The Merrywell Bar & Dining

Crown Riverwalk, 8 Whiteman St
Southbank, 3006 VIC
(03) 9292 5777

Opening Hours

SUN 12:00pm - late
MON 12:00pm - late
TUE 12:00pm - late
WED 12:00pm - late
THU 12:00pm - late
FRI 12:00pm - late
SAT 12:00pm - late

The Details

  • American
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In the mood for
  • Beer
  • Cocktails
  • Wine

The verdict

First things first, you have to understand there’s a big difference between Merrywell Burger Bar and Merrywell Bar & Dining. Kind of like the difference between Dandenong and The Dandenongs. One is the award-winning downstairs burger bar—all pints, punters and slightly pink patties. And that hasn’t changed.

What has changed is the upstairs restaurant: Merrywell Bar & Dining. For ages, this place was basically a more sophisticated version of Merrywell Burger Bar. You could get smoked brisket and mac n’ cheese balls, chef’d up American BBQ and ribs that made it difficult to get out of the chair.

Now it’s different. Merrywell’s new Chef De Cuisine, Kevin Chung, has teamed up with Daniel Wilson (of Huxtaburger fame) to create a banging, modern Australian menu. What else do you call a place that serves tuna tartare with tequila guac and kimchi-spiked Korean Bolognese? Pan-global? Yeah, let’s go with that. It’s a round-the-world ticket for your mouth.

“Modern versions of classics are the focus of the new menu,” says Wilson. “The idea is that the dishes needed to match the vibrant new space - and a sharing menu seemed like the perfect fit for everyone to get stuck in and enjoy good food with friends or colleagues.”

The décor up here has had a tjuz as well. It’s more sophisticated and a little brighter than before, with a teaspoon of New York-design. Our favourite seats are either out on the balcony (if the weather’s good) or tucked up by the fire with a couple of cocktails and the mandarin pavlova.

Which brings us to the food. The last thing you’d expect from Daniel Wilson is to steer a restaurant away from burgers, but he’s definitely shooting for the moon here. Kick-off the night with ‘Conversation Starters’, maybe a plate of Beef Rendang spring rolls (delish) with sticky chilli dipping sauce, or Hainanese chicken rice paper rolls with ginger and crispy shallots (these are insanely good).

Next, order up a few bigger plates to share. We can recommend the crap out of the wood-grilled King prawns with macadamia hummus, and the Korean Bolognese: simmered for four hours and served up with giant rice noodles, tonnes of kimchi and delicate shimeji mushrooms.

If you’re starving, ignore everyone and just hog a plate of the DIY snapper tacos with jalapeno slaw. There’s also some cracking Black Angus steaks and a panko-crumbed schnitz on there, if you want to play it safe. It’s generally best just to trust Wilson’s genius—we were sceptical about ‘Korean Bolognese’ at first, but one mouthful and we were ready to follow Wilson into battle.

The wine list upstairs bats a lot deeper than the Merrywell Burger Bar, and pretty much everything is grown local. You’ve got by the glass options from the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Beechworth, or go nuts with a Penfolds ‘Bin 150’ Shiraz for $185. The cocktails aren’t the Mickey Mouse variety either—think New York classics with a cheeky Melbourne twist.

When we first heard The Merrywell was changing, we were worried it meant no more burgers. But the burgers are still there downstairs (and they’re still damn good). Upstairs though is where things get interesting. We’ll be back soon for another bit of that Bolognese...

on the A List

Melbourne, Your AFL Finals Themed Burgers Have Finally Arrived
By Ben Tyers - 05 Sep 2017

Yep, the calendar has flipped over to September, and that can only mean one thing—footy finals. And while watching the football with… Read More +

Art & Design
50 of Melbourne’s Best Gluten-Free Feeds
By Sarah Kempson - 29 Jul 2015

These days, every Melbourne cafe or restaurant worth its salt has repurposed its menu to indicate what is safe for the gluten intolerant… Read More +

What's On
This Weekend in Melbourne
By Ellen Seah - 14 May 2015

Events this weekend make up a truly Melburnian mix-and-match scene. From music to food, parties to books, there’s plenty on this list… Read More +

Melbourne’s Best Milkshakes: Round 2
By Hannah Valmadre - 10 Nov 2014

You asked for it and here it is: the Best Milkshakes in Melbourne: Round 2! Rest assured readers, your comments and demands did not go… Read More +

Melbourne’s 50 Best Fat Feeds
By Pip Jarvis - 26 Sep 2014

While #cleaneating is all well and good, some of us don't mind a little extra junk in our trunk if it means we can dunk them doughnuts,… Read More +

11 of Australia’s Best Burgers | 2014
By Sophia McMeekin - 28 Aug 2014

Today we're making big declarations of love. Today we're talking burgers. But not just any old burgers. We've compiled a… Read More +

What's On
Where to Celebrate 4th of July in Melbourne
By Kathryn Kernohan - 02 Jul 2014

To those with an observant eye on history, July 4 is Independence Day – America's national holiday to commemorate the adoption of… Read More +

What’s Open Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday | 2014 Edition
By Alice Raitt - 06 Jun 2014

God save the Queen… and maybe give us a three-day weekend while you're at it? Yes, please, thank you! This Queen's Birthday… Read More +

The Making of The Merrywell Burger with Ewart Wardhaugh
By Iro Kotsimbos - 28 May 2014

It's no secret - here at The Urban List we are OBSESSED with burgers. On a daily basis, we're consumed by thoughts of gloriously… Read More +

50 Meals You Should Have Eaten If You Live In Melbourne
By Jessica Hackett - 14 May 2014

Oh Melbourne, you delicious, delectable, delightful devourer's dream. How you astound and flabbergast us with your culinary exploits… Read More +

Bite Me! Melbourne’s Best Burgers
By Ella Stening - 17 Oct 2013

Is there anything better than a burger? A big meaty, juicy, delicious burger. Even one with all the Aussie trimmings: some egg, beetroot,… Read More +