I remember the first time I found out about MEZCLA; I figured that Japanese-Mexican fusion fare would either be a huge hit or a painful miss, and placed my money on the former, based on how intriguing the flavour combinations sounded. As the lovechild of RAPPU and The Feather Blade, this fusion restaurant started out as a pop-up for a month on Tuesdays, before opening its doors officially on 20 October 2021.
What I tried
If you’re the type to feed the camera first before yourself, then MEZCLA is the right place to hit up. My personal favourite Antojito, or ‘Little Bites’, is a vibrant, colourful sight to behold, and aptly named the Unicorn (S$18)—a bite-sized bombshell of elotes, cotija cream, and grade A uni served atop purple tortilla chips. I’d never would’ve thought to pair uni, cheese, and tortilla chips in the same bite, but the way the creaminess complemented the hearty crunches was undoubtedly novel, and downright delicious.
Wash it all down with their selection of refreshing margaritas. The Flight of 3 (S$16) is the way to go—your indecisive self won’t have to pick and commit to just one flavour, and you get the best of three worlds. I tried all six flavours, though my personal favourites were the Pink Guava (S$13 a la carte), and Mango (S$13 a la carte). Topped with lime foam, and rimmed with salt, these will prime you for a meal that’s one for the books.
The Salmon (S$12.50) and Carnitas (S$8.50) followed. I’ll admit that I had my doubts for the Salmon, seeing as the conventional taco shell is usually made from flour or corn, and this one’s fried salmon skin crisped to a T. Topped with fresh cured salmon, ikura, and edamame refritos, you’d do well to close your eyes and savour the juxtaposition of crunchy fried salmon and smooth edamame refritos. It’ll be ideal for those who love hard shell tortillas; a perfect opportunity to shake things up, whilst retaining the core of a good taco.
If the Salmon absolutely swept me off my feet like a dashing knight riding a white stallion, then the Carnitas was a little more like a Grab ride with a friendly uncle who plays top hits on the radio. MEZCLA’s combination of pork jowl, chicharron, ancho chile, and edamame refritos boasted the delicious familiarity associated with Mexican fare. And hence, didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, despite being perfectly flavourful in its own right.
Shoutout to whomever at MEZCLA decided to put soft shell crab tempura in a taco. The Crab (S$11.50) reminded me of the prima ballerina; light and nimble on her feet, yet commanding the breathless attention of the room with grandeur. The perennial Japanese dish was fried to golden perfection, and then elevated by bright pico de gallo. I started off with a ballet analogy, but the combination of soft shell crab, edamame refritos, pico de gallo, and tobiko was an impeccable salsa (pun intended) of Japanese-Mexican fusion fare. Encore, please!
Served alongside the Crab was the Chorizo (S$8.50), heavier on the perennial Mexican flavours, though no less worthy of the embarrassment that comes with scraping the plate for more. I mean, what can go wrong when you put grilled chorizo and chicken, chipotle salsa, and guacamole together? It’s a decadent bite that retains a palatable lightness without the slightest compromise on its full-bodied, eyebrow-raising glory.
And now, for the finale, we have the star of the show: the Uni & Scallop (S$32). You might think it’s a hefty price to pay for tacos, but if you had to just try one taco from MEZCLA, it would be this one. Creamy grade A uni rests atop fresh Hokkaido scallops, and ikura, before the deal is sealed with togarashi mayonnaise and pickled onions. Exemplarily seasoned whilst allowing the mildly flavoured scallop to shine, this one performed a pretty number on my tastebuds, charming my socks off completely.
I was most excited for the Churro Tacos (S$9), but it didn’t quite blow me away enough to cinch my ‘best for last’ award. It isn’t any less fantastic though—think of a mini taco deep-fried to crunchy, heavenly perfection, topped with sweet vanilla cream, rich Valrhona chocolate, and dusted lightly with fragrant cinnamon sugar. Cream, chocolate, cinnamon, calories… the alliteration is en pointe, and let’s be real, so was this.
My main gripe was its bite-sized portion. It’s a great way to end off your meal at MEZCLA without being overly cloying, but give this dessert fiend what she wants, will ya?
It’s not every day that you get to try a taco that reminds you of Japanese cuisine, and as far as first impressions go, this was a solid A star. I found that the perennial Mexican options dulled in comparison to their funky Japanese fusion counterparts, but this attempt was indubitably special and worthy of all the compliments paid to it. Raise your expectations, and let yourself be blown away by fusion food so good, you’d consider it a match made in heaven.
Expected damage: S$41.50 – S$48 per pax
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
43 Craig Road, Singapore 089681
43 Craig Road, Singapore 089681