Merivale’s Winter Feasts have many talking -about its irresistable value for money and its risqué adverts. It is of course the follow up to the March into Merivale campaign where Justin Hemmes first convinced his top chefs to get their gear off. This time, they were back and just as naked beneath their winter coats.
At the launch party back in June, I was très impressed with plenty of dishes, but it was Ash Street Cellar’s creamed snapper and fennel soup with gremolata that had me captivated.
Without much persuasion, Wynn and her hubby John met Zen and myself there one night after work. Tucked in a laneway behind the The Ivy, you somehow fall into a European fantasty of intimate outdoor dining complete with gorgeous French cafe chairs. It’s a pity Ash Street Cellar doesn’t accept bookings because I would have otherwise had dined here many times before.
Ash Street Cellar’s Winter Feasts offer was 3 courses for $35 including a glass of wine or a James Squire.

Creamed fennel soup with leek and gremolata
Fried whitebait with chilli mayonnaise
Baby cos salad with crisp pancetta and an anchovy dressing
…………………………
Grilled eggplant with fetta and mint
Smoked salmon with garlic potatoes
Italian pork sausage with caramelized onion
…………………………
Gorgonzola piccante with quince and fruit bread
Fresh orange segments, lemon curd and short bread crumbs
Chocolate pretzels with caramel sauce

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts - Spanish Jamon Iberico
Spanish Jamon Iberico

However, we were quite hungry tonight and with my recent return from Barcelona, I felt it was only necessary to satisfy my cravings with 2 plates of Spanish Jamon Iberico. I was glad we topped up on the $35 Winter Feast because once the food had arrived, I noted they would be sensational for lunch but left you yearning for more at dinner.
The first plate of jamon iberico was generous which made the second look some what rushed and incomplete. The melt-in-your-mouth texture was beautiful.

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts - creamed fennel soup with leek and gremolata
Creamed fennel soup with leek and gremolata

My first course was naturally the creamed (not sure if there was snapper) fennel soup with leek and gremolata. It was exactly the way I remembered it to be, only this time, in a much larger serving -hooray.
The boy has the whitebait, forgetting his dislike of eating a fish whole. Their barely there crumbled batter makes them delicious and flavoursome, even though the remains of a small plate of fish heads may tell you differently.

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts -fried whitebait with chilli mayonnaise
Fried whitebait with chilli mayonnaise

My main course of Italian pork sausage had a gorgeous aroma but looked like it should have belonged to a banquet of tapas and not served solo. It was presented on a small bed of cabbage and caramelized onions and garnished with fresh parsley leaves -all of which turned a sausage into a hearty meal.

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts -italian pork sausage with caramelized onions
Italian pork sausage with caramelized onions

Meanwhile, I didn’t hear much from my dining companion regarding his smoked salmon which can only mean good things.

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts -smoked salmon with garlic potatoes
Smoked salmon with garlic potatoes

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts -chocolate pretzels with caramel sauce
Chocolate pretzels with caramel sauce

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts -gorgonzola piccante with quince and fruit bread
Gorgonzola piccante with quince and fruit bread

The desserts were all simple items but executed brilliantly. My crumble was divine. The tangy fresh orange segments were balanced sublimely with lemon curd and rich shortbread crumbs.

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts -fresh orange segments, lemon curd and short bread crumbs
Fresh orange segments, lemon curd and short bread crumbs

While we ended up spending more than $35 per person (on additional drinks, bread and jamon), I still think it’s fabulous value for money.
Here’s also a sneak peek at the offers around the other Merivale venues. Special thanks to Melissa at Merivale for inviting me to the Merivale Winter Feasts launch party as VIP! (Yes -it was awesome not having to fight over food with the general public, whilst balancing a DSLR!)
Bistro CBD

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Bistro CBD
Simun Dragicevich’s gougeres -cheesy choux puffs, duck rillette with beetroot, cornishons en croute and white chocolate tartlettes

Est.

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Est
Peter Doyle’s avocado, king crab and mint on lavosh; tartare of ocean trout, cucumber, ponzu and coriander and tuscan bean stew and braised beef cheek tarts

Lotus

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Lotus
Dan Hong’s tuna tartare with sweet wasabi

Mad Cow

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Mad Cow
Christopher Whitehead’s goat’s curd, pear and rocket mini tart, our signature beef tartare and chocolate brownies

Sushi e

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Sushi E
Ura San’s ocean trout sashimi

Teppanyaki

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Teppanyaki
Akira Urata’s king fish skewers with Asian salsa, mini wagyu penny burger and Beijing duck ‘ivy style’

Uccello

Ash Street Cellar, Merivale Winter Feasts Launch party - Uccello
Massimo Bianchi’s prosciutto san daniele and grissini and tiramisu

Merivale Winter Feasts are available as 1, 2 or 3 courses with a glass of wine or a James Squire, Monday to Friday, 12 noon – 2pm and 6 – 8pm. Go to merivalewinterfeasts.com for Winter Feast menu options and more info.
Ash Street Cellar on Urbanspoon
Ash St Cellar
1 Ash St, Sydney
www.merivale.com/#/ivy/ashstreetcellar

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
  • Everyone’s raving about that soup (I missed out on it), so I think Ash St Cellar is due for a visit. And you had 2 plates of jamon??!!

  • Ash St Cellar is definitely on my list of Winter Feasts to try. They are such good value, even if they don’t always fill you up heaps. The desserts look worth it, oh I want that crumble!

  • ONLY $35 is what you should be saying for all that and all those tastes! nom!