Tacos, Tortas & Tostadas.

Hey guys! Welcome back to Kulanini and thank you so much for stopping by.

This is the follow-up post on the Mercado Restaurant Post. In case you haven’t read it yet, please do before you read this one. Trust me, the pictures are worth it!

The whole Mercado family (from the waiters, to the manager to the chef and even the owners!) are very kind. Once in Mercado, you don’t want to leave. They operate like one big family unit and are kind and patient to all their visitors. While here, I got to try a number of their cocktails and mocktails. See their drinks menu here.

Beautiful, fruity mocktails of different flavours are also available at Mercado. We tried their Zazu, Galu and Disai drinks that looked similar but tasted different. Zazu @ 480/= had blackberry, lychee, lime juice, apple juice, basil & cinnamon. Because of the lychee, this drink was very sweet. I thought the ice and basil made it quite refreshing, making the sweetness sort of reduce.

Galu @ 590/= had cranberry, apple & lime juice, peppermint, strawberries and cinnamon. In terms of sweetness, I thought Zazu was sweeter but had a nice refreshing taste that Galu didn’t have.

Don’t get me wrong, they were both delicious! If you’re looking for a unique taste, definitely try Zazu. Ironically, cinnamon is a strong flavour but I couldn’t taste it in either of the drinks. Galu has a strawberry flavour while Zazu has a sweet lychee taste.

Disai is more or less a watermelon drink. It has watermelon, strawberries, lime juice and cranberry juice. I thought it was the simplest drink compared to all the rest. I loved the taste and flavour! This one, is definitely for the very simple people.

Horchata is a cool, traditional Mexican drink made from cinnamon and rice & coconut milk. We tried the mango flavoured one @ 500/= and thought it was incredible. Well obviously, you have to get over the rice milk taste because it’s a unique taste. However, apart from that, it was pretty amazing.

It is like a thick smoothie and therefore was also filling in it’s own right. The one I had at Fonda wasn’t this thick. I think I prefer the Horchata at Mercado to the lighter juice-like one from Fonda.

Fresca is simply flavoured water. Jamaican fresca @ 350/= is hibiscus flavoured water. It was delicious! Then again, I love Hibiscus. It tastes almost like ribena. It is served cool and so is the perfect remedy to this Nairobi heat.

Black Charo is one of their signature cocktails that is served in a black skull mug. It goes for 580/= and has Blanco Tequilla, Cola and lime juice. The drink is topped with a lemon slice and the mug decorated with crushed ice at the mouth. Skulls are an important part of the Mexican tradition. Therefore, this is a perfect & accurate representation of their culture.

Clericot is one of their alcoholic punches that goes for 650/=. It is a blend of red wine, apple juice, lime juice. It also has fresh fruits of apple kiwi & strawberries. Mine however, only came with apples. I am guessing the other fruits were out of stock. The drink tastes just like a Sangria but with less sugar. Remember the sangria I had at The Mayura. I recommend this drink to people who want large cocktail portions. It’s actually bigger than a long island since it comes in a pretty tall, large glass.

The drink wasn’t too strong but I am sure you know by now that you can always ask for stronger cocktails with less ice, if you need it that way. I loved the fresh apples inside the drink and thought the wine to juice balance was perfect. Personally, I don’t like red wine, so, this was a perfect way for me to enjoy red wine without the bitter aftertaste most have.

Have you ever heard of a green tea cocktail? Mercado brings you – Zingy @ 650/=. It has rum, green-tea, ginger, peppermint, apple juice and lime juice. I thought the whole concept of this cocktail was great. However, the ginger was a bit too much for me and the mint needed to chopped more finely. Since both have a strong flavour, this is all I could taste. Besides, the chunky mint kept clogging my straw and didn’t necessarily make the drink look amazing. Make sure you ask for finely chopped mint and a little less ginger if you’re not a ginger fan.

Chocolate cocktail maybe? Chocolate lovers will be pleased with this. Mercado’s 680/= choco mint margarita is made with tequilla, hazelnut, mint, flavoured milk and liquid chocolate. I thought it was very creamy (kind of like ice-cream) but tasted incredible. If you don’t like creamy cocktails, I advise you not to go for this drink. Its like a light milkshake with alcohol. The presentation was great as it is served in a tall margarita glass just like a margarita should!

FOOD

You can see the Mercado food menu here.

To begin, we asked for a taco and a tostada. The main difference is the tostada has a toasted tortilla (chapati like wrap), and the taco has it soft and pliable.

Mercado’s beef taco goes for 570/= and has lightly grilled steak pieces and salsa (kachumbari). I thought the salsa needed more chopped coriander. Luckily, the garnish was a huge coriander leaf so I took the kachumbari with a bite of it and it worked quite well! The marination on the beef was perfect. You can tell, it was grilled with a few spices, giving it an amazing flavour.

Next, was a tostada with shrimp as the filling. Shrimp Mexicana tostada goes for 890/=. The tostada is sprinkled with shredded lettuce, pickled onion and chipotle mayo (chilli mayonnaise). For me, shrimp will soon overtake calamari as a favourite fish. The taste is delicious!

