One of the latest F&B establishments to sprout in the increasingly gentrified neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru is French bistro and wine bar Merci Marcel.
If you’re wary of the modern eateries sprouting up all across Tiong Bahru in recent time displacing all your favourite traditional local businesses, Merci Marcel may prove to be a surprising new addition to the area. The chic French bistro is built around a menu offering classic French fare with some modern tweaks, along with a rather affordable French wine list that rivals most of its contemporaries in town.
But considering that Merci Marcel is owned by the same people behind casual French eatery O Comptoir and the wildly successful Parisian wine bistro O Batignolles, we’d expect the wine offerings here to be different and interesting since owners Marie Charlotte Ley and Antoine Rouland already bring in a range of wines for their other outlets.
You’ll find wines from most of the key winemaking regions in France here: among the generous list, a rose from Provence (Château Riotor Côtes de Provence AOC 2016, $58++ per bottle, for example), a Domaine Bonnet Huteau Muscadet AOC 2015 ($58++ per bottle) and Domaine François Le Saint Sancerre AOC 2013 ($16 per glass, $78++ per bottle) representing the Loire Valley, and the Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf du Pape AOC 2013 ($58++ per bottle) and Cave de Clairmont Crozes Hermitage AOC 2012 Immanence ($85++ per bottle) flying the flag for two of Rhone’s iconic appellations.
Then there’s the Château Gruaud Larose St Julien AOC 1998 ($360++ per bottle) or Baron de Brane Margaux AOC 2011 ($130++ per bottle) for those who enjoy their right bank Bordeaux, or XX de Château Corbin Saint Emilion AOC 2011 ($18++ per glass, $95++ per bottle) if they prefer a Merlot-dominant right bank one. Bourgogne, of course, is also represented – Domaine Jérôme Chezeaux Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC 2014 ($140++ per bottle) and Domaine Bachey Legros Chassagne-Montrachet AOC 2015 ($125++ per bottle) if you like your Pinot Noir, and Château de la Saule Montagny 1er Cru AOC 2014 ($95++ per bottle) or Domaine Les Malandes Chablis 1er Cru AOC 2015 Les Montmains ($105++ per bottle) if you like your complex Chardonnays.
For Champagne, Merci Marcel carries primarily Champagne Duval-Leroy (distributed by Le Vigne Wines) – the Maison Duval Leroy Champagne AOC Brut Reserve ($18++ per glass, $88 per bottle) is good for any occasion.
If you’re more of a cocktails kind of person, Merci Marcel worked with spirits distributor La Maison du Whisky to put together a modest cocktail list. The Tiong Bahru Spirit ($19++) – made from Grey Goose, apricot nectar, lime juice, apricot liqueur, rosemary, Badoit Rouge – is a refreshing tall drink good for warm, balmy afternoons, while La vie en Marcel ($22++), concocted with Fair Gin, lime cordial, egg white, pear nectar, lime juice, poire liqueur, is a superbly devised gin-based sour that hits all the right spots.
You can’t go too wrong with the food here. The Marinated Crab Rillette ($18++) is a refreshing seafood take on the duck rillette, while the traditional Ravioles de Royans ($18++) is a creamy dish of cheese-filled pasta that’s a lot more filling. For something even more substantial go for the Australian Angus Beef ($39++ for 400g), which comes as a portion big good enough for two during dinner especially if you’re intending to share other dishes as well.
With its casual vibe, sprawling wine list and delicious French fare Merci Marcel may be a new foreign kid on the Tiong Bahru block, but it’s a welcome addition.
Address #01-68, 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 8am to 11.30pm Tuesdays to Fridays; 8am to 11.30pm on Saturdays; 8am to 10pm on Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 6224 0113