate of the wine was one which I was not overly keen about. I think this wine needed to be paired with seafood or perhaps some greek inspired dishes for the palate of the wine to have something to compliment and pair with. For the price of this wine I cannot complain however I do not think I would repurchase it again, rather I would prefer to try something new.

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I adore Rieslings, I think they were the first white wine that I ever fell in love with. Being in the Great Southern wine region I was excited to be in a region which had the best climate in Western Australia for Rieslings and thought it would be fun to have a 2011 Austrian Riesling form Domäne Wachau to compare with. I opened this wine towards the end of the trip as I was beginning to get sick and I feel that this wine suffered due to that. I quite enjoyed the luscious fleshy fruit on the palate and the acidic finish of the wine. This Riesling did not let me down even when I could not fully appreciate the wine and I would happily repurchase this wine again!

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I will post up the wines that I tasted at these wineries in a separate blog. I did however walk away with a few bottles of wines for gifts and for myself to enjoy.

Until next time!