El Mercado Opens in Wan Chai
To date, Hong Kong has not had a single restaurant that exclusively serves Nikkei cuisine, until El Mercado came along. The recently opened restaurant aims to offer guests a glimpse into hybrid cuisine, which originated in Peru, where there is a large Japanese population, and is a breed of cooking that fuses Peruvian ingredients and Japanese influences to create each dish. While the Peruvuan-tinged Japanese cooking of Nobu Matsuhisa (of Nobu at The InterContinental) offers a glimpse into the rich tradition of Nikkei cuisine, El Mercado is taking it further.
The restaurant takes its name from the Spanish word for “the market”, a significant title highlighting the importance of market-fresh produce to its cuisine. Founded by Aqua Restaurant Group alumni chef Bart Szyniec, the Nikkei restaurant serves dishes with a generous use of citrus, coriander, onions, chilies and sweet potatoes.
The menu is reasonable in size, with three to five choices within each category and brief descriptions available for unfamiliar Peruvian ingredients. Nigiri sushi gets a saucy treatment, notably with a tangy dressing, while chunky bite-sized fish is marinated in Tiger’s Milk, a tangy marinade made with lime, fish stock and coriander to make ceviche dishes. Signatures at El Mercado include:
- Ostra acevichada (Japanese oyster with lime and squid ink foam)
- Barranco (Grilled beef flank nigiri sushi with orange chimichurri)
- Cochinillo con tacu tacu (Roasted suckling pig, dumpling of lentils, rice, and edamame, spicy hot sauce with lime juice, tomatoes and hot peppers)
- Jardin de rosa (Homemade rose ice cream with three-milk cake, basil and raspberries)
El Mercado features an array of Peruvian classic cocktails such as the Pisco sour, as well as the Chilcano combining pisco, ginger ale, lime, and housemade cordials made with seasonal fruits.
El Mercado, 21/F 239 Hennessy Road, Wanchai; +852 2388-8009