The Merrywell

Clarendon St & Crown Riverside, Southbank VIC
Date visited: 20th December 2012

I remember a colleague telling me last year after she returned from a holiday with her family to USA, that most of the restaurants that they went to served burgers and burgers and guess what?  Burgers.  Massive, meaty burgers with tons of cheese.  Her grandkids were happy, but after a few days, she she felt so sick of burgers (LOL) that toward the end, sometimes she would just skip dinner and walk home to her hotel room hungry, for she couldn't stand the sight of another burger.  My thoughts on it... are you kidding me?  I would be in heaven.

MerlinFan had been out of town working for the last five days.  Before her return to Melbourne, we had already decided where to head for lunch today.  MerlinFan's only requisite?

MEAT.  Why, The Merrywell sounded like just the place on this sunny day.  

The Merrywell is easy to locate just at the corner of Clarendon St and the riverside, so right at the Crown Casino tram stop.  Now I don't get what it is about this Upstairs and Downstairs business - check it out their website.  We dined Downstairs today, which mainly serves burgers, sandwiches and sides.

When you come in, there is a board above the counter, where you make your order and pay there then find your seats wherever you want.  Sweet.  I love free seating - MerlinFan and I found a big high table with bar stools near an open window where a cool breeze was blowing in.  =)  I loved the vast space and high ceilings; large tables and chairs made it the perfect place to sit and have a leisurely lunch or drinks with friends.
Condiments to add as you please
Staff were polite and smiley and our drinks came in good time.  I had The Merrywell Spider and MerlinFan had the Cherry Coke Float.
The Merrywell Spider $7 and Cherry Coke Float $7
We adored the floats.  A mountain of luscious cream and gigantic scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream (yes, two scoops, one buried at the bottom) drowned in Root Beer (or Cherry Coke in MerlinFan's case) - it sure brought nostalgic memories of being a kid again!  Just look at the little bubbles fizzing at the bottom - just looking at the photos, I want another one... NOW!

MerlinFan and I naturally had the burgers.

I chose their signature, The Merrywell which had lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, tomato, special sauce, bacon and fries.
The Merrywell $20
The thick patty was perfectly pink and oozing juice from the first bite.  It had a delicious chargrilled flavour around the edges which was a tad lacking in the centre.   The lightly dusted bun was soft and fluffy, perfect for soaking up juice, although my bottom piece did disintegrate halfway.  The lettuce, onions and tomato added texture, the special sauce, tangy pickles, melted cheese and bacon added that extra flavour I believe is essential in every good burger.    The Merrywell is also the most expensive burger at $20, but it is also the only burger that comes with a very small side of fries.  The fries were crispy and nicely seasoned.

MerlinFan had the MEL, which had fried egg, cheese, beets, pineapple and mayonnaise. 
MEL $14
MerlinFan said her patty was also pink and juicy, however erred toward the bland side and was described as a hunk of grilled beef that lacked seasoning.  She couldn't locate the yolk in the fried egg and couldn't taste any of the mayonnaise the MEL promised.  MerlinFan felt overall that the burger seemed to be lacking in some sort of sauce to bring all the elements together, and that the overall flavour was overwhelmed by pineapple and beetroot.  I suppose she could have added tomato, mustard or HP sauce but we feel you shouldn't need to with an excellent burger.  She also commented that at a hefty $14, she would have expected a side of chips.

If I do return to Merrywell, it would be for the ambiance - it had a great, relaxing feel and extremely comfortable seating.  Loved loved loved guzzling down those delightful floats too.  The burgers were pretty good although not the best in Melbourne and to be honest, not entirely worth the hefty price tag.

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