If you walked down King Street a couple of years ago you were more likely to find a development site than a place to eat. But now the strip has been transformed into a bustling hub. Welcome to Bowen Hills, The Bavarian Beerhaüs, The Lamb Shop and Banoi have all opened. Even iconic French restaurant Montrachet moved across town to open in a new space.
One of the latest additions is perhaps King Street’s most ambitious yet. Mercado opened in early November and touts itself as a luxury marketplace with fresh produce, seafood, a butcher, French patisserie and two bottle shops stocked by an in-house sommelier. The 1500-square-metre venue also sports a bistro restaurant serving produce from the market with a focus on seafood and sashimi, and a smaller dining room, The Duck Room, which serves Asian-inspired cuisine.
The marketplace is being likened to the famous Harrods Food Hall or Italy’s Eataly, and according to owner Tony Nguyen it’s a first for Australia.
Nguyen’s background is in sourcing and selling seafood and he has strong connections in the industry. Seafood on display at Mercado is never more than two days old, compared to other seafood shops, which sometimes stock for several days. Baked goods are produced by qualified pastry chefs daily, and fruit and veg is delivered every morning. The butcher is stocked with product from Vic’s Meat.
“We are buying smaller stock than probably other outlets [do] but its fresher,” says venue manager Philippe Beylot.
The design of the venue elevates the experience further. The Mercado group brought together Dreamtime Australia Design, BSPN architects and Apollo property developers to create an eye-opening multi-room set-up, which features dim mood lighting, tiled feature walls, marble benchtops and flooring, and timber panels with gold accents.
With a venue of such a design, you’d perhaps expect the prices to match, but Beylot reckons Mercado is keeping things accessible. “It looks very luxurious, very posh, but our prices are not,” he says. He likens the price point to that of IGA but with a far higher quality and envisions Mercado becoming a spot locals pop into a few times a week.
“Come [by on your way home],” he says, “buy a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer and maybe a kilo of prawns.”
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on November 8 2018.
3/30 King Street, Bowen Hills
(07) 3112 7168
Daily 8am–9 pm daily
Sun to Wed 11am–10pm
Thu to Sat 11am–11pm