I think that was the first sign of things to come really service wise. Somewhat hesitant and given we were in Port Fairy, seems apt to describe it as "away with the fairies". Ever so pleasant she was but no sense of purpose or urgency. She'd float in and out of the dining room in spite of it being full and really take her time with things including clearing our main course plates and then another spate of waiting and us watching her float around before she offered us the dessert menu. Not quite the zen like calm of a professionally run dining room and just more irritatingly slow.
Anyway whilst I'm on about the not so good, I guess I'll also call out that our table wasn't the best one for a relaxing evening as it was just inside the dining room so every table that arrived and every party that left would walk by and in this small and cosy room it was a bit annoying.
I've called out what didn't make me merry at the Merrijig and I don't want to dwell so let's talk about the good stuff...
Oh and in case you're wondering what those two cups of liquid are; it's a welcome palate cleansing spiced pear tea. Prettily presented, it was a tad too sweet for me but a nice touch.
- Char grilled quail with Spring garlic, globe artichoke hot pot and house made fig leaf ricotta
- Tassie scallops in their half shell with brown butter and pickled cauliflower
Steve opted for a trio of local oysters (unpictured) and ordered two of the scallops but we were generously served three as it was the last one. Lucky me - I was the worthy recipient. It was a small scallop but it was delicious with notes of buttery goodness and sea saltiness and then finished with a tang and a crunch from the pickled cauliflower. And I loved the colours in the presentation too.
- Roasted Portland Hapuka fillet with a potato and saffron bisque
I enjoyed the steak with the salsa verde and I think there were hints of cheese either in that or the green beans that it came with. I liked the surprise cheese element and the steak itself was tender and flavoursome.
There were definitely some tasty highlights at the Merrijig and the food was on the whole cooked really well with some satisfyingly savoury flavours coming through. Service was a bit here and there as mentioned previously and dessert wasn't robust enough but in all, we enjoyed this country fare.