[UPDATE 09/08/2022]: As we crawl closer to the opening of Sydney’s $828 million Allianz Stadium, the massive new venue’s food and beverage partner, Merivale, has firmed up some more plans regarding what kind of food punters will be eating at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The headliner here is that the venue will have no less than 64 different hospitality venues scattered across the stadium, which can seat 42,500 fans, has seven private function rooms, 51 suites, two outdoor terraces and 84 outdoor boxes.
While a lot of what Merivale has done at the Sydney Cricket Ground will be mirrored by Allianz Stadium, exclusives will be a Ms G’s Noodles & Dumplings venue from Dan Hong and, in the member’s area, Totti’s Pasta Bar helmed by Executive Chef Mike Eggert. Mimi’s chef Jordan Toft will also be opening Bert’s Bistro at the eastern end of the Member’s Concourse so punters won’t have to head all the way up to Newport to tuck into the seafood restaurant’s signatures.
Considering Ms G’s and Totti’s are two of the most reliable and widely loved restaurants in the Merivale stable, this should be welcome news for anyone craving something more substantial than a sad sausage sanga and a schooner.
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Established SCG favourites like Jimmy’s Falafel, a taco and hot dog stand from El Loco, Burger Shack and Vinnie’s Pizza will be replicated at the Allianz Stadium, propping up a food offering that pulls in some of Sydney’s most definitive casual eateries and bars.
Hong’s Ms G’s Noodles & Dumplings will be a spin-off from the Potts Point original, although according to a press release the casualised venue will be serving up some of the tried-and-true favourites from the Ms G’s menu including cheeseburger spring rolls, pork buns, steamed prawn har gau dumplings and salt & pepper squid.
Eggert’s Totti’s Pasta Bar will be a spin-off from Totti’s and include a wide range of shared antipasti including tomatoes, mortadella, burrata and marinated peppers alongside substantial pasta dishes and the chef’s popular Neapolitan ice cream sandwich. Details released by Merivale don’t indicate whether or not Totti’s Pasta Bar will also be serving some of that signature wood-fired bread, but I’d be surprised if Totti’s most defining trait isn’t on the menu.
Toft’s Bert’s Bistro will be a sit-down affair and more of an upscale offering for anyone in the member’s concourse. It’s all sounding very coastal European here, with oysters flavoured by Chardonnay mignonette, warm brioche fingers with cured salmon and fennel, grilled lobster in garlic butter and wagyu sirloin bearnaise with fries.
“We are tremendously excited to enter the second phase of our hospitality partnership with Venues NSW and cannot wait for the incredible Allianz Stadium to open its doors to a new world of entertainment,” said Hemmes.
“Our stadium hospitality continues to go from strength to strength, and we’re so eager to be a part of the wonderful stadium experience for the millions of guests who are clamouring to see this jewel in the crown of Sydney’s sports and entertainment landscape.”
Allianz Stadium opens on Sunday, August 28 with a series of free events, including a free-entry community day headlined by Baker Boy and Guy Sebastian. First match on the cards if Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs on September 2, followed by Wallabies vs Spingboks on September 3 and Matilda’s vs Canada on September 6. Over the following months, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber and Elton John are all locked in to play concerts at the Moore Park stadium.
[UPDATE: 19/11/2021]: Merivale has now confirmed the hospitality group’s ambitious plans to completely transform the way punters eat at the Sydney Cricket Ground, taking the sporting venue’s food offerings and elevating them with various established Merivale Group brands including Vinnie’s Pizza, Jimmy’s Falafel, Queen Chow, The Chicken Shop, and El Loco.
Led by a who’s who of Merivale chefs, including Dan Hong (Mr Wong, Queen Chow), Jordan Toft (Mimi’s), Ben Greeno (The Paddington), Danielle Alvarez (Fred’s), and Mike Eggert (Totti’s), the team chosen to develop SCG’s new premium food offerings will work with Merivale group operations manager Debbie Higgins to introduce some very big, delicious changes to one of Sydney’s most beloved sporting venues.
In addition to the above, Merivale will open Bistro 1886 in the Members’ Pavilion, taking inspiration from the group’s French bistro, Felix, by building up a recipe that’s no doubt going to be flowing with steak frites and a hefty selection of Fine French wines for members.
General Admission punters will have access to a new restaurant called Smokehouse, which sounds like it was inspired by former Manly eatery Papi Chulo with a smorgasbord of smoked meats and craft beer in a sports bar setting. Other casual eats will include Dan Hong’s dumplings and cheeseburger spring rolls, Danielle Alvarez’s Spanish bocadillo sandwiches, and Mike Eggert’s more premium meat pies and burgers.
In addition to Merivale’s contract with Sydney Cricket Ground, the hospitality group will be taking care of the premium food offerings at the Sydney Football Stadium, which is still under construction.
In case you were thinking culinary gentrification would transform the SCG from a sport’s enthusiasts’ playground to a foodie’s Instagram prop, Merivale isn’t going to be messing with the classics. You’ll still be able to grab standard meat pies from concession stands and hot chips, hot dogs, and sodas all over the venue. Standard issue beers like VB and Fruphy will still be available at the bars, and you should also be able to get some cheap house wines in addition to the more premium offerings that Merivale will bring to the table.
Merivale will begin providing food and drinks at the SCG from the men’s Big Bash League kick-off on December 5.
Original Article – Merivale Is Setting Up Shop At The SCG & Sydney Football Stadium
Justin Hemmes has been on a red-hot shopping spree these last 18 months. From Victoria’s Lorne Pub, Tomasetti House at 277 Flinders Lane, to a smattering of Byron Bay locations, and everything else in between – the hospitality mogul has shelled out upwards of $200 million for his recent real estate acquisitions. With no signs of momentum slowing, Hemmes’ Merivale empire has now staked its claim into a slightly different kind of territory: the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and the currently under-construction Sydney Football Stadium (SFS).
Good Food reports Merivale have prevailed in the “cut-throat, winner-takes-all” battle for both stadiums’ catering contract, which involved active competition from an entire procession of potential suitors. Familiar names which were in the running included Bourke Street Bakery, Flying Fish & Chips, as well as a bidder linked with celebrity chef Matt Moran.
Soon enough, the Hemmes-led operation will be replacing longtime Venues Live partner and catering incumbent, Delaware North, which has handled concessions + premium dining at the SCG since 2010.
While Merivale has declined to issue a comment at this final contract stage, rival bidders were more than happy to offer a statement regarding how difficult it was/is to challenge the Merivale hegemony.
“When we heard they [Merivale] were on the shortlist, we knew it’d be hard to compete and they nabbed it,” states one anonymous party.
“Venues NSW is continuing to evaluate the shortlisted bids for the catering partner at the Sydney Cricket Ground and new Sydney Football Stadium,” explains a spokesperson for Venues NSW; obviously in an effort to temper expectations before all relevant parties sign the dotted line.
“The tender process has been conducted in line with NSW Government procurement guidelines.”
Once all the paperwork and so forth is up to scratch, you can an official announcement from Merivale regarding its freshly-inked contract with the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) sometime next month; and also expect to sink an ice-cold schoobanger alongside some rather elevated stadium nibbles, similar to what’s on the menu at Mr Wong, Jimmy’s Falafel, Totti’s, etc.