Moving to a new neighbourhood always has the excitement of bringing it with new local eateries to try. I had never really noticed Say Mercy in all of our jaunts up Fraser Street, expect for the fact that it has a patio down a side street which backs onto a public plaza, making it often relatively busy. The restaurant itself is small and intimate, and subsequently has mostly been closed this past year with Covid.
We were gifted a voucher from my boss, so we made a reservation one evening in the middle of one of those Vancouver runs where there is nothing but perpetual sun. Knowing the weather would be good, we dressed up for the occasion and made our way to Say Mercy.
I had presumed Say Mercy would be French cuisine, but it wasn’t at all. It is Italian and American BBQ fusion, with an interesting and innovative menu containing lots of seafood and unusual meats. With the guidance of our server, we opted not to do the tasting menu (which is called “Jesus take the wheel!”) and instead ordered a whopping big pork hock that he informed us was going to be more than enough food. We had also heard great things about the pasta dish and the fresh house bread, so naturally we ordered those too.
There was a decent wine, cocktail and beer selection. They had some some of our favourite beer available so we couldn’t go past that! The food arrived relatively quickly, and the reviews were right: the bread and pasta were both outstanding. The bread was warm, stretchy, fluffy and light and just melted in my mouth into a yummy dough ball. The pasta was a BBQ bolognese (so a bit of fusion) made with smoked pork butt and pancetta and it was incredibly delicious. We positively devoured this first course and I was a bit nervous for how large the pork hock was going to be!
The pork hock came out and as warned, it really was a feast for the eyes. It came with dirty farro (I.e. had bits of chicken heart in it, still not sure how I feel about that), cabbage slaw, pork rinds (which I couldn’t stop eating) and a spiced sorghum glaze. It was juicy, succulent and absolutely fell of the bone, but there was no way we were going to be able to finish it. We ended up taking a huge portion of it home in a takeaway box – not that we were complaining!
Of course, despite feeling absolutely stuffed, dessert was still on the cards. We both wanted different things, so we ended up getting both desserts! The banana pie cannoli is a specialty at Say Mercy and it was melt in your mouth stuff. Somewhat reminiscent of banoffee pie, one each was certainly enough! But wait, there was still the chocolate tart and gelato to eat too – thankfully Andy doesn’t seem to have a ‘too rich radar’, so he managed to finish it off for us.
It was a great night out, with delicious food, drinks and weather to boot. The patio has a great atmosphere and would make for a perfect group dinner too. Next time, we’ll let Jesus take the wheel and guide us through the menu.