Monday, June 3, 2013

Dude Food a la The Merrywell

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadilla with Avocado, Tomato & Lime Crema

The first time I heard of the term "dude food" was when I was trawling food blogs featuring food in the United States. Pardon me if I got this wrong but I think the concept of "dude food" is very American. Dude food is aimed at "dudes"- men with hearty appetites, with a bit of flair. The menu also tend to feature men's love for "junky food" such as burgers, bacon, wings etc. As such, dude food is predominantly hearty, greasy, finger-licking and unfortunately, artery-clogging. Salad lovers and dieters may want to steer away from dude food.

Anyway, I digress. The second time I heard dude food being mentioned again was when MasterChef Australia 2012 featured dude food as one of its challenges. Boy, that episode became my favourite episode of the season. While I am very much a lady at heart, I have a soft spot for dude food. I mean, come on, who can say no to a good burger? Bacon anyone?

While dude food may have made its appearances over at the East Coast, dude food made its appearance in the form of The Merrywell at Crown Metropol Perth (formerly Burswood Resort). Fast forward a few months, when my friends wanted me to decide on a dining place for lunch, The Merrywell was on top of my list.

One section of the dining area at The Merrywell

Having researched on the menu extensively, I immediately knew what I was going to get. Lucky for me, my friends were on the same wavelength. After scoring a table and discussing our order, we split up: one to order food, one to get the drinks and one to look after the table. The Merrywell has a self-service policy. We ordered under the Share Plates section from the All Day Dining Menu as the Dinner Menu was only available after 5pm.

Swan River Sunset ($35 for 2L)

 First to reach the table was the pretty Seasonal Jug of Swan River Sunset. The description on the chalk bar behind the bar had us sold the minute we laid eyes on it. Tequila, lychee and pomegranate liqueur, lime and cranberry. Have I mentioned that we ALL love lychee and tequila? At $35 for a 2L carafe or jam bottle, it seems pretty reasonable since we managed to get 6 whisky glasses worth of drinks from it. As for the taste, Swan River Sunset was delicious until towards the end, where the drink became diluted from the melting ice.

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadilla with Avocado, Tomato & Lime Crema ($22)

The BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($22) arrived looking like summer on a plate. Imagine having a Mexican BBQ at the backyard of a Mexican home, with all the tropical flowers and colouring of brightly coloured tomatoes and avocado. What a sight! This dish is visually stunning! It is rare when a dish taste as good as it looks and this dish was one of them! The quesadilla arrived warm, with crispy tortilla skins and soft, tender and juicy pulled pork. I detected a slight sweetness hidden amongst the pulled pork (could it be pineapple?) which went well with the entire savoury-sweet trend. Think of maple bacon and salted caramel...
The Merrywell Chips with Bacon Aioli ($15)
Speaking of bacon, one of the reasons why I was so eager for The Merrywell was because of The Merrywell Chips ($15). To call it chips would be misleading because they were more like uber crispy double or triple fried broken up potatoes. They are neither like your cut strips of fried potato (thick cut chips or shoestring fries) and nor are they wedges. While I doubt anyone can resist uber crispy fried potatoes, the piece de resistance is the bacon aioli. Yes, bacon aioli. Aioli by itself is pretty genius but throw bacon into the mix- it is a food idea worthy of culinary god status. However, while the bacon aioli tasted pretty good, it didn't taste like it was worthy of culinary god status. To set the record straight, culinary god status will evoke thoughts of "OMG!", "This is incredible!", and a few more minutes of "OMG-ing" in my head, while I start having tears in my eyes or I start having mental images of fireworks or images in my head. It is also interesting to note that the bacon aioli had paprika in it which gave it some spice and heat but for those who are shy of spices, the heat from the bacon aioli does build up.

Wagyu Mini Beef Burgers 3 pcs ($22)
The Wagyu Mini Beef Burgers 3 pcs ($22) arrived at our table with glistening bread tops that looked soft and squishy. One bite into the burger, juices flooded into my mouth (in a good way). It was incredible. It reminded me of the Japanese burgers with soft and fluffy buns. The bread buns were sweet and buttery- very much like a brioche. The patties were juicy and full of flavour while the cheddar, caramelised onion and pickles added their own flavours, elevating the dish to resemble a full orchestra playing the climax of a bellowing piece. This was easily my favourite dish of the day.
Lollipop Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Fondue & Celery Sticks ($21)

The last dish of Lollipop Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Fondue and Celery Sticks ($21) sent my food climax rolling down to the valleys. While my friends and I differed in our food opinions, we had a common consensus that we didn't like this dish. Spicy like it should be, the taste was very one-dimensional. It lacked a certain complexity of flavours. However, I like The Merrywell's tribute to authentic Buffalo Wings as buffalo wings are traditionally served with a blue cheese sauce and celery sticks.

S commented that prices are steep for American grub but she did live in the States for a few years that it seems natural for her to balk at paying such prices for American grub that she could get for a few dollars in the States. I feel the same about paying Perth prices for Asian fare that I can get at home. As long as I'm not in the States, I will gladly return to The Merrywell for my share of American dude food. As I type this blog post, I am happy to announce that I have made another trip to The Merrywell. I couldn't get the Wagyu Mini Beef Burgers out of my head!

The Merrywell
Address: Crown Metropol Perth, Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood Western Australia 6100
Telephone: (08) 9362 7777
Opening Hours: 11.30am – midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11.30am – 3am Friday & Saturday
Kitchen Hours: Open until 11pm Sunday to Thursday and midnight Friday to Saturday.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

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