Restaurant review: Mercedes me, Central – multinational cuisine with high-end branding

A luxury automobile company opening a restaurant may appear pretentious, but the food, inspired by cuisines from Spain, Japan and Latin America, is unique and delicious

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 8:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 January, 2016, 8:01am

Mercedes me looks like a place that appeals to, well, not exactly the 1 per cent, but at least the 1 per cent wannabes. There’s a bright, shiny Mercedes-Benz at the entrance, and the bar area is filled with men and women dressed to impress, downing cocktails and talking loudly after a hard day’s work. Fortunately, the food delivers.

We booked late so had to sit at the bar in front of the open kitchen. The menu is divided into sections that included small plates of raw, cold and hot dishes, while the main courses are in the grill section. Our meal was served at a good, unrushed pace.

First up was sea bass with sweet potato, cancha corn, lime and yellow chilli (HK$180). The flavours should have been vivid; instead, they tasted tired. The best part about the dish was the crisp chips served alongside, and the crunchy cancha corn.

The other small dishes were a vast improvement. Sea urchin with fig, nori cracker, oyster leaf and ponzu (HK$210) was an excellent combination of textures and seafood flavours.

Fresh burrata with tomato, cherry, black sesame and lavender (HK$190) was another winner. The wonderfully soft cheese was laid out on a plate, and served with a cup of bright, refreshing, deeply flavoured gazpacho.

Duck egg yolk with sobrassada, potato and croutons (HK$100 for two; our waitress added a third [and charged us accordingly] so everyone our group could have one) was another excellent dish: warm and rich, with the tiny pieces of sobrassada and crunchy croutons giving texture to the creaminess of the other ingredients.

Baked fideua (short pieces of angel hair pasta) with seaweed, roasted garlic aioli and prawn jus

(HK$220) was a dish I would have been very happy to eat by myself. We were instructed to mix everything together: blobs of aioli, green and red seaweed, shiso sprouts, small bits of squid – and the combination of ingredients was enticing.

The main course of Iberico pork presa with smoked piquillo peppers (HK$360) was a mixed bag because it was unevenly cooked: one side was tough, while the part that was still slightly pink was tender and moist. The red piquillo peppers were delicious.

Our complaint about the caramelised Catalan foam (HK$115) was that the proportions were off: there was too much foam, and too little of the other ingredients, which included vanilla ice cream, a thin slice of dehydrated orange, honeycomb and crumble. Even with three of us sharing it, we couldn’t finish it.

Mercedes me, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road Central, Central, tel: 2895 7398. About HK$500 without drinks or the service charge.