As the legendary Janis Joplin once sang, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz, my friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends…” Well, the powers that be may not be able to answer our prayers for a luxury car, but for the time being, we can dine in the lap of luxury that is Mercedes Me.
Conveniently located in the Entertainment Building at the heart of Central, this is a brand new concept in Hong Kong, designed to convert the affluence and prosperity of the Mercedes-Benz brand into a lifestyle commodity. Operated by Maximal Concepts – the guys who brought you Blue Butcher, Mott 32, Limewood and more – the restaurant aims to bring Mercedes into the daily lives of those who don’t own the car, by way of food.
You enter the restaurant via a small showroom and consultation area, featuring a real F1 W05 Hybrid race car in the centre, before passing into the bar area with a long communal table that opens up into the main dining room. The décor is part industrial chic, with brass fixtures and exposed light bulbs, mixed with a touch of homeliness in the form of bookshelves and a wall lined with pictures of vintage and modern models of – you guessed it – Mercedes cars. It’s an intimate space, but given the location, roomier than you would expect.
The first cocktail is free during the soft opening period and we are quick to order the one called rum (regular price $120), which is a mix of vermouth, grapefruit, cinnamon, marshmallow, and last but not least, – rum. The drink is marvellously well balanced, allowing us to taste the fragrances of the alcohol without the bite – delicious and dangerous.
We start the evening with the sea urchin ($210). Served on a paper-thin cracker, the uni sits on an oyster leaf with a side of figs and topped with ponzu foam. The starter is delicious and, just like the cocktail, the combination works perfectly, teasing out the sweet briny flavours of uni and ending with the refreshing notes of the vegetable and fruit. Next up is the fresh burrata ($190) followed by the steak tartare ($210). The former is aesthetically plated – the creamy cheese is dotted with pepper and fresh lavender flowers and bathed in a tomato sauce. Though this works, we’re left wishing the lavender was stronger, to give the dish a bit of a punch. The tartare fares a lot better, it’s decorated with a pickled egg yolk sauce and boasts 15 secret ingredients in its seasoning. Though it’s difficult for us to decipher exactly what the hidden herbs are, the taste of capers is definitely on the palate and brings out fresh coppery notes in the beef.
Next we opt for the Australian-aged wagyu skirt ($320), wonderfully charred with a side of ‘shiso-churri’ sauce – the steak arrives almost blue. Luckily, we don’t mind some blood on our meat, but this level of rareness might offend some. Regardless, the sauce is spicy and pairs well with the steak, but the meat is a tad chewy and could have been sliced better.
For dessert we choose the Catalan cream ($80) and it’s heavenly. The cream is a zesty orange foam, encasing a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of shards of honeycomb and a crumble base. It’s incredibly light and aromatic and a perfect way to end the meal.
If you had any apprehensions about whether an automobile brand could whip up a good meal, in this case we can confidently say, fear not. Even though a new luxury car isn’t in our plans right now, we’ll be walking past that showroom a lot to get to the restaurant, so like Joplin’s song, we’re bound to be pining for a new Mercedes-Benz sooner or later. Lisa Cam
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Shop C-D, G/F, Entertainment Bldg, 30 Queen's Rd C, Central