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From naked chefs, to superheroes in leotards, it is that time of year again when Merivale Chefs come together to save the day and your wallet with $33 lunch and dinner offers across nine restaurants in the Merivale headquarter on George Street. The annual March Into Merivale is in full swing right now until mid April and a rather large group of food bloggers were invited to the launch party to have the first glimpse of what they have to offer this year.

Despite the exclusive invite to check out the food and the venue 45 minutes prior to official opening to the public, we actually were waiting at the Ivy Pool bar while the chefs are still busy preparing the food. So we ended up we only had 15 minutes to quickly take photos and try as many canapes as we can before a stampede of hungry hungry hippos stomping into the room. After I’ve attended the March into Merivale launch parties consecutively for two years, I’ve learned that there are many things that you musn’t do and here’s the top 10.

10. Do not accept drinks.

Okay, this point is mainly directed to food bloggers whom we all know this basic rule – one hand for camera, and one hand for food. No matter how thirsty you are, never succumb to temptation for a bottle of cold beer until your have accomplished the mission of taking photos of every single canapes of the evening. Unless you have a “third” hand, then be my guest and go ahead.

9. Do not take pictures of food.

I know, I know. It is a little contradictory to what I have just said on point no.10. Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun tasting the food with your mouth instead of your eyes? “But you did it yourself?” What? Are you judging me now? My excuse is I have to take photos of the food so I can share them with others who missed out of the event. No one is perfect, you know?!

Bistro CBD

  • Goats cheese and fig tartlet, balsamic glace
  • Brandade, cured salmon, gribiche, en croute
  • Chocolate indulgence

8. Never bring partner along.

Partner = handbag. It is a feisty evening, and everyone is fighting for glory! Dragging a partner along, trying to squeeze into the crowd and then only realised that you have lost him in the masses, and spend half of the time, texting back and forth to locate him is a waste of time! So leave the partner at home!

7. Don’t just stand there. PUSH IN!

Exactly! No one will pity you standing at a corner feeling sorry for yourself that you can’t get close enough to try the food or pretend to be “cool” or whatever. Use the “elbow technique” if you must, although we hold no responsibility if anybody gets hurt!


  • Gingerbread, chicken liver parfait and Tasmanian black currants
  • Grilled scallop tartare, olive oil, lime juice, washed red onion and pork crackle
  • Skewer of Serrano jamon, compressed rock melon and nasturtium

6. Do not ask Dan Hong about his purple leotard.

I mean seriously, let Dan Hong focus and concentrate on what he is doing while busy juggling between tasks and leave his balls alone people.


  • Pork “Banh Mi” croutons
  • Skewer of prawn crusted with “Tasty Toobs”
  • Ocean trout ceviche with Thai flavours

5. Do not walk against the crowd.

Unless you are a fish, salmon in particular and prefer to swim upstream, if not then stop walking in the totally opposite direction as everyone else. Think like you are on the elevator, or driving on the road – keep left and merge in slowly! What’s wrong with you people?


  • Parmesan and prosecco risotto
  • Beef and porcini lasagne with quattro formaggi

4. Don’t be rude.

Okay, be serious for once. We are all here because we all love food. It is totally unnecessary to shove and push to get ahead of everyone when it was already so crowded inside. Respect the Merivale chefs and appreciate the food they’ve prepared for you this evening. Save your 2 cents for next time.

Sushi e

  • Roast Duck: shallot with Yuzu Kosho sauce
  • Establishment Roll
  • Spicy Salmon Roll

3. Do not make fun of that dude with funny moustache.

Because he will eff-ing kill you! No but seriously, the dude with curly moustache at the Mad Cow stand has the most amazing wagyu flank steak with chimichurri sauce that I’ve ever tasted. Funny moustache man with wagyu beef is your best friend. No joke!

Mad Cow

  • Heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil with preserved lemon
  • Grilled rangers valley wagyu flank steak with chimichurri sauce
  • Chicken liver pate on crouton

2. Never leave until you try it all.

It’s free. And it is absolutely madness. No one cares if you are already moving to the next stand grabbing a canapes while you still have three sticks of prawn skewers in hand. You probably look like a cheapskate, but oh! Look at those wagyu penny burger at Teppanyaki stand! Let’s go!


  • Roasted Kurobuta pork, green apple and ginger soy sauce
  • Wagyu penny burgers with spicy mayonnaise
  • Seared Tasmanian salmon, Amazu ponzu and dried miso

1. Actually, do not go at all.

Let’s face it, the launch party is all fun with free food and everything but it actually cost you more hassle than what you have bargained for. Instead, why not take advantage of the $33 promotion offer which runs from Feb until mid April, among all nine restaurants in Merivale group for you to choose from. No fuss, no crowd, rock up, let’s eat!

Ash St Cellar

  • Bouillabaisse with rouille
  • Sheeps milk labne, beetroot and mustard fruits in a filo tartlet
March Into Merivale $33 lunch or dinner promotion offers run between 15 Feb - 16 April.
For more information, please visit

[A Table For Two attended the launch party courtesy of Merivale Group.]