The Place Located just beside Tiong Bahru Bakery, Merci Marcel is by the same folks behind O Comptior at Boat Quay. The restaurant is nicely decked out with light colours and wood features, giving a somewhat Balinese meets French gardens vibe. There are three distinct sections of the concept, with the entrance as a lounge, the main restaurant taking on a cafe vibe, and the far depths of the shophouse being a garden patio.
The space has cleverly placed in retail shelves as well, with a fellow diner bagging home some cheese – air flown weekly from Europe. And yes, you can have them at the restaurant too. There are selections of wine, cold cuts and even bottle juices and chocolates from Europe on sale at Merci Marcel.
The Food Before we get started on the food, just who’s Marcel? Well, he’s a fictitious character created by the restaurant to personify the ideas behind the concept – fun-loving, sociable French gentlemen in the tropics; that’s perhaps a good way to bring the concept of Merci Marcel across. You can therefore expect an uncomplicated menu of French cuisine, with dishes mainly meant for sharing.
For starters, go for the 18-month Bayonne Ham (S$16) which is basically a Cured Pork Ham Platter. Pair it with the bread from the bread basket, rather enjoyable. Another enjoyable starter, the Marinated Crab Rillettes (S$18) has crab meats on a thin crust sourdough bread with avocado spread. Fresh seafood, with that crunch from the bread, order this to kickstart your meal here.
Sounding too good, we ordered the Australian Angus Beef (S$39) medium rare, which was unfortunately served almost well done. While the portion at 400 grams is great for sharing, the meats were too tough and dry, and was slightly bland. The saving grace for us was the Creamy Seasonal Mushrooms (S$10) that was served atop the meats, and is available as a side order as well.
The other meat dish we had was the Pork Tenderloin (S$24), which was again on the tougher and drier spectrum like the beef.
We strongly recommend you to go for either the Black Pepper Tuna (S$25) or the Tarte Flambee (S$24) as your mains. The former is well executed, with the fish done with Yuzu & Soy vinaigrette. It is a refreshing and an easy main course to have while sipping on some of the French wine selections here.
The Tarte Flambee is a thin-crust pizza with asparagus, apple, bacon and blue cheese; yes, blue cheese. Pizza has a perfect crisp texture, with the blue cheese not overpowering – which is a good thing for me.
For the sides, make sure you order a serving of the Ravioles de Royans (S$18), which can double up as a mains really. The French Dumpling Pasta is filled with Tete de Moine cheese, very dense bite, and perfect for cheese lovers.
The desserts here were the surprising favourites of the entire meal. The Creme Brulee (S$9) is topped with Passion Fruit, giving the dessert a sour taste initially, and a satisfyingly sweet aftertaste.
The Chocolate Cake (S$10) has almost the perfect density and a crust that provides more texture to the cake. And luckily with the homemade whipped cream, the dessert was not too dry.
Rants With Singapore’s humid weather, does anything al-fresco really work?
Will I Return Again? The space is gorgeous, we loved the vibe of the restaurant. That said, there are no signatures on the menu at this point we are compelled to return for.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3/5
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68
Tel: +65 62240113
Tuesday to Saturday 8am to 1130pm
Sunday 8am to 10pm
Closed on Monday
Ranted by The Ranter