The Market Grill (Singapore) by Loh Lik Peng

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Setting
 

The facade of The Market Grill

Loh Lik Peng, it seems, is on a roll. After a succession of new restaurant openings with Jason Atherton (Esquina, Pollen and then KeongSaik Snacks in Singapore, plus 22 Ships in Hong Kong and then Commune Social in Shanghai), he’s at it again. Loh’s latest outpost in Singapore is his solo attempt at a casual grill concept in Telok Ayer Street. Aptly named The Market Grill (“TMG”), the glass-and-tile fronted shop house eatery has all the trappings of a trendy casual diner including an ubiquitous open-concept kitchen bordered by a zinc-topped counter-style dining bar featuring a chargrill on one end and a tank of live Atlantic lobsters on the other. The old-school wall posters and vintage brass hanging lamps complete the picture of the eatery’s fun and nostalgic vibes.

What to expect

For TMG, Loh has plucked a Colin West to command the kitchen. West spent time at various eateries including Braise (where he was a ‘master of grills’) and Swiss Grill (where he developed and launched a burger menu) before he landed his current job as executive chef and these skills are put to good use with TMG’s grill-centric menu that puts the spotlight on burgers, beefsteaks and lobsters. Let’s just say that there’s something for everyone.
Black Angus beef bavette with onion marmalade

Carnivores rejoice. At TMG, there is a choice of 7 beef cuts ranging from the credit card-denting Black Angus prime beef rib (S$150 for a 1.1-1.2kg slab) to lower profile alternatives like ox tongue (S$36, 200g). We took a stab at the grilled Black Angus beef bavette (S$39, 200g), a flank steak that came highly recommended, and were richly rewarded with a succulent slab that cut like butter, served alongside a casserole of deliriously delicious duck fat potatoes.

Bleu cheese beef burger

The meats galore continues with the burgers (S$18 to S$26): cod fish, chicken and 4 variations of beef burgers stacked on home-made buns and an array of wholesome-to-the-soul ingredients. We were tempted to go easy on cholesterol with the obvious choice of cod fish burger (S$26), but the bleu cheese beef burger (S$22) won us over with an unusual ensemble of ingredients  – salty bits of pungent bleu cheese, burnt onion marmalade and bacon strips sandwiched between subtly sweet house-made walnut raisin buns – that, strangely enough, made for excellent bedfellows.

Lobster sliders

We had less success with the lobster sliders (S$42, 500g). Don’t get us wrong, the heaping chunks of steamed Atlantic lobster meat enrobed in herbed mayo were spot-on texture-wise (the taste, however, could get a lift with more herbs). But the shellfish lovers amongst us know better than to bury these edible treasures in butter brioche; the chargrