Wednesday, 21.2.2018

Mercato Creature Comforts


Here’s a handy fact. The term ‘comfort food’ can be traced back to 1966 when that sturdy foundation of the Fourth Estate, the Palm Beach Post, spoke of the foods we turn to when we’re stressed.

These were dishes that smacked of our childhoods; flavours and textures that made us feel secure and coddled – think of it as a security blanket in a bowl. Since then the term has been used globally to describe dishes that are blessedly low on pomposity and big on satisfaction; down to earth fare that’s all about heritage, ingredients and palate-pleasing.

We think comfort cuisine is a fitting description for the fare on offer at Lan Kwai Fong’s newest culinary sensation: Mercato. An elegant, pleasantly rustic space in the new California Tower, Mercato is the newest venue by acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who fuses all the belly-warming, soul-soothing flavours of Italy with intelligent and refined flare and a healthy dose of French precision. The Neri & Hu-designed dining room has been dubbed “farm chic” and yet has a refined, residential feel to it; there’s an open kitchen concept and a standalone cocktail bar that serves a mean Old Fashioned, complimented by vertiginous views of Central. The menu has a little something for everyone, from fluffy yet decadently cheesy mushroom and egg pizza; and delicate char-grilled octopus with garlic and capers; through to crispy beef short rib; tomato ragu meatballs; and polenta fries with a smoked chili Chianti glaze that will have you salivating in your sleep. While this is undoubtedly ‘comfort food’ (not to mention wallet-friendly), dishes are executed with Vongerichten’s feather-light touch, with many featuring equally subtle touches of the Far East.

Ironically, a place many of us feel very comfortable indeed.


8/F California Tower 32 D'Aguilar St. LKF,
Tel: 3706 8567;



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