Market Grill, Telok Ayer Street

The Market Grill is (I believe) the newest in the Unlisted Collections group of restaurants, which is also home to Esquina, one of my favourite restaurants in the world, let alone Singapore and many others (including Cocotte on which I have a blog post pending) The Market Grill Press Release states that “The Market Grill is yet another exciting project by The Unlisted Collection, aimed to cement Singapore’s reputation as a food and dining destination” a bold claim indeed, although on the strength of my dinner there, it is one I am very much in agreement with.

Located not far from Urbanbites ( ) Market Grill is that rare breed of restaurant you would be equally happy taking a business lunch at, having a gossipy dinner with friends or even a date. When I arrived at almost 9pm the 40 seater restaurant was full to bursting and I was lucky to snag one of the last available bar stools for myself.

The menu is a sort of modern brasserie menu I suppose, with small plates, burgers, different cuts of steak and grills available as well as fresh lobster from their generous lobster tank on the bar. The meats are described as being “premium” or “high-low” cuts, the former consisting of a 1.1kg Black Angus Prime Beef Rib ($150 without sides which are approximately $8 each) and a 350g US Prime Rib Eye, whilst the latter includes everything from Ox tongue ($36) Beef Brisket ($37) Bavette ($39) to Wagyu Rump ($38) all of which seem reasonably priced even when you factor in the additional side orders.

Burgers are priced between $20 and $26 with both a Grilled Cod Fillet Burger and a Chicken Burger being available alongside variously topped Beef Burgers. Should you be in the mood for Lobster, they are again pretty good value at $45 each (the menu describes them as being around 500g but some of the ones I saw being served did seem a bit bigger)

In the end I opted against all of these and selected two dishes from the list of appetizers, and a side order. The “Cod Croquetas” ($18) were initially a bit of a disappointment as they weren’t the Spanish style Croqueta (béchamel which is filled with anything from crab to pancetta and then bread crumbed and fried resulting in a gooey, molten centre) rather they were fashioned from mashed potato and cod, formed into little balls and fried. In fairness, the menu is quite clear on this point so I should have read it more carefully, however they were actually very tasty, the promised paprika gave a lovely spicy sweetness to them and I devoured them rather quickly indeed.

My next dish to arrive was from the side order section, Sautéed Baby Romaine ($8) which was absolutely delicious, they finish the crunchy greens with verjus, which really perked up the flavour and was an intriguing addition to the dish that I would never have thought of.

However the real star was the Bone Marrow ($25) which is up there in the list of “Best things I have ever eaten.” Hardly a revolutionary dish, they serve it the same way the magnificent Fergus Henderson does at St John, grilled in the bone and served with parsley, red onion and caper salad, crusty, garlic toasted bread and a little salt on the side. Using the long marrow spoon, you scoop out the softened, jelly like marrow and smear it onto the bread with a tiny pinch of salt, before topping with a good pinch of the salad and eating. It is just so delicious to eat as you get all the different textures in one mouthful; super soft, salted marrow, crunchy toast and then the earthy, slightly tangy parsley and onion salad at the end. As Homer Simpson would no doubt say, lips quivering, with a hint of drool forming “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Marrow!”

I have eaten this dish at St John on numerous occasions and know it well, the delight is in the simplicity and it is certainly not a hard dish to replicate, assuming you buy the right ingredients – the bread must be sourdough, the marrow must be cooked for just the right amount of time for example. They added an additional condiment of caramelized onions here which I tried to see if they added anything to the dish, in my book they didn’t and I left them but no harm done there.

The winelist is short and to the point, one white and one red (both $14 by the glass or $49 for a bottle) both from Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mapu, Central Valley Chile. Further bottles start at $69 and head to around $100 but this would be a great place to take a bottle of something good from home and enjoy as corkage is just $15 a bottle.

If wine isn’t your thing they also list around ½ dozen beers from London Pride to Little Creatures as well as some more of those San Pellegrino fruit sodas I like so much and plenty of other soft drinks. They have a beautiful meat fridge behind the bar counter displaying all the premium and High-Low meat cuts and the lobster tank is quite fun to watch and its always reassuring to see a restaurant showing how committed they are to using fresh and not frozen produce. I would definitely go back to have the bone marrow again, and the specials list looks like it would be worth discovering in more detail too, I also highly recommend you try Market Grill out for yourself next time you are in the mood for a steak.

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