As Chijmes is refurbished, Senor Taco has too updated itself to El Mero Mero (meaning “the go-to guy”). The food is more refined than before. The Mexican restaurant offers a range of dishes from different regions of Mexico, and imports ingredients from Mexico. Salsas and sauces are made fresh in-house. You can choose to sit inside or al-fresco facing the gothic chapel of Chjimes. A 2-course lunch will set you back $28+, and 3-course $32+. Expect to pay more than $50 for dinner.
I was taken aback that the newly opened El Mero Mero was bustling. Good news travel fast. For appetizers, we tried both Aguachile de Callo de Hacha ($23, scallops) and Ceviche de Navajas ($21, razor clams ceviche). Aguachile is almost identical to ceviche: the only difference is aguachile is tossed in sauces and served immediately, sashimi-styled, whereas the seafood in ceviche is left to sit (and stew) in its acidity of sauces for 15-30 minutes.
We didn’t know the difference before Google, and made the mistake of getting two similar dishes, which tasted similar–limey, appetizing, spicy, great for alcohol. But I prefered the scallops aguachile because they were fleshier, and there was an aftertaste of sweetness of the scallops, which the razor clams didn’t have. The scallops were also better valued.
Razor clams ceviche
For mains, our favorite was Enchiladas Verdes ($28, above). Three corn tortillas were filled with prawns, swimming in a spicy salsa-cream sauce, and then baked until the layer of cheese bubbled and browned. The taste of the prawns was very interesting, almost beef-like. We finished every drop of the sauce. I wanted to buy bigger pants after this cream dish. William told me not to give up on myself.
Barbacoa De Lengua ($34, veal tongue and oxtail taco, above) was beautifully tender, as tender as french-kissing the veal. Slow-cooked pork Carnitas ($32, below) had a good kind of gaminess, not the stinky kind, which William enjoyed, although I thought it could be moister.
Dessert: Chocolate Ahumado ($16, below) was fun, two pieces of churros in a milk jar of rich, intense Mexican chocolate ganache, balanced with a tart passionfruit milk.
My only qualm was prices for starters were rather high, but William reminded me that we were at Chjimes. Rent is high, this is Singapore. Still, the food was good, and the mood was festive, suitable for dates, and afterwork drinks. El Mero Mero is among the better Mexican food I have had in Singapore.
30 Victoria St #01-20 Chijmes, Singapore 187996
T: 6337 1377
12-3pm, 5.30pm-1am daily
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
Thanks, Suzy and Daniel, for the invited tasting.