Thursday, August 13, 2009

Merivale Laneway Dining at Ash St Cellar

I’ve been meaning to visit Ash St Cellar ever since the Merivale Winter Feasts launch. Then the urge was compounded after reading about visits by Jenius and eatshowtell (among others).
Well, my turn finally came yesterday. My delayed visit was caused in part by the weather reports – as Ash St Cellar is situated in a rather shadowy laneway between tall buildings, I made sure to pick a warmish day for it.

I needn’t have worried, as they have some pretty good outdoor gas heaters to warm up the area. The food is delightfully warming, too. We had the Winter Feasts menu, where you get 3 courses for $35 pp. This also includes a glass of house red or white wine or beer.

Glass of sauvignon blanc and shiraz.
Bread served with lovely fruity olive oil, salt flakes

I wanted to have the soup to start, after hearing rave reviews about the fennel soup that was on previous menus. This time, there was a cream of mushroom soup which sounded good, but the cured tuna belly sounded better (so much so that we both ordered it). The tuna looked a lot like prosciutto (a bit dried), but it went well with the accompanying salad of capsicum and mayonnaise.

Cured tuna belly with fresh capsicum and lemon mayonnaise

Next, my friend ordered the ocean trout (moist yet firm, nicely grilled), but I think my marinated chicken was better. The thigh meat had been marinated in rosemary and garlic, then grilled, leaving a gorgeous crusty coating. The flavours were great in this dish.

Ocean trout with zucchini, lemon and crouton salad

Rosemary and garlic-marinated chicken thigh with corn

I wonder if anyone ever orders all savoury dishes for their 3 courses? Personally, I would not want to miss out on dessert, and the poached quince sounded fantastic. It came in one of those Spanish tapas dishes, all cracked brown glaze and all. The cream underneath was flavoured with cinnamon and the homemade honeycomb was satisfying shatter-y and slightly burnt-tasting (in a good way).
Poached quince with spiced cream and honeycomb
Because it was so good, here's another picture of it:

All up, it was a great place to have a quick midweek lunch. This venue would be really pleasant in summer, as well, for a meal (or something) after work. I like that it’s away from the bustle and crowdedness of the ivy bars, though the laneway it’s in is not the most salubrious.

Also, the menu has changed from the previous months, so it’s worth visiting again even if you’ve been before. The Winter Feasts menu is available 12-2pm and 6-8pm.
Ash St Cellar is in Ash St, Sydney.
It’s behind the ivy complex, in the laneway between George St and the City Recital Hall in Angel Place/Pitt St. It doesn’t take bookings.


  1. Love the presentation of the poached quince. So pretty! The only thing I'd be worried about would be eating the honeycomb before it got soggy!

  2. I didn't realise that you dined in an alleyway! :o And that crackled topped Tapas is interesting and so unlike the usual Merivale slickness although I love it's rustic-ness!.

  3. I agree. The poached quince dish looks incredible..!

  4. The dessert looks gorgeous, and I love the little pansies on top. Quince, cream and honeycomb would be lovely.

  5. Ooh! The servings look to have gotten slightly bigger over the time the promotion has been on. That dessert looks (and sounds) divine. Right up my alley (if you'll pardon the pun).

  6. I love how they serve the dessert on the Spanish tapas dishes. So rustic!

  7. i love the colours in their dishes! and agree, that tuna is looking a lot like prosciutto!

  8. OOhh I've beenw anting to try for a long time but everytime I go it is closed :(

  9. I love honeycomb :)
    I like the feel of Ash St Cellar - it almost feels like you're in a Melbourne alley wine bar.
    (and you are correct in guessing that it IS absolutely lovely and pleasant in summer)!

  10. hi Helen - it's very pretty, isn't it? The honeycomb didn't get soggy at all, probably because I ate all it before it got the chance!

    hi Lorraine - it's partly outside in the laneway. And I love those tapas bowls, too. Makes the food seem more 'authentic' somehow?

    hi Anh - and the qunice was very delicious to boot!

    hi Arwen - I wasn't sure if the flowers were edible, but I did want to (but didn't)

    hi shez - the serving sizes were just right, for lunch anyway!

    hi Ellie - the dish looks great, doesn't it?

    hi panda - I thought they gave us the wrong dish at first, but it definitely was tuna.

    hi FFichiban - they are open pretty late, I think? Maybe they close when there's no should try again soon.

    hi food.4.two - that's what I thought, it's just like Melbourne. I wish there were more places like that in Sydney...