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;