fantastic food at hipster prices in the central business district. I hopped on the hipster bandwagon in coming to this restaurant – but I couldn’t resist. the myriad reviews coming out were too positive and too curiosity-inciting for me to ignore, and I’m glad this place more than lived up to the hype. the food was delicious, the ambience cosy – I only wished the prices were a little less on the high side.
but I suppose one can’t have everything, eh?
let’s start with the obvious. obscure location, check; portlandish aspirations, check; old-school that never happened here, check. and yet, this place is endearing – the tables aren’t too cramped, there’s just the right amount of people for a pleasant hum in the air, and I have a soft spot for great design, even if it has vaunted provenance in a school of thought I don’t belong to.
to cut to the short of it – there are far too many reviews about this place – the food was fantastic. we had the lobster (of course we did), and while it was smaller than london’s burger and lobster (which is similar in spirit to this place) – the flesh was sweet and succulent, dripping with that delicious seafoody brine.
but even better than the lobster, was the dreamy cut of steak we had. this place prides itself on serving the less-prized cuts of beef (you wouldn’t quite know it from these prices), and we ordered the bavette at medium-rare. it came pink and juicy and tender and beefy – and justifiably garnered lots of praise from the usually dour partner.
and with silky caramelized onions atop, and a petite jug of complexly savoury gravy – this was truly silence-inspiring cooking at its best.
we finished with their rum banana pockets – essentially bananas wrapped in pastry, fried and topped with crumble, served alongside ice cream. this was the weakest dish – the pastry a little too thick and oily, though at least the bananas were satisfyingly soft, and the ice-cream not too icy.
so – we came (somewhat) for the lobster, but we’ll return for the beef. they have a real charcoal grill – which likely explains how great the meat tastes – and cooking truly is expert on that count. and the place is gorgeous and intimate, pretensions aside.
we had a surly indian waiter – not hipster cool but genuinely unpleasant – which marred the experience somewhat, but the other female waitresses were friendly and pleasant, and the food very delicious. come here for beef (I have hopes for their other grilled meats), then go elsewhere for dessert. really, in all, well-deserving of the hype.
The Market Grill
208 Telok Ayer Street
tel +65 6221 3323 (hipster-worthy no-reservation-policy, annoyingly)
$$$: one lobster + one beef + one dessert + one beer = one-thirty-three