King Street welcomes the arrival of deluxe food mecca Mercado and The Duck Room
Over the past two years, King Street has been adorning its culinary crown with an array of fantastic eating and drinking spots, but its latest sparkling addition is looking to set a new standard when it comes to shopping and dining. Mercado is being hailed as a one-stop marketplace for provisions and produce, offering everything from fresh seafood and decadent patisserie treats to boutique wine and Cantonese roast duck. The boutique market is opening on Saturday November 3, and it’s got everything you could possibly need to stuff your pantry and fridge to bursting point.
It’s time to say goodbye to your conventional grocery-shopping experience – after setting foot in Mercado’s cavernous marketplace it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to settle for anything from the corporate monoliths ever again. Mercado Group’s impressive emporium is delivering a bespoke gastronomic experience in the same vein as iconic food halls such as London’s Harrod’s and Rome’s Eataly – diverse and exceptional in quality. Mercado’s spacious and flowing design is the result of a team effort between Lendlease, Apollo Property Group, BSPN. Architecture, Boldly and Dreamtime Australia Design. Over a six-month build, the unified vision of polished contemporary elegance and old-world market charm took shape, with various nooks installed to host different aspects of the culinary experience, as well as two on-site dining options – the Mercado bistro and The Duck Room.
At Mercado, only the finest items are put on show, with a multi-layered offering extending from small goods and provisions to fresh produce and drink. Shoppers are encouraged to wander amongst the various sections at their leisure, lingering on the sights, smells and tastes of the smorgasbord on offer. If desired, Mercado’s knowledgeable concierge service can take patrons on a guided tour of the space, assisting with everything from the origins of Mercado’s produce through to what ingredients pair best. Entering from King Street, patrons are greeted by Mercado’s sizeable seafood and sushi bar, where fresh catches including prawns, oysters, coral trout, Tasmanian lobster and snow crabs sourced directly from trawlers are available. To the right of the seafood counter is the produce hub, where farm-fresh fruits and vegetables await. Between fridges of grab-and-go gourmet cheese, warmers full of roast lamb shoulder and beef cheeks, and shelves of oils, vinegars and salts sits the deli counter, where a selection of goods such as Barolo cheese, Iberico ham, wagyu bresaola and San Daniele prosciutto make for a mouth-watering sight. A nearby butcher’s counter is amply stocked with cuts of all-Australian protein, including hunks from Stockyard Beef, Ranger’s Valley and David Blackmore, while Mercado’s patisserie and bakery offers an array of delightful treats and fresh loaves. Finally, two (yes, two) bottle shops can be found at Mercado – one dedicated to Australian craft beers and spirits, the other to a globe-spanning selection of wines. For a closer look at some of the wares on Mercado’s shelves, have a look at the gallery in The Street Photographer.
Although it’s immensely satisfying putting your newly bought produce to work in the kitchen, there’s nothing like sampling the same ingredients utilised by the masters. Mercado’s two on-site eateries – the bistro and The Duck Room – exclusively use produce from Mercado’s shelves, with menus designed with care by Mercado’s executive chef Miki Damjanovic. At the bistro, prime cuts of meat, chargrilled whole quail and beef tataki from the butcher share menu space with Mooloolaba tuna sashimi, nigiri platters and crustaceans fresh from the tank at the seafood counter. Sicilian semolina-crust pizza cooked in Mercado’s woodfired pizza oven is also available, alongside a selection of tap beers, signature cocktails and an extensive wine list. Mercado’s signature fine-dining restaurant The Duck Room delivers a culinary fusion of Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Japanese flavours, with a menu centred around salivation-inducing roast duck. The roast duck meat is dried for seven days, before being marinated, bathed, glazed, roasted and served on its own, with miso soup or as nigiri with torched foie gras and yuzu-pickled summer truffle. Fleshing out The Duck Room’s menu is a range of Cantonese -inspired rice noodle rolls called Cheong Fun, and mains including Szechuan mud crab, Borrowdale free-range pork char-sui and house-processed scampi pearls with Hiramasa kingfish belly tartare.
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