A cosy cafe-bistro tucked within Tiong Bahru has been getting some rave reviews. I wanted to wave it away because I don’t like to buy into hype but Flo’s friend, Pascal, lives a few doors down and since we were popping by his place last weekend, we decided to dinner together at Merci Marcel – a regular haunt of Pascal’s.
Merci Marcel has three parts, one for al fresco dining, an air-conditioned middle section, and right at the back reminds me a bit of those conservatories many European homes have. It carried a very laid-back vibe and was really homely. The server who took care of us was extremely pleasant, accommodating and friendly so two-thumbs up to her!
Upon Pascal’s recommendation, we ordered a 300g Australian Grass-fed Angus Beef with Creamy Seasonal Mushrooms and Burnt Leeks.
This meat was cook perfectly. It was juicy, well-seasoned, velvety and sweet. A real dream to eat and that’s coming from someone who generally never goes for steak unless I’m at a steakhouse and have no other options. The creamy earthy mushrooms were a beautiful accompaniment to the beef. Definitely a great dish for sharing. Or not.
We also ordered a Ceviche of Red Snapper with Marinated Bell Pepper and Chive Oil that was served with homemade Flat Bread.
Seafood is right up my alley and this ceviche didn’t disappoint. The play on flavours – sweet, sour, a touch of spicy, went well and the snapper was cured just so. I had more of my fair share of this since thankfully, the boys were busy lapping up the beef.
We also made sure to have our greens in the form of Roast Asparagus with Sea Salt and Chopped Almonds. The almonds didn’t contribute much in my opinion but the asparagus were lovely. Tender and succulent. Made my pee smell later (tmi?) but it was worth it.
Pascal also recommended the French Comte Cheese Croquettes. They had a wonderful crust to crunch into to give way to a fluffy potato layer and a middle filling of cheese. Flo and Pascal really liked this but it wasn’t quite my thing. I love cheese but I found this version a little too rich and creamy for my liking.
The last dish we had to share was the Marinated Crab Rillettes with Avocado and Sourdough Bread. When it first appeared, I was quick to assume that it would be heavy and cloying. I was wrong.
The crab was nicely dressed in a light-yet-still-creamy dressing which allowed the crustacean flavours to shine through. I was very pleasantly surprised. The sourdough bread was also spot on and was the perfect canvas to pile the rillettes on top of and eat.
We were too full for dessert so I have little clue as to how strong they are on their sweets. That being said, I’d love to go back to try more of their seafood dishes – the Hokkaido Scallops and Black Pepper Tuna dishes sound really inviting. Yeah… I’m a sucker for all edible creatures of the sea what can I say?
They also have a brunch and a lunch menu, and they take reservations so yay for that! I generally prefer to book my tables these days because ain’t nobody got time for watching people devour their food while waiting for a table to clear. I may be Singaporean but I’ve never managed to appreciate the art of queuing up, even for awesome food. 🙂