As much as I love fine dining and trying the latest new intricate dishes coming out of the kitchens of some of the most revered chefs, I can’t deny that I sometimes just feel like going to a pub for a tasty burger and chips. I still like to maintain a bit of class though, and to enjoy a cocktail with my meal, and for this the perfect location is The Merrywell, situated in the newly renovated Crown Perth. The Merrywell offers typical pub food like burgers, chips, buffalo wings and salads, but all with an upmarket twist.
1859, slang shortening of public house (see public (adj.)), which originally meant “any building open to the public” (1570s), then “inn that provides food and is licensed to sell ale, wine, and spirits” (1660s), and finally “tavern” (1768). Pub crawl first attested 1910 in British slang.
Actually, the term gastropub–a pub that places emphasis on serving high quality food– is probably more fitting for the Merrywell.
I came here on Sunday afternoon to catch up with a few old school friends that I hadn’t seen for a while. The Merrywell doesn’t take bookings, so we just arrived at 1pm hoping to find a table for five. We were lucky and found a great place to eat in the outside area; fortunately it wasn’t raining like it had been the previous couple of days. I did come once before on a Friday night and, as expected, it was near impossible to find a table.
After much deliberating, we decided to grab a few of the share plates. They all sounded so good, but we decided to limit it to four share plates and a side serving of the chips with bacon aioli. Before that, though, we ordered our drinks–a couple of cocktails, a beer, a cider and and a G&T for the table. I had the Great Wall Collins, which was delicious and had just the right amount of bitter Aperol. My friend had the Tasman Strait, which was equally delicious. Too often places seem to make cocktails that either are lacking in something and just taste flat, or are way too sweet, but these two had just the right balance. They were served in mason jars inscribed with the words “Quattro Stagioni”, the Italian translation of “Four Seasons”. I’m not normally a huge fan of the homespun style of barware, but The Merrywell pulls it off nicely. We had to go to the service counter to order our food and to the bar to get our drinks, which I guess is fitting with the pub’esque theme.
The food didn’t take too long to arrive and it all looked great, and easy to share without needing to divide everything up with a knife and fork. My dish of the day was probably the pink snapper tacos, which were packed full of flavour while maintaining the taste of the seafood. They also had a great chilli kick with the jalapeños, perfect with my cocktail. The pulled pork quesadillas were incredibly tasty too and I could easily have kept eating them.
I’d say the chips were a hit too, and tasted like they were double or triple cooked to brittle glasslike perfection. The bacon aioli was pretty damn good too, with little pieces of crispy fried bacon. I certainly didn’t feel like I was doing my body any favours by eating the chips and aioli, but they were worth every mouthful (besides, I ran 10km in the morning, so a few extra calories couldn’t hurt, right? )
Overall, a great day eating some great food, in the company of some great friends. I feel like I should do this more often, and I will certainly be returning to The Merrywell when the next opportunity arises to enjoy some of their not-so-typical “pub grub”. I recommend this place to anybody looking for simple yet incredibly tasty food, however be warned that they don’t take bookings and can get pretty busy, so be prepared to wait for a table during the peak hours.