Tiong Bahru, otherwise known to many as Singapore’s hipster enclave in the west, is home to yet another food and lifestyle concept. Going by the name of Merci Marcel, Marie Charlotte Ley and Antoine Rouland (of O Batignolles and O Comptoir)’s newest venture serves elegant French dishes for brunch and dinner crowds right next door to Tiong Bahru Bakery.
Since its opening late last year, Merci Marcel has transformed from a quaint French cafe-restaurant, to a bustling space filled to the brim with cafe hoppers eager to check out their culinary offerings. Cheese lovers will be glad to know they can buy their own wheel from Merci Marcel’s cheese fridge, where “the smelly cheese” is proudly displayed.
While the cafe was pretty crowded, we were lucky enough to score a table for two in the coveted alfresco area out back, which rocks a tropical vibe, what with the generous afternoon sunlight spilling through hanging potted plants, rattan chairs and bright brick wall. While we were warned about the lack of air conditioning, the space was sufficiently cool on a late Sunday afternoon.
Inside, lively chatter permeated the atmosphere, as the staff bustled around in smart black shirts emblazoned with the slogan, “La Vie en Marcel”.
So who is Marcel, and why should we thank him?
The brunch menu is decidedly simple, with dishes focusing on eggs, salads, sweets and grains, baked goods, and artisan cheeses.
The Croque Marcel ($22) is a hearty brunch item, with a single fried egg and organic Bayonne ham sitting atop two slices of sourdough toast held together with a generous serving of ham and melted cheese. While a thoroughly savoury dish, Merci Marcel’s rendition of the classic croque madame did not verge on overly salty. The salad lent some balance of freshness too!
The Ravioles de Royans ($18) certainly fooled us. Arriving at our table in a bowl slightly bigger than my hands, this surprisingly rich dish packed a good serving of French dumpling pasta filled with Tête de Moine cheese. Each bite burst with richness and flavour and it wasn’t long before the entire bowl was cleared! If you’re a pasta and cheese lover, this is one dish to save room in your tummy for.
Merci Marcel, merci beaucoup for showing us what a good brunch is!
Address: 56 Eng Hoon Street 01-68
Nearest MRT: Outram Park
9am – 11.30pm (Tuesday to Friday)
8am – 11.30pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Closed on Monday
Contact: 6224 0113/ firstname.lastname@example.org