Three years ago, Mercato Piccolo was a big splash on Hangzhou’s food scene. It comes with an impressive pedigree, originating from Mercato restaurant created by Shanghai’s Three on the Bund and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Chef Jean-Georges is one of the most celebrated chefs in the world with 3 Michelin Stars, 4 stars from the New York Times and creator of 27 outstanding multi awarded restaurants in 8 countries.
We remember all the trendsetters in town came to the opening night, Mercato Piccolo was a fashion topic for at least a month.
Three years later, Mercato Piccolo is still the same place, serves the same food, but the Carbon group has cut down the cooperation with Mercato and runs it by its own brand, you can see the name on the door has changed to Carbon, let's call it Carbon (Italian) for now since they also have Carbon (French) and Carbon (Spanish).
All the signatures have been kept on the menu, includes Black Truffle Pizza with Three Cheeses and Farm Egg, Warm Seafood Salad with Avocado, House made Ricotta with Strawberry Olive Oil and Grilled bread, Porcini Crusted Salmon with Warm Leek Vinaigrette and Herbs, Rigatoni and Braised Meat Ball... Their pizzas are not the thin type, but are thicker with a crispy crust and soft as a cushion inside. 4 different types of mushrooms were used, each cut very thinly to better mix the flavours together. They have a wood fired oven operating at over 300°C and the pizza was moved around to different temperature regions in the oven during different stages of cooking. The pizza had an enchanting and intense earthy mushroom flavour. An egg was cracked into the middle of the pizza before cooking and then slicing of the pizza spilled the egg yolk over the tip of each piece. They also do a heavenly scented Black Truffle Pizza (198RMB). The signature Warm Seafood Salad with Avocado (98RMB) was absolutely stunning. Clams, squid, and shrimps were first delicately poached in sauvignon blanc consommé with a bouquet garni of herbes. The salad dressing has acidity from lemon juice, tempered by the sweetness of minced carrots and shallots and it made an excellent foil to the succulent seafood. Avocado and arugula leaves added the finishing touch. Braised Meatball Rigatoni (88RMB) was rustic and satisfying. The meatballs and tomato sauce were very flavourful and breadcrumbs added a crunchy texture.
With Carbon's new touch, we have tried their new recommended dishes, continue keeping the “farm-to-table” concept with the freshest locally sourced produce cooked simply but elegantly and served in large portions for sharing. Seared Sea Scallops with Lemon-Cauliflower Sauce was very tasty, the scallops was not fishy at all, in fact it even made the cauliflower so flavourable. We actually couldn't believe these raviolis were filled with lobster and shrimp meat, can't tell you how much we loved it, it stood out from all the new dishes immediately. Eat it while dipping into the soup that made with seafood stock, yummy yummy! Another really outstanding dish has to be this Eggplant Parmesan. Typical Italian dish, they use the eggplant sheet instead of the pasta sheet, the red and white sauce were prefectly mixed, and did we mention it's a vegeterian dish? The other dishes like Fresh Tagliallni, Basil-Pistachio Pesto, Fresh Fettuccine and Maine, Oven Roasted Whole Turbot Fish were also worth trying.
Carbon (Italian) is a beautiful restaurant that entices guests to gather with friends and family while enjoying exquisite food and drinks. An extensive wine list is featured along with cocktail creations. Parking available.