Having seen their amazing summer specials on Instagram, I was so excited to try the delicious multicultural dishes being cooked up at The Merton Bistro!
We left the selection of an entree in the hands of the chef, and she surprised us with a serving of Betel Leaves ($10) with citrus coconut and peanut, and a hint of fresh chilli! This dish was so unique, and difficult to describe, with a flavour reminiscent of a savory coconut slice. We also discovered that the betel leaves are eaten in a similar way to a san choy bau. It was slightly sweet and had an intriguing texture, and we couldn’t help going back for more!
We then tried a selection of three of their curries with rice and roti. The Merton Bistro’s speciality curry is the goat, cooked in the style of a Carribean curry with 20 herbs and spices. They certainly shone through, and the blend of spices was perfect to bring out the taste of the goat. The goat meat itself was surprisingly tender and so spicy, so this is definitely a dish for chilli lovers!
For a milder but richer option, their chicken curry, cooked Malay style with coconut cream, curry leaves and star anise, is perfect eaten with the soft flaky roti. We also really liked the Burmese pork curry, which was a true fusion dish in its combination of Indian and Thai flavours. The pork was also deliciously tender and slightly sweet, but also well spiced, and a good medium point between the other two curries. The 3 curries with a bowl of rice and two roti’s was $35, which is great value and enough quantity to feed 2-3 people.
Finally, we had to sample one of their daily specials. Their head chef changes the menu seasonally, and has revamped the soft shell crab dish on the main menu to include king prawns instead with a sweet mango salad, dressed with mint, lime and chilli ($26). We absolutely loved this dish, as it soothed the chilli from the curries, but still had its own flavour and slight spiciness to it! The prawns were perfectly grilled and so fresh, but next time I’d love to try it with the crunchy soft shell crab as well – yum!
The Merton Bistro is very accessible by public transport, and there’s a bus stop a few doors down. The bistro section is sectioned off from the main pub area, and the pub doesn’t have pokies, making it very family friendly. It’s also a great place for a nice shared meal, as the portions are large, and the menu is so diverse, so there’s something for everyone.
There is plenty of seating in the bistro portion, which has large open windows, making it great for a hot summer’s day to let in the evening breeze. The staff are so helpful and very proud to share their amazing dishes, which have been carefully crafted based on what their locals and regulars like, and their own cooking backgrounds and cultures.
On a menu this diverse, we were so surprised to find that every dish is as carefully put together as the next, and the flavour combinations are really on point. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience of The Merton Bistro’s fusion dishes, and will definitely be back for more!
Note: Khana dined as a guest of The Merton Bistro.