My first and closest encounter with Mexican cuisine was probably the ones I had while on a study abroad trip to the USA. I was impressed for its convenience, affordability as well as the assortment of flavours that seemed packed around a tortilla. When I heard that a new restaurant called El Mero Mero just opened in Singapore with an aim to serve up delicious modern Mexican cuisine, I was keen to reconnect with some memories of past. But boy, was I surprised with how they recreated Mexican food. Simply put, they revolutionised my imagination and flavours of the simple Taco while introducing me to hint of Mexican creations!
To dive straight into the flavours, start off with a serving of Grilled Octopus ($24++). Flame-grilled octopus is served in a bed of corn cream with a black garlic paste and tajin ash. Tajin is a combination of chilli, lime, peppers and salt giving a sparkling image of spice and tanginess rounded up with a little heat. The flavours are nicely paired with the sweet corn cream that when put together contrasts with the smokey and tender octopus. Excellent!
I was then served up the Prawn Enchiladas Verdes ($28++). Sofrito prawns are stuffed into portions of Corn tortilla enchilada and presented in a green tomatillio-serrano sauce topped with cream and cheese. A very new and unique dish for me. While the green sauce might seem mild, it actually is packed with flavours that is both spicy and robust. The corn tortilla, made fresh in the restaurant’s Singapore factory, is delightful to the bite. It really seemed like the ingredients were yearning to present itself to the diner, yet in such a classic, subtle manner.
The Street Food Corn Sampler ($14++) arrived next with a selection of Organic baby corn and smoked corn mushroom huitlachoche donuts with cotija-mayo dipping sauce.
Huitlacoche is a fungus that grown on the corn, and is sometimes crudely known as Corn poop (or more endearingly known as Mexican Truffle). It is what lends the dark brown colour presents in the donuts. For this dish, squeeze the mix of cotija cheese and mayo onto the donuts and the pieces of baby corn for an excellent contrast in flavours. I took a fancy to the Corn poop donuts for its sweet flavour and soft texture. It was definitely fluffy yet crisp to the bite.
Ah but when it comes to the tacos, everything shifts to a whole different ball game. These convenient, everything stuffed into a single tortilla wrap stands out on their very own. I had the luxury to enjoy four different varieties and I must say that I have three strong favourites to recommend.
Start off with the Korobuta Pork Al Pasta ($7.50++ for 1; $26++ for 3). Marinated kurobuta pork is wonderfully grilled to tender perfection and served with chopped onions and coriander. As I must heartily mention again, it is their fresh corn tortillas that does the trick. While the premium ingredients may be tasty and brimming with flavour, it is the corn tortilla that is carries the right bite with a mildly sweet savoury flavour profile that really stands out in a subtle manner.
The highlight for my taco-infused day goes to the Roasted Baby Goat Taco ($13++ for 1/ $32++ for 3). Afghanistan baby goat is air-flown to Singapore and roasted for an enduring 14 hours. It is then served simply with grilled onions on a corn tortilla. A humble selection of ingredients yet rich with both flavour and bite. The mutton only carried a mild, gamey scent that had its more intense meaty flavours brought out by the sprinkle of salt and grilled onions. I was fascinated. This is one taco that I will keep coming back for!
Another unique item that deserves to be highlighted is the Tenderloin and Bone Marrow Taco ($14++ for 1; $36++ for 3). Flame-grilled Angus beef tenderloin and bone marrow is served with freshly prepared molcajete sauce on a corn tortilla. The marrow’s buttery sweet flavours are a light addition to this dish, complementing the deeper, bolder flavours of the Angus well. It was a very nice taco albeit I noted a slightly strong hand in the scattering of salt over the taco.
The Vegetarian option like the Portobello & Vegetarian Chorizo Taco ($11++ for 1; $28++ for 3) was to me a little lacklustre in both flavour and texture. Perhaps I come from an omnivore’s perspective but the home-made soya chorizo was a little too gritty and salty for my liking. The flour tortilla was also overshadowed by the more rounded corn tortillas.
For desserts, prepare yourself for an indulgent treat. The first dish of Sponge Cake Tres Leches ($14++) is what is commonly served during birthdays in Mexico. When a person gets older, a shot of alcohol (or two) is poured in addition to the three types of milk soaked all over. It was definitely a comforting experience through and through. Somehow, the idea of eating sponge cake has its experience exponentially increased when it is well drenched in milk. A dusting of coconut and praline ice-cream complements it all.
Chocolate lovers will enjoy and go for the Smoked Chocolate ($16++). Mexican chocolate ganache is served alongside churros, cinnamon sugar and a passion fruit milk. Mexican chocolate as I found out makes this dessert extremely thick and smooth, with a strong cacao content that will make you go mmmm. It was good, but my favourite dessert goes to the Braised Pineapple.
I love pineapple. I love its sweet tangy profile that is paired with a crunchy fibrous texture. Imagine my delight hearing it caramelized in sugar cane and served along with some Papantla vanilla ice cream. It was humble but luxurious to the last bite. If you ever go to El Mero Mero and just want to have dessert, you should have the Braised Pineapple ($14++).
El Mero Mero Salad ($18++) – looks really good, but I didn’t get to try it.
Passion Fruit Margarita and Classic Margarita
In addition to the range of food, a selection of Latin inspired cocktails and mocktails are also available on the menu to tease tastebuds or simply act as the drink to kick start the end of the day. Prepared by resident Mixologist Ad Isnin, the cocktails are split into four collections called the ‘Las Margaritas’, ‘Caribeno’, ‘Exoticos’, and ‘Desserts’.
Halbanero-Mango Martini ($16++)
An Old Fashion Chicano ($16++)
The Blackberry Marmalade ($16++)
On a whole, El Mero Mero is one Mexican restaurant I will highly recommend if you are keen to explore a cuisine area less travelled. It is certainly unique and refreshing for me and has set a certain bar and expectations, leaving lasting impressions that are both memorable and flavourful. I would love to come back for more, and especially to tuck in to more of that Baby Goat Taco before finishing everything with a serving of Braised Pineapple. El Mero Mero is the contemporary, modern Mexican restaurant I’d never knew existed.
Thank you El Mero Mero for the invitation
|El Mero Mero|
|30 Victoria Street
Reservations: 6337 1377
12pm – 3pm
5.30pm – 1am