Tucked away in the basement behind George Street in Sydney's CBD is Mercado, a Spanish restaurant showcasing the talents of former Nomad chef, Nathan Sasi. From our table, we could see all the mouthwatering food leaving the open kitchen and I couldn't wait to dig in.
We started with the Ortiz Anchovy Tart with roasted bull horn peppers. The tart is made up of a crispy thin sheet of pastry, and allowed the anchovy and the soft and sweet peppers to shine. This little morsel definitely left me salivating for more.
The Zucchini flowers were fried to perfection with a crunchy batter and filled with beautiful, house made goat's curd. I enjoyed the mojo rojo sauce which gave it a little kick of heat.
Our waitress recommended the Truffle mortadella, which was velvety smooth and simply delicious. The truffle flavour was pronounced without being overpowering. It goes beautifully with the slices of sourdough baked inhouse and the sweet and slightly spicy guindillas peppers.
The next dish of Pippies in a saffron and tomato broth with garlic crutons was deliciously moreish. The pippies were sweet and plump, and the crutons were very handy to soak up the flavoursome broth.
The Turkish ravioli had a soft and silky texture, with a roasted pumpkin filling and dressed with yoghurt, burnt butter sauce and crispy sage leaves. I wasn't expecting such a top quality pasta dish at a Spanish restaurant but it was definitely one of the highlights of the night.
The Smoked lamb ribs were beautifully seasoned and had a wonderful sweetness from the peach molasses. The meat slid off the bone at the slightest touch. The salt bush provided a little relief from the richness of the ribs, not that I am complaining.
I had seen the Porchetta rotating on the spit roast in the kitchen so was eager to try this dish. The sheer size of the pork was impressive as it lands on our table, definitely one to be shared! Crispy crackling, amazingly tender meat paired with a vibrant romesco sauce - it is another must-order!
After the meat fest, we had no more room for dessert but I can't wait to return. The dishes are kept simple, with only a few ingredients on the plate, but each plays a key role in the flavour and texture of the dish. Service was attentive but not obtrusive, it made for a great dining experience.
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