When TRB opens a new restaurant, we’ve got to try it. This one had us hiking to Chaoyang Joy City, all the way to the fifth and sixth floors (yeah, the restaurant is two stories).
When we hear that it’s an open air, two-level French cafe, we’re delighted by the idea of blue skies and feeling the breeze on our skin. Given its location inside a mall, the imagery falls a bit flat, but Merci worked with what they had when it came to the open concept.
The decor itself is blue and gold from spoons to archways. Beyond the oft-cliché color palette, it's clear we're stepping into a French restaurant (or a Parisian-themed birthday party). But the food? Pardon our French, but it’s damn good. Every doubt and question we have about the location and decor melt away like bone marrow in our mouths. Other than a simple pumpkin soup (RMB28), everything we taste is delicious.
We especially recommend the bone marrow and snails (RMB98), pate on toast (RMB32) and garlic prawns (prices vary). For our main course, we choose the mixed meat platter (RMB238), a wooden plate filled with lamb chops, chicken, pork and sausage, as well as vegetables, asparagus, corn, red onion and tomatoes. The meat lives up to expectations: melt-in-your-mouth tenderness served with delicate sauces.
The real MVP in our book is a star side: potatoes with short-ribs and parmesan cheese (RMB38). Every bite is creamy and delicious and the first spoonful is verifiably food porn – cheese and potato stringing along from the bowl to our mouths.
Merci also offers casual options if that’s more your style. The menu is brimming with burgers, sliders, pastas and risottos. It even has two whole pages dedicated to its fry offerings— spoiler alert, they offer regular and sweet potato (RMB58).
Though the decor (and the French maid outfits donned by the waitresses) feels a bit kitsch, we’re sure that the incredible food alone will keep patrons coming back time and time again, with French techniques and rich flavors singing throughout each dazzling dish. Is this fine dining or a post-shopping bite to eat before heading home? We’re not sure, but one thing is certain: We’d go back for those short-rib potatoes alone.
[Images via Merci/TRB]