Mercado is no longer the new kid on the block. This Mexican restaurant has settled in our hearts (and stomachs) as a place you can go for great South American cuisine and amazing cocktails from their tequila bar. This doesn’t mean that they are now comfortable, not at all. They are looking to raise the bar and offer their customers new experiences along with the same palatable quality.
Starting with the decor, the new design done by Istanbul-based company Naif Design has breathed a new life into the restaurant. Simple baskets line the ceiling looking down on customers as they take in the sights and sounds of Westlands somehow expand the space. The walls stand out in a green-blue colour that brightens the space and contrast well with the black industrial light fixtures. The design company states that:
“This is the land of green, blue, orange and red… This is how we felt at first sight when we met Kenya. Also the passionate love story in ‘Out Of America’ movie… The scenes in it where Kenya’s extraordinarily beautiful nature and wildlife is seen. These are the things that inspired us when designing a venue in Kenya. A restaurant where people eat, share, talk and feel nature.
That lush greenery in Kenya… 8 months of the year. The shades of orange where you have no chance to see anywhere in the world but Kenya. It is also a pleasure to have people working from different continents such as wildlife diversity. This makes the whole community unique and sincere. That’s something you can only feel in a country like this.
A harmony where different cultures come together. It is this diversity that makes Kenya so attractive.”
It’s not all about the space though, the new dishes are just as impressive. The new starters include pork tostadas, cold avocado soup and duck croquetas. The stand out starter was the crunchy and succulent croquetas however the pork tostadas and cold avocado soup were both tasty starters that would be great as light bites as well.
It was hard to pick a winning dish between the tender lamb shank and the succulent bacon-wrapped chicken breast both served on a bed of mashed potatoes with grilled zucchini.
You can never go wrong with desserts especially at Mercado. 3 different desserts were served: a sweet pavlova with rhubarb and red velvet, a decadent tricolad and coconut chocolate cake. Chocolate lovers will be spoiled for choice between the tricolad and cake but if you have a sweet tooth then indulge in the bright pavlova.
All of these dishes pair well with perfectly balanced cocktails including a sweet Jamaican margarita that our table just couldn’t get enough of. A word of advice? Show up early and eat as much as you can then spend the rest of your evening winding down with a couple of drinks because Mercado is making sure it becomes the kind of restaurant you never want to leave.