"El Mero Mero" – Mexican slang for “the main man” or “the go-to guy”. Just as its name implies, El Mero Mero is the go-to place for authentic Mexican gastronomy.
The restaurant opened its doors 5 years ago, but it's recently introduced a sexy new menu showcasing traditional flavour combinations (with a twist on modern food trends). El Mero Mero hopes to educate Singaporeans that Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos served out of a food truck.
Freshly painted walls, marble tables and tropical plants placed around the dining area brings a vibrant atmosphere and la-vida (life) feel as you walk into the refurbished restaurant.
The brains behind this concept is Alejandro Blanco, Mexican-born corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur and advocate of Mexican cuisine. By turning to his roots and embedding his vision in the here and now, he gives El Mero Mero fresh impetus and spirit.
I am excited to take you on this culinary journey as there is much more complexity and attention to detail about Mexican cuisine.
Starting off the night with a selection of Botanas (Mexican starters). First up is the Guacamole ($16) – smashed avocados with diced tomatoes, onions, serrano, coriander and lime with charred tostadas on the side. The idea of this simple starter is to mix up everything in the bowl using the provided wooden spoon. The tostadas are made fresh directly from La Mexicana, a tortilla facility that produces both wheat and traditional Mexican corn tortillas (an offshoot entity within the Plan B Ventures group). I must say that this was a great way to start the meal.
The Corn Sampler ($15) comes with smoked huitlacoche donuts, char-grilled organic baby corns and chilli mayo on the side. Huitlacoche is also known as corn mushroom or Mexican truffle, used by the Aztecs in many staple dishes. Take a bite of the corn, smoked donut and chiptole mayo in one mouthful and it will just blow your mid. This is something you don't typically get in other Mexican joints and another winner in my books.
Introducing Toastadas de Atun ($17), a tuna tartar tossed in avocado puree, chipotle mayo, then finished with matchstick tempura banana shallots on a crispy red corn tortilla. The flavour combination speaks volumes with hints of spice coming from the chipotle. The crunchiness of the handmade tostada was such a delight, I couldn't stop eating these lovely parcels.
Next we moved on to Hamachi and Coconut Ceviche ($21). This Hamachi Aguachile is soaked in hibiscus flower milk garnished with trout roe and avocado puree, served in a fresh green coconut. This may seem simple but this dish is perfection in a mouthful. It's comforting yet tantalises your palate, perfect for our tropical island weather.
Gordita ($28) meaning "chubby" in Spanish is a pastry traditionally made with masa and stuffed with fillings of your choice. Instead of the traditional method, El Mero Mero deconstructs this hearty dish showcasing heirloom vegetables, frijoles (Mexican beans) and a salsa roja served hot. This is a wholesome vegetarian main dish and highly recommended if you are looking to elevate your dining experience with a humble yet fantastic bowl of goodness.
I absolutely love tacos! This Baja Fish Taco ($14) is served in pairs on a fluffy handmade 4" tortilla with a deep-fried tempura tooth fish, topped with a fresh homemade pico de gallo and pickled shallots, then finished off with a chipotle mayo. This has to be one of my favourite dishes of the night – crunchy and tangy, paired with sustainably caught fish that just melts in my mouth.
Have you ever tried an authentic tortilla soup before? Without a doubt this Tortilla Soup ($16) truly represents Mexican gastronomy. The El Mero Mero rendition consists of flamed corn tortilla, avocado and guajilo (a type of dried chilli) slow-cooked in a roasted tomato broth and finished with fresh dollops of cream. This is good to share with 2 or 3 others.
We move on to the El Mero Mero Fajita ($38). This dish brings together 2 Mexican flavours that are not commonly paired – poblano shisto crema and grilled oyster blade beef served with fresh warm tortillas on the side. These go perfectly together, and it's another great dish to share. Dig in as soon as it's served, it must be eaten hot.
After tasting some amazing dishes, the Char Grilled Pumpkin Salad ($16) is a breath of fresh air, a good palate cleanser in-between all the bold Mexican flavours. It consists of fresh tomatillo, avocado slices and pomegranate, finished off with a homemade roasted onion and sesame dressing. The pumpkin is extremely delicious and definitely the star of this dish.
Moving on to desserts (also known in Mexico as El Postre). We had a taste of the Braised Pineapple ($14) caramelised in cane sugar served with vanilla ice-cream on the side.
We also tried the Tequila Pecan Pie ($14). Yes, you heard it right, Tequila! This is an aromatic combination of Mexican produce spruced up with cinnamon pecans and 1800 Anejo Tequila served with a cinnamon ice-cream on the side. This is something you should order if you are craving for a good pecan pie.
These Red Velvet Churros ($14) are one of the best churros I have tasted in a long time. Served with light cheese and cocoa mousse, it was extremely addictive. I couldn't help myself but to finish the entire portion with the dipping sauce on the side!
The kitchen creates the unfamiliar within the familiar, with profiles to surprise and delight the Singaporean palette. The new menu has an infusion of local produce as well as influences from Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines, combined intricately with native Mexican flavours.
This is an authentic Mexican experience reflected in the menu and its presentation, which seamlessly blends tradition and current culinary trends to open eyes, minds, and palates to the power of Mexican gastronomy and hospitality.
I had such an enjoyable experience and the story behind the new and improved dishes is certainly captivating. It's time you head on over to give this a try. Be ready to go home with a satisfying meal that will keep you coming back for more.