It's been eons since I last visited The Market Grill. Among the first settlers in the gentrification of the Telok Ayer/Amoy Street area, the bistro is one of more enduring legacies of the hip enclave frequented by the cool and beautiful of the CBD-set.
This time round, my friend scored a reservation at the no-reservations restaurant. He's a regular customer and I suppose "cronism" works in this case for us. Unfortunately, even though we were seated near the entrance and away from the open kitchen, it was still as uncomfortably warm as before. We were all sweating through our already thin clothes.
At least the dinner was saved by the fantastic food. Classic fare buttressed by excellent ingredients and a skilled finesse with the grill.
The Charcuterie Connoisseur Board ($32) with a rosette superieure saucisson, chorizo iberico, parma ham, duck rilette, pate forestier, and toasted sourdough was superb, but that rilette was truly outstanding. So good I was reluctant to share.
To up your fibre intake, the Green & Blue ($16) of a base of baby spinach dotted with grapes, candied bacon, walnuts, pickled shallots, and tossed with a piquant vinaigrette and finished with a flurry of crumbed blue cheese, was a delicious option. Hearty and beautifully balanced.
The Morrocan-inspired Lamb Kofka ($25), breadcrumbed balls of tightly packed minced lamb, deep fried to a crisp but still juicy on the inside, was contrasted with a cool tzatziki dip. Robust, full-bodied, and sumptuous.
The Lobster Roll ($48) had lumps of lobster meat dressed in a herbed mayo pommery stuffed into a buttery toasted brioche. Rich but not cloying, it was sided by mesclun and shoestring fries. It wasn't the best we've ever had but it was classic done very well.
A must-try, the Seafood Platter ($138) was a massive charger loaded with a whole seabass, chargrilled 500gm lobster, and grilled scallops in shell, with melted herbed butter and skinny fries. This really showcased the sparkling freshness and natural sweetness of the seafood.
Also part of the set was a trio of freshly shucked oysters, which briny notes were complemented by the shallot-chive-red-wine vinaigrette.
The Market Grill whips up pretty awesome burgers, and one of its more popular hits, the Portobello Burger ($25) layered with a hunky dory beef patty, creamed portobello, crisp bacon, and romaine lettuce, sandwiched between fluffy sesame buns was absolutely delightful. Be forewarned that eating this will be a messy, dribble-filled affair.
For dessert, there's the Banana Split ($15), made less sinful with scoops of zesty raspberry and lemon-lime sorbet. Just scrape away the whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
The Pecan Tart ($10) with raspberry sorbet and butterscotch caramel was decadent and scrumptious.
The Market Grill
208 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: 6221 3323
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; and 6pm to 10pm for dinner
Closed on Sundays