Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Restaurant Week Menu at Mercedes Me

We finally got our chance to try Mercedes Me, taking advantage of the Restaurant Week special menu on a Monday evening with a group of friends.

Our experience with Restaurant Week in previous years has been by and large positive, and we found this a good opportunity to check out restaurants that we have somehow missed out on before. Guess Mercedes Me fell into that category - we have heard good things about this relatively new casual dining establishment in Central too many times, but we never got around to go previously.

The restaurant is conveniently located at the foot of Lan Kwai Fong right at the busiest junction in Central, as part of the concept store by the famous automaker that need no introduction. The space itself - on the ground level of Entertainment Building - is peculiar, a hybrid of an automobile showroom, a bar and a restaurant. Well, true there's one latest model of the Mercedes on display and all the information you need regarding the rest of the lineup, but two-third of the shop belongs to the long bench with a well-stocked bar and the dining area with couches and booths, high tables and some regular ones scattering across.

Six of us were sitting at one of those high tables near to the entrance. The Restaurant Week dinner menu featured a 3-course meal with choices in appetizer, mains and dessert. The options largely based on some of their signature dishes in the regular a la carte menu so it's a good sample of the food they serve regularly.

The appetizer was served just as the little amuse-bouche of foie-gras marshmallow served on a bamboo skewer stick was passed around. I then began with the Hamachi “tiradito” – with thick slices of Hamachi, or yellowtail, sashimi slightly seasoned with spicy mango-habanero salsa underneath and shiso leaves as garnish. I love the fish having a good oily texture and decent flavor, and the salsa emulsion offering a sweet-spicy kick to make the dish even more interesting. I also got a bite of the duck egg yolk, which was the other appetizer choice, with the slightly runny egg yolk served in its own shell with sausages and potato foam. Potato and eggs were classic combination and it was pretty good.

Some of us were slightly disappointed as we were informed that one of the main course choices, the octopus, has been sold out. Well, as I was debating between that and the pork before I ordered, so I was as happy going for the latter as my alternative choice. Turned out it was quite decent. At first glance I almost mistaken it as a steak dish, with slices of pinkish meat with a dark, roasted crust. It was just cooked through and tender, served with a few whole, roasted piquillo peppers underneath and drizzle of red wine jus. The meat was tender and the combination with the pepper and the jus was delicious.

The staff must have overheard us mumbling about the sold-out octopus dish. Soon the manager came over to apologize again and explained the situation to us, then after we finished our main course, brought over one dish of the octopus for us to have a try. (well, we didn’t question how they managed to have one available but we appreciated the gesture) Don’t know whether it’s because it’s hard-to-get, but turned out it was our favorite dish of the evening. The octopus was slow-braised into perfectly tender texture and served with a light potato foam on the side and a generous sprinkle of paprika underneath. Tasted just as what you would expect from a good, Mediterranean tapas-style dish.

All the dessert choices look good to me, so I just picked out one in random. The Catalan Cream definitely didn’t look like those ordinary ones I see at restaurant – served in a glass deep bowl, in the center was a scoop of vanilla icecream with bits of honeycomb, and on top, an aerated custard with a soft and light texture and slightly torched on to with sugar to give a caramelized crunch. It’s not over-sweet and was delicious.

Overall I think the meal delivered what I have expected with the positive comments I have heard about the restaurant, and service was truly top-notch, not only of that particular time we felt they went above and beyond but in general very friendly and helpful. Portion was a bit small for a proper dinner I reckon even with the extra complimentary course, but we had a good time just catching up and enjoying the food and wine. We will come back for sure.

When? February 29 2016
Where? Mercedes Me, Ground Floor, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Octopus with Pork chicharron, potato, paprika
Drink? 2013 Finca Montepedroso Verdejo DO Rueda