Last Updated: September 1, 2019
El Mero Mero at CHIJMES isn’t the new kid on the block. In fact, it’s been around for roughly five years and now has seen a facelift, complete with a brand new menu. When it first welcomed diners, I was so looking forward to paying the place a visit, but life (and my other food-related plans) got the best of me and I was waiting for an opportune moment.
My time finally arrived, and I made my excitement known by eagerly digging into Guacamole (S$12/S$18).
It’s a bowl of smashed avocados with diced tomatoes, onions, serrano, coriander & lime, and charred tostadas.
It’s a fun DIY dish where you mix all the ingredients together, and the charred tostadas are a great alternative to your typical nacho chips.
The ratio of each ingredient was in balance, and what I especially loved was how it was both creamy and tangy at the same time.
The Corn Sampler (S$15) is another interesting Mexican snack to consider. Typically the street food version would entail grilling an entire cob of corn, but here they use baby corns as a substitute.
You’ll also be served smoked huitlacoche (which are made from corn smut) doughnuts with a side of chilli mayo. It’s kind of mind-blowing to learn that this fungus, which randomly grows on organic corn, can be used and transformed to create a fluffy savoury doughnut.
It didn’t have a strong flavour per se, but there was something familiar and comforting about this sampler board that still had me hooked.
Ceviche has to be a God-send in our balmy weather, so their Hamachi And Coconut Ceviche (S$21) is a must-order when you’re here. The hamachi (Japanese amberjack) swam in hibiscus flower milk and was garnished with trout roe and avocado purée.
The dish was creamy and the hamachi gaspingly sweet and fresh, with only a touch of brininess thanks to the trout roe.
Another ceviche dish to consider is the Tostadas de Atun (S$17). Not your typical ceviche with its use of chipotle mayo, this one’s quite a dense and spicy bite despite its miniature size.
Between the two ceviche dishes, the former is definitely more familiar and a lot more pleasant on the palate, especially when there are so many heartier dishes awaiting you.
The Wagyu Volcan (S$15) may seem like a dainty dish, but the burnt cheese on crunchy tortilla will make you wish there was more on the plate. It’s served with a kiriotoshi cut—thinly sliced odds and ends of high-quality leftover beef, as I discovered—but that doesn’t mean it’s any less supple or tender.
I enjoyed the burnt edges very much, as it added smokiness that was evident in every bite.
I’ve been telling plenty of people that I love fish taco, and the version here with their Baja Fish (S$14) was something I was truly looking forward to. A good fish taco, according to my palate, is one that has an exceptional balance of acidity, crunch and flakiness.
The fish of choice here is toothfish, not a fish that’s commonly chosen for a fish taco. The pico de gallo was acceptably tangy but lacked a bite that was strong enough to go up against the deep-fried fish.
Also, I missed the undeniable crisp shell that I would expect from a fried fish taco, so overall, I felt like this one was only 80% satisfactory, if I really had to rate it.
There are plenty of vegetarian options at El Mero Mero and one of my favourite ones has got to be their Tortilla Soup (S$14). It felt like a soothing serving of leftover ingredients in tossed together, blended and left to stew, to create a reassuring bowl of soup.
There was flamed corn tortilla, avocado, guajillo, slow-cooked in thick roasted tomatoes, and crema to create an unforgettable blend that’s slightly spicy, tangy and hearty.
Ah, here’s a dish that I gushed over and will attempt to convince you to order when you visit here. The El Mero Mero Fajita (S$38) is their signature main for good reason. It uses a lesser-known oyster blade cut and poblano shishito crema to set your tongues a-wagging.
The beef was—needless to say—succulent and tender, and accompanied by homemade flour tortillas that arrived piping hot and pillow-soft.
I could’ve scooped all the sauce up with a spoon and be completely content, even after all the meat was gone. The cream sauce wasn’t cloying or too thick; it had just the right viscosity that made every dribbly mess I made so worth it.
I sampled three different desserts, but I will only sell one to you because it’s honestly the only one you should spend your extra calories on. The Braised Pineapple (S$14) is a dessert that even non-pineapple fans will come to grow fond of.
The fruit is sous vide in piloncillo (cane sugar melted with butter), such that none of the acidity remains. All I tasted was mouthful after mouthful of sweet nectar that oozed out of the plump pineapple cubes. Needless to say, the vanilla ice cream accompanied it wonderfully with its milky fattiness.
I waited so long to pay El Mero Mero a visit, that I’d hyped up my expectations of the food. Did it meet those expectations? I would say so. Not only a great place for date night, but this modern Mexican joint is also a great way to explore Mexican cuisine beyond your stereotypical tacos and burritos.
It also really helps that its surrounded by the undeniable beauty of CHIJMES.
Expected Damage: S$30 – S$50 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
El Mero Mero
30 Victoria Street, CHIJMES, #01-20, Singapore 187996
30 Victoria Street, CHIJMES, #01-20, Singapore 187996