Oh. Hell. Yes. The time of year all foodies look forward to the most is finally here *insert raised hands emoji*. The time when all of our time and energy goes to witnessing the best Sydney has to offer. In case you’ve been living under a rock, March into Merivale is the annual food, wine, and general awesomeness festival from the guys behind the best in the ‘biz. And like we didn’t think it was possible, they’ve stepped it up again this year. Dammit, Merivale, how do you read our minds so well?
This year, the food and wine extravaganza will run for five weeks, and I can just hear you channelling Step Brothers: “So much time for activities!”
I don’t want to overwhelm you, so naturally I have crafted a detailed rundown of the things you simply must do. Spoiler alert: That’s pretty much everything #soz.
Here are our top picks of March into Merivale 2016.
#1 March Into Merivale Launch Party | Wednesday 10th February
This is literally Christmas to me. Some of the best restaurants in Sydney, taking over the ivy (literally the whole thing, from Pool Club to the Ballroom and all through Ash St Laneway, handing out tasty morsels for a small price? Poke me with a skewer because I am done. Why is this foodie fairyland such a cause for screaming excitement? Well, for a casual $45, you’ll get a ticket to the foodie event of the year, including eight food and drink tokens. So, in theory, you can sample some of the dishes from est. for a cheeky $5, drop by Mr. Wong for seconds, then hit Lorraine’s Patisserie harder than you’d hit a spider with a shoe, all while sipping on cocktails from the likes of Palmer & Co. And they’re not wanky tiny portions either, you’ll be full as a fresh jar of Nutella after getting through your tokens. If you have space to spare, don’t fret, there are top-up stations available for a small fee. Update: menus for the March into Merivale launch party have officially been released, and they. are. amazing. Check it out here.
But hurry, guys. This event is next week, so you want to snap up your tickets quick smart.
#2 Mystery Feast | Monday - Saturday
Was your New Year’s resolution to be more spontaneous (but also to stop using the term YOLO)? I hear ya. Well, good news! You won’t need to jump out of a plane willy nilly this year, because you can treat yourself to the MIM Mystery Feast every Monday – Saturday throughout the festival. One night, you might be chowing down on some heavenly dumplings from Mr. Wong, and the next you could be living it up in the grand dining room at est. Our mates at Merivale are offering this sweet deal for just $35 at lunch (one course and a glass of wine, Monday-Friday) and $75 at dinner (three courses and three glasses of wine, Monday- Saturday). Bang, meet buck. You’re going to get along juuuust fine.
#3 Guilty Pleasures | Every Friday from 19th Feb – 18th March
Obviously I’m not the only one that is beside themselves with excitement that it’s cool to dance to dirty pop music and get dressed up, because Guilty Pleasures has answered all of my prayers. Every Friday from Feb 19th, outrageous DJs, cabaret performances, and something called Chandon’s Unplanned Band (I love them already) are taking over Palings and letting you live out your guiltiest pleasure: pop music. Inspired by the UK phenomenon, this is simply mandatory. And at $20 per head, you’d be damn well rude not to. Plus, it’s the first time Guilty Pleasures has hit Australian shores, so let’s show ‘em how it’s done.
#4 Friends With Benefits | Every Tuesday from 16th Feb
Get your mind out of the gutter, guys. It’s not what you think… But it could be if you pick the right location *wink*. Sharing is caring, so the Merivale team are putting on some bang-tidy meal deals. Bring along a friend for a meal and score yourself a two-course meal of your choice from the a la carte menu, a drink of your choice, and a few surprises (stay tuned…) at some of the best names in the biz. If you’re a big ol’ cheapskate, don’t worry, Merivale’s Friends With Benefits offer will only set you back $45-$75 depending on the venue. Now go forth and benefit, friend. Everyone’s gotta get some.
#5 Show Off | Every Wednesday from 17th Feb
If anyone is allowed to show off and not hold back, it’s the Merivale guys. Why? Well, because they’re the tits. And also because they have some of the best damn chefs in the world. They’re kicking things off with Between Two Buns, a great burger-off between some of Merivale’s best chefs. Six, to be precise. If you’re there on the evening, you’ll be able to try each one yourself and vote for the best before a winner is crowned. It’s $45 a head, which seems a small price to pay for the honour of undoing your jeans button. There are four other Show Off events, from European Laneway Dining to Wok On 2, Room For One More, and Bubble With Guilt. Intrigued? Yaasss Queen! Check out all of the details here.
#6 Chef Signature | Every Thursday from 18th Feb
Bow down, because the guys that have kept your stomach happier than a clam for years will be spending Thursday nights impressing you even more.Think of an indulgent seafood extravaganza with the legendary Peter Doyle from est. and all-around champion Jordan Toft from Coogee Pavilion, an intimate French feast with Ben Greeno from The Paddington and Nathan Johnson from Felix, and plenty more show-stoppers. Pay it forward, guys, support the ones that have supported you (and your eating habits).
#7 Show And Tell | Every Monday from 15th Feb
No doubt you’ve eaten the nectar of the gods in the form of Lorraine Godsmark’s baked goods, or marvelled in the décor of pretty much any Merivale venue and wondered what kind of sorcery is behind it. Wonder no more, because March into Merivale is as much about learning as it is about feasting. Kicking things off on February 15th with a Chocsessive class form Lorraine herself, and continuing with Wine Not? With Merivale sommelier Franck Moreau and Villa Maria’s Josh Hammond, there is plenty of brain food for you. If you just can’t stop, won’t stop obsessing over Dan Hong’s Instagram, you can attend his #Instaskills workshop with the equally cool Patrick Friesen. Or, if you’re simply a design junkie, head to the Style Me Merivale Workshop and learn the tricks of the trade.
#8 Festival Sundays | March 6th & 20th
If my incredible writing prowess had you sold on the joys of March Into Merivale’s opening night festival, then you’re about to send me a basket of baked goods, because there are two more epic festivals to sink your teeth into, and they have foodies and, er, dancies covered. Sunday Sundown will take place on March 6th at ivy Pool Club and Coogee Rooftop respectively. Your ears will be gifted with DJ sets from dusk, and plenty of drink specials to keep you hydrated. For the families, it’s all about the Coogee Foreshore Festival on March 20th, where the food and drink tokens are back, and entertainment is aplenty. I won’t spoil all the details, but it’s the kind of place you don’t want to be, you NEED to be.
#9 Pacha Presents Absolut Nights | Every Saturday from 20th Feb – 26th March
Didn’t think they’d leave out Pacha, did you? The five best nights of your life are just around the corner, so you better be prepared. Insane DJs including Yolanda Be Cool and Robin Schulz will be giving you no choice but to dance all night long among excellent company and some seriously jaw-dropping productions. If you’re looking to do new things in 2016, make this a top priority.
#10 #Livelifeunplanned | Ongoing
Can’t decide? I’m not surprised. This list is like making you choose between your family members. If you’re planning to hit March Into Merivale hard, then this is the one for you. $180 and a sense of adventure will score you The Ultimate Chandon Unplanned Pass. Say whaaaat? Settle down, I’ll get to it. The pass includes a Mystery Dinner, and access to your choice of two events including the launch party, Wednesday Show Off series, Friday Guilty Pleasures, Pacha Presents Absolut Nights, and Coogee Foreshore Festival. Think of it like a golden ticket to all of the awesome things Merivale offers.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso at Ms G's
Director: Pete Moore, of Snakes & Ladders Films
Director of Photography: James L. Brown
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