Where to eat and what’s new in Singapore: Merci Marcel Orchard Road, Antoinette at Millenia Walk, and a new Saturday brunch spot
Where we dined this week...
Merci Marcel Orchard Road
If there’s a cachette we can camp out in this cosmopolitan city, it would be Merci Marcel. Its third establishment (following the success at Tiong Bahru and Club Street) seeks out the bustling nexus — at Paiais Renaissance. Grounded in bohemian and tropical fixtures, there’s a whole lot more light seeping into this outlet. Think a breezy al fresco patio — where you get a sweeping view of the outdoors, yet shielded from the sun and under the protection of efficient ceiling fans. Then, right next to it, is an air-conditioned spot branded with huge arched windows, letting in more light and verdant greenery. In true Merci Marcel fashion, intricate interior details can be spotted — from the eco-sustainable custom-made terracotta floor tiles, handcrafted by Italian artisans Cotto Etrusco, to chic overhead umbrella lamp shades from Honoré Déco. Merci Marcel Paiais Renaissance also debuts a concept store within, allowing diners to peruse through an eclectic collection of items from all over the world, all of which, aligning with the establishment’s design ethos. With the grub, our classic favourites from the restaurant like Ravioles de Royans (the French dumpling filled with cheese) was given the midas touch of foie gras emulsion. There’s also the original that’s available to order, in case you’re not the biggest fan of duck liver. New starters like roasted leeks also made an impression, with the addition of gribiche sauce and strips of organic Bayonne ham for that smokey kick of salt. Another vegetable dish we loved was the zucchini gazpacho, which sat well on a hot day — perfectly blended and whipped with black lemon cream. For bigger plates, split the Tarte flambée with your crew, it’s a thin crust pizza with reblochon cheese, grapes and smoked duck breast — bringing out a myriad of flavours in tandem and simple finesse in a pizza. On the other hand, new pastas like the mafaldine with rosemary infused chicken turned out to be a huge miss — with cold limp pasta alongside a stiff under-seasoned protein. Thankfully, all was forgiven with their signature fluffy crepes — opt for the Marcel that bears a tiramisu touch. If you’re looking for something tart to pair that with, the pineapple carpaccio adorned with toasted and roasted coconut can certainly help you out. —JS
Hero dish: Ravioles de Royans with foie gras emulsion
Estimated calories: 285
Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Road, #01-03 to 04, Tel: 6735 2608
Opening hours: 8am-12am
Antoinette at Millenia Walk
Chef Pang has always been on the forefront of innovation, as he adeptly played around with a wide array of local elements at both the Penhas and Mandarin Gallery outlet. However it's time to move on to the next chapter, as operations shift from Mandarin Gallery to Millenia Walk. And this said new chapter now boasts of an extensive breakfast menu. Praise, indeed. Kicking off our morning was the egg muffin, which can be described as a bougie version of the popular sandwich from Maccas. Unlike its fast food cousin, the pork sausage patty packed much more flavour, and the cheddar cheese truly made a difference as its sharpness cut through the heaviness gracefully. Next item off the breakfast menu was a unanimous favourite — the ondeh ondeh kaya toast. Chef Pang's re-imagination of the beloved breakfast staple was truly stunning, as the crunchy ciabatta built a great foundation for the smooth custard-like panda kaya, exuding a delightful fragrance that mingled harmoniously with that of the thick slabs of sinful French butter. Topping it all off was a generous dose of gula melaka syrup —propelling the decadence level up the charts. Besides the breakfast selections, we were also enamoured with their delicious crepes, all made from wholegrain buckwheat. The toppings were all well thought out, but our favourite of the bunch had to be the Nordic crepe as the intoxicatingly smoky salmon just went so well with the crepe. With all that said, do yourself a favour and don't leave without ordering their new earl grey bubble tea souffle pancakes — the treat's pillow-like texture allowed for a beautiful interplay of textures with the bounciness of the pearls, with each bite perfumed by the delicate fragrance of earl grey tea. — EM
Hero dish: Ondeh ondeh kaya toast
Estimated calories: 437
9 Raffles Boulevard #01-28 Millenia Walk, Tel: 6235 5109
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 8am-10pm, (Sat-Sun) 10am-10pm; Breakfast available at 8am-5pm on weekdays
When it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, pioneering establishments like Artichoke might have set the bar up high, but the recently-revamped Fat Prince's menu isn't slacking off on that front either. First it is essential to talk about their immaculate new "koktail" menu which deftly incorporates Middle Eastern elements into their drinks. We thought the verde was ingenious as the blend of tequila, lime, agave and zhoug (a flavourful hot sauce originated from Yemeni cuisine) gave birth to a savoury concoction with an uncanny charm, setting it apart from the typical Bloody Marys. We could wax lyrical about almost the entire meal, but we shall rein that in and limit ourselves to our absolute favourites. First up, an eggplant meet yoghurt, a hummus-like dish, which was delightfully creamy and loaded with whiffs of smoke, making it a perfect foil to the accompanying Turkish flat bread. The showstopper though, was the duck pastilla. The dish sported a delicate outer layer of buttery filo pastry which encased a mix of vegetables, almonds and stunningly flavoursome shredded duck, miraculously devoid of any gameyness. While it was unassuming in appearance, it was truly a sublime example of textural play. The other highlight of the night was the slow cooked lamb shoulder, which saw a wealth of latent flavours impeccably drawn out from the protein, through an overnight process of slow cooking in an earth oven. Each mouthful flooded our palate with delectable juices and it boasted of an unparalleled suppleness, scant in most lamb dishes. Word of advice? Don't overeat (no matter how enticing these options sound), the bloat post-meat was real. — EM
Hero dish: Slow cooked lamb shoulder
Estimated calories: 205
48 Peck Seah St #01-01, Tel: 6221 7794
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 11:30am-12am, closed on Sundays
Where we're looking to dine...
The biggest Mexican food chain in Australia and New Zealand, Mad Mex has recently landed in Singapore at Marina Bay Financial Tower. Their expertise lies in a healthier approach on Mexican cuisine from burritos to quesadillas and more. Patrons may even choose and customise their own meals here according to personal dietary requirements and preferences.
Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) Tower 3, 12 Marina Blvd, #02-05
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri including eve of PH) 8am-8pm, closed on Saturdays, Sundays and PH
Zafferano: Saturday champange brunch
Here's what an ideal Saturday looks like: Languid afternoons featuring a hearty Italian meal with an unlimited pour of alchohol while overlooking the picturesque Marina Bay waterfront. You're in luck — on one Saturday every month from October to December, Zafferano offers a traditional four-course special featuring perennial Italian favourites and champagne and spumante for tipples. You'll also find a delectable selection of roasted meats available at the live carving stations as well as a lavish spread of desserts to end your brunch on a perfect note.
Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay, Level 43
Zafferano: Saturday champange brunch is only available on the 19 October, 23 November and 14 December from 12pm to 3pm.