Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pizza Pizza!

It may sound a bit gimmicky to run a special menu promotion branded as a "Bake Off" between professional chefs and professional food writers (who wouldn't want some rivalry talk?), but then I couldn't care less as long as it was a good enough excuse to have more pizzas at Lan Kwai Fong’s Mercato, one of my favorite joints in town for casual dining. This "Great Pizza Bake Off" campaign was running for 10 straight weeks starting late August, with each fortnight featuring two different pizzas, one by someone who cooks for a living, and one by someone who writes about cooking for a living.

I was there during the first week to try both the pizzas by Chef Tony Burd from Mercato and Tiffany Chan from Crave Magazine to kick off the event. Both went for the traditional combinations but with a slight twist. Chef Tony’s version featured grilled pineapple, pork belly confit, three cheeses and pickled shallot for a glorified Hawaiian pizza, while Tiffany’s one was based in traditional carbonara (pancetta, parmigiana and egg) with salted egg grated on top for a little Asian touch. I ain’t going to tell you which one I love more, but to me they were very close and I enjoyed them both.

We also managed to try a few new dishes from Mercato’s summer menu. The burrata cheese with heirloom tomatoes and toast was simply irresistible with the well-balanced sweetness and acidity, and I also loved both the main course of pan-seared turbot (served with chicory salad) and roasted pork chop with the unmistakable cumin spice rub. Gutted we were not having sticky cinnamon buns for dessert (it’s my favorite dish here but only available on weekends), but the chocolate cherry soufflĂ© tart was nearly as good, served warm with cherry coulis flowing out from the crust with a scoop of vanilla icecream on the side.

With a few other friends also participating in this bake-off later in September and October (you know who!), rest assured I will be back soon. (Who wouldn't want to have the pizza with Hoisin Sauce and Char Siu as toppings, right?) As I said, as long as there’s an excuse for more pizzas, I am game.

(The dinner event was by invitation based on a special menu available during the time of visit)

When? August 21 2017
Where? Mercato by Jean Georges, 8/F California Tower, 32 D'Aguilar St, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Hawaiian Pizza, Salted Egg Carbonara Pizza

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