[Hong Kong] Mercato - Jean Georges' New Italian in LKF
Renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten of the 3* Jean Georges in NYC has launched the second venue of his casual Italian restaurant Mercato in the California Tower at Lan Kwai Fong! Similar to its sister restaurant in Shanghai, Mercato serves Italian food using quality ingredients with light and refreshing flavors. I got back to Hong Kong in time to catch the chef in person where he was going over the final touches of Mercato - I was told that he was very hands-on and involved in every aspect of his restaurants. The elegant venue had an impressive bar at one end and an open kitchen at the other. I got to try a variety of its appetizers, mains and desserts on the menu which are all reasonably priced and the lunch menu is definitely a great deal at $198 for 2 courses in Central.
The seats by the windows had a totally different vibe than the the ones in the center of the buzzing dining room with a more private and quiet atmosphere.
Chef Jean-Georges was busy and a bit camera shy so I just got a shot of him from afar.
Another feature of the restaurant is the Mercato Bar which specializes in original cocktails made with the finest Italian spirits as well as a diverse selection of old and new world wines. I went with the Vodka Thyme Lemonade ($98) with Absolut Citron Vodka, lemon and thyme which was sweet and refreshing to drink on a humid summer afternoon in Hong Kong.
We started with a series of appetizers and my absolute favorite had to be the Home Made Ricotta ($118) with strawberry, olive oil and garlic bread! The sweetness of the strawberry puree went perfectly with the creamy ricotta, and was very appetizing to eat with the crunchy garlic bread sticks.
The Salmon Carpaccio ($138) was light and simple with olive oil, sea salt, lime and herbs.
Italian Chicories Salad ($98) with orange, fennel, aged balsamic and olive oil.
Spicy Tuna Tartar ($148) with black olives, cucumber, avocado and mint.
Endive and Sugar Snap Pea ($108) with Parmesan dressing and herbs.
Of the main dishes, the Black Truffle Wood Oven Pizza ($238) with three cheeses and farm egg was easily the crowd favorite with its enticing truffle aroma and delicious flavors!
The Rigatoni and Meatballs ($128) with smoked chili tomato ragu was a close second as the meatballs were moist and tender all the way through.
Crispy Skin Chicken ($178) with braised potatoes, lemon, golden onion, green chili and herbs.
Porcini Crusted Salmon with warm leek vinaigrette and herbs.
Parmesan Lemon Risotto with roasted mushrooms and black pepper.
Desserts are not to be missed here and we practically tried every dessert on the menu which are all priced at $68. First up was the ever classic popular Italian dessert - Tiramisu!
Italian Cream Cake with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries.
Blueberry Lemon Crostada with creme fraiche.
Mercato Hong Kong
8/F, California Tower
32 D’Aguilar Street, Central
Tel: +852 3706 8567
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