[NEW] Merci Marcel: Tiong Bahru gem touting bejewelled tipples

Just what the neighbourhood needs is another wine bar. Note, the lack of sarcasm in my voice. No, it's not a double innuendo. I persevere in proving my point, the bereft of chill-out joints in the creative enclave of Tiong Bahru a mystery to me seeing alcohol's ability to 'inspire'. Merci Marcel, the latest lifestyle concept doled out by the same folks behind O' Comptoir and O' Batignolles brings the same winning formula of wine and cheese dressed up in a more articulate vibrant manner.

The concept pulls out all the stops where lifestyle stores are concerned (yes, they do have side shelf retailing wines, sunglasses and other memorabilia) with killer to-die-for tropic motifs and locally designed light fixtures. Food is no less impressive with the Duck Rillettes ($18) paving the way. Rich duck rillette is smooshed atop toasted pedestals, this bundled up with melted camembert cheese and draped with silvers of marinated pear. It's begs you to swoop in with a quick swig of red wine. Maybe it's just the festive season egging you on. But you pounce on the chance of tipple trouble with no consequence. Note that the cocktail menu is curated with the aid of La Maison Du Whisky and might I add that the Tiong Bahru Spirit ($22) is pretty tasty. Their Gin and Tonic employs the gold standard Napue Gin, which is always a sight for sore eyes. Drink seekers, you're in safe hands.

Cheekily titled 'Extend the Pleasure', the mains section showcase a classic playbook of proteins with a large variation of plates that promote sharing. There's Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallops ($38) - perfectly caramelised pucks lying seductively in a moat of deliriously light cauliflower creme and couscous for a slight discerning textural contrast is punched up with nutty nuances from drizzles of beurre noisette  A slab of Australian Angus Beef ($39 for 400grams) had me sitting on the fence thanks to the uneven cook across the slab but its main counterpart of creamy seasonal mushrooms seals the delectable deal.

We matched a side of Roasted Asparagus to the meaty setup and questioned the addition of whole roasted almonds to the equation. They just didn't stick (pun intended). However, loads of butter is a subtle addition that works.

Due to my friend's lactose intolerance, we didn't manage to navigate the cheese options, but the mix and match options with the lure of the cheese fridge upon traversing the floor to the bathroom does entice. Where food is concerned, Merci Marcel doesn't achieve revolutionary status; however, it's ability to conjure the right atmosphere is key. The place feels warm and festive, hitting the smart/casual sweet spot. You'll spot families and friends tearing through plates against a backdrop of white washed walls and stunning Parisian tiled floors. The energy of the kitchen is palpable and onlysurmountable to the convivial spirit of the handsome (mostly French) patrons; that and the sight of swirling wines across the dining room is my siren song.

Merci Marcel
56 Eng Hoon Street
t: 6224 0113

Operating Hours:
Tues - Sat: 8am - 11 300pm
Sun: 8am - 10 30pm
Mon: Closed

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