Restaurant Mercato (Marseille)

© Mercato

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On the discreet Rue de la Loubière, a few steps away from his unadorned wine shop Winesucker, Fred Semerdjian opened up this cave à manger that combines football and food. You’ll find two separate spaces simply decorated with a handful of OM and Arsenal football club scarves, unfinished stone walls and a mandarin orange countertop, upon which the talented resident chef Justine Pruvost (ex-Le Mermoz and Chardon) sends out punchy flavors. The other night, among the plant-based compositions scribbled out in marker at the entrance, we opted for: a refreshing cucumber gazpacho topped with pickled cucumber and fresh tarragon; flash-seared oyster mushrooms prepared fresh on the lone hotplate, buddying up with a smoked beetroot-chili cream and a sweet peanut condiment; cubed tempeh (smoked fermented soybeans) in a soy sauce, mirin and chili oil marinade, all hidden under cos lettuce leaves; before a caramel floating island bathing in a delightful crème anglaise infused with thyme and orange. That’s what Mercato is all about! // Gwen Jacquère 

FEELING THIRSTY? : Fred’s bottles, sporting number #10 on the low-intervention team: Finisterra, a cosmic Alsatian skin-contact wine produced by Jean-Marc Dreyer (€6 a glass), La Désirée 2018, an incredibly rare Chenin from Renaud Guettier (€35 a bottle), a magnum of Champ Levat 2019 produced by the Savoyard magician Jean-Yves Péron (€120)… 
PRICE: : Small plates €6-11. 

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