Just like the steak, the shrimp had a great marination and was generously spread throughout the whole tostada. Every bite, had it all.

A torta is like a burger/ sandwich. You guys will have to tell me whether this looks more like a burger or a sandwich to you. I couldn’t decide. Chicken Milanesa Torta is Mercado’s chicken variation. The chicken filling is a chicken breast that has been marinated and bread-crumbed to perfection.

In addition to the bread-crumbed chicken, avocado slices and a tasty chipotle sauce also feature. I felt the sandwich should have had more of the chipotle so it wouldn’t be as dry but the avocado made up for this completely! Also, if the bread was buttered and toasted, it would have been the ultimate sandwich/burger!

A side of well salted, crunchy fries accompanies this dish. For only 890/=, I thought this was value for money. Look at that portion!

One of their starters is their 630/= chicken wings served with a citrus sauce made from pineapple, citrus, habanero and coriander. The portion has about 6 wings and aren’t your typical saucy, sticky wings. Finally! We feature unique wings on Kulanini. Maybe it’s just me but the idea of monotony upsets me.

Mercado wings taste amazing and look just as amazing. The garnish is a crunchy, shredded green leaf that I concluded to be kale. The side sauce was everything for me. Who’d have thought that citrus would taste great with meat! I would easily order this sauce as a side of anything! It was that good!

The last time we talked about ribs here, many people didn’t believe that I said that the ribs at Mambo Italia could be chosen over the ones at Spur. Just to clear the air, I meant the Mambo Italia ribs aren’t sweet, sticky saucy ones. They are more savoury (spicy) which I personally preferred. Mercado’s sticky ribs go for 1950/= and are served with roasted baby potatoes and sauteed vegetables. I thought this was pretty expensive as the ribs are good but pack quite a bit of fat. Then again, many people prefer it that way. The marination on the ribs is from lime zest, chilli and Mexican spices and was finger-licking good. They were the perfect balance of sweet, sticky and savoury.

The roast potatoes were delicious though slightly under-cooked in my opinion. I recommend you ask for usual chips/french fries if you are not too comfortable with this. I think some people love it this way because my companion loved them!

The sauteed vegetables were delicious. They had an amazing herb flavour from the spices used and were well-cooked (were still crunchy).

We definitely didn’t forget the vegetarians on this trip. We tried mushroom Salbute @ 990/= which is made from a corn dough cake topped with confit mushrooms (type of mushroom that looks like button mushrooms) and mole verde sauce (made from green tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and green leaves).

I loved this dish so much! The mushrooms were well-cooked (still firm but cooked all through) and the portion very generous. I was skeptical about the corn dough cake but it turned out to be delicious. It was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, providing a great texture balance. The whole meal was extremely filling too!

Mercado sells a seafood Risotto @ 1350/= for those like me who can’t make up their mind on what seafood they would like to have. The dish has shrimp, calamari & prawns and is served with a delicious Mexican rice.

The spices in the rice and marination in the fish married beautifully to give rise to a flavour I couldn’t quite comprehend. You just have to try it for yourself! Fish and rice is now an official combination. Ugali-fish lovers are free to fight me.

As a complimentary, you get nacho chips with 4 hot salsas when you order a meal.

The desserts at Mercado made me so happy. They were all incredible! Their churros go for 550/= and are served with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. Sweet tooth people, this is your home! Churros are sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and are left crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside giving it great flavour.

The sauces were awfully sweet but the best part was they could be enjoyed without the sauces. Definitely a sweet lovers den!

A tart is a hard pastry with a filling. Mercado sells their chocolate & tequila tart @ 590/=. The filing is a thick chocolate ganache for chocolate lovers. It is served with a decoration of chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.

Whipped cream, kiwi fruit, strawberry and mint leaf also decorate the plate. I thought the dessert was very nice. I have never had caramel sauce that good so I loved it a lot! If chocolate gets to you really quick then please see dessert below for a chocolate-free experience.

Sponge cake soaked in 3 (tres) kinds of milk (leches) (evaporated, condensed and heavy cream) and topped with seasonal fruits is called Tres leches. At 640/= you get this jar of goodness.

If you love ice-cream, milkshakes or dairy products in general, you will love this dish. The milk literally comes in the jar so you can drop a straw in once you’re done with thw cake and sip away!

As you guys know, I love bananas a lot. I have one every single day in the morning. Mercado’s banana dessert comes in form of bananas fritos @ 550/= that are basically crispy, fried, sweet bananas garnished with strawberry marmalade, cinnamon sauce and whipped cream.

Obviously, I loved this because of the bananas. The cinnamon sauce tasted like sweet, spicy tea with caramel (I think it had some caramel). In any case, it comes in this beautiful cup that you can sip from. Lol but don’t do that. Just pour it over the bananas and whipped cream.

Apologies for the super long post. I had to give you a comprehensive, honest breakdown.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

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