Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Teppanyaki - what a lovely lunch (and font!)

It’s been a while since the
Merivale Winter Feasts Launch, and winter in Sydney has well and truly set in. Freezing cold mornings and rainy evenings are not what this little black duck is used to, so to cheer myself up, I arranged to have lunch at Merivale with a friend.

It was a close call between Teppanyaki and Ash St Cellar, which are both in the Ivy complex on George St. Since the weather is so, well, wintery, the indoor-ishness if Teppanyaki won out over the outdoor setting of Ash St Cellar.

The Winter Feasts deal consists of 3 courses (plus glass of wine or James Squire beer) for $35. The waitstaff are very friendly, and they recommended that we order different dishes between us, so as to get greater coverage. We had planned on doing this anyway, and this is what we got.

Appetiser was a bowl of miso soup, very warming and fragrant (no photo because it got blurred by the steam).
For first course, we got the Wagyu penny burgers (oh so cute) and the Balmain bug wontons (oh so tasty). The bite-sized burgers have a barbequed (or should that be teppanyaki-ed) flavour and are divine. The wontons are fantastically crisp with a large lump of bug meat inside; it’s served with a sweet vinegar and chilli dipping sauce.
Wagyu penny burgers; Balmain bug wontons

For the second course, my friend wanted the fish, which today was a kingfish ‘shabu-shabu’. While this shabu-shabu’ is normally served over a flame, here the hot broth was poured over the kingfish slices from an iron teapot, and the thinly-sliced fish turned opaque before our eyes. It was served on a bed of seaweed and enoki mushrooms. Very nice, and the fish was super fresh.

Kingfish shabu-shabu, with miso dipping sauce

I had a hard time choosing between the Wagyu striploin, or the pork belly. Thanks to seeing pictures of it on pigged-out, I got the pork belly, which consisted of tender pork belly pieces drenched in a black vinegar and star anise sauce. It was topped with shaved fennel and pickled ginger. Good choice, even if I say so myself.

Twice-cooked free-range Pork belly with fennel and caramelised black vinegar

The desserts are shared, and another conundrum – should I get black sesame panna cotta or banana tempura. I got to choose this time, so we had panna cotta. I like black sesame, and this dessert had the subtle but distinctive flavour of it melded into a luscious, smooth cream, layered with vanilla. It was topped with some raspberry coulis/jelly that complemented it perfectly.
Black sesame panna cotta
I love the atmosphere at Teppanyaki, being all dark wood furniture with spotlit tables. There’s also a communal table and an open kitchen – all up, it’s a pleasant place for lunch on a cold rainy day. The serving sizes in the Winter Feast were just right for us – not too big, not too small, and at $35, it was reasonable value.
Afterwards, we had a wander through the bar areas of Ivy (not open at lunchtime) and admired the velvet couches and stripey wallpaper. It’s definitely worth a visit for drinks, if you’re that way inclined.

Our waiter mentioned that the Winter Feasts menu will change next month, so it may (nay, will) be worth another visit, I think. In fact, the dishes on our menu were a bit different to the menu on their
website, so it probably changes depending on what’s available anyway. Regardless, get yourself there soon!

PS: I just love the ‘teppanyaki’ font – does anyone know what it is?


  1. Looks great. I love the sound of the kingfish shabu shabu and black sesame pannacotta - what a great idea!

  2. oh yum, i'll have to do the Winter Feasts here too. the one at Ash St Cellar was pretty good, except for the $60 of jamon which i also ate with it.

    use the 'WhatTheFont' iphone app to find that font...hehe :)

  3. Ooh the wagyu burgers look so cute and the pannacotta so pretty. Teppanyaki is definitely top of my list for my next winter feasts visit, it looks great!

  4. Yes, I'm definitely planning to go to Teppanyaki next! It's funny how in winter, you have to take indoor/outdoor and heating into consideration when dining out!

  5. This looks like great value! Must book our own lunch in asap! GFC for those who have stable jobs is a blessing :)

  6. I remember the pork from my last visit and it was magical mmmmmm ^^!

  7. had you not mentioned it, i would've said i like that font too! let me know if you find out what it is ;P

    i'm eyeing the black sesame panna cotta but otherwise rest of the food looks great :)

  8. The pork belly sounds lovely. The panacotta looks fantastic!!!

  9. I have to say that Merivale's Winter Feasts are such great value. The service and setting are great and it's great to see that the food is good too. And penny burgers-I'm there!

  10. sounds like great value! i must go try it out too! =]thanks for the insight!

  11. hi Helen - looks great, tastes great, was great

    hi Jen - what I wouldn't do for some good jamon... And re. the font - thanks for the tip but I'll have to get an iPhone first!

    hi Steph - the burgers made us go 'Ooooh'. You'll def have to try them.

    hi Betty - there was no way I was going to sit outside in the cold, even with gas heaters. Teppanyaki si so nice inside, too.

    hi Trina - thanks goodness for an income - and proximity to CBD restaurants!

    hi FFichiban - the pork was sooo good, I'll want it again if we go back.

    hi panda - still investigating the font. Will let you know when I find out.

    hi Anita - they were both fantastic, and great presentation, too.

    hi Lorraine - good service makes such a difference, and they are really nice there.

    hi K - you're most welcome!

  12. That black sesame pannacotta looks so lovely. What brilliant colours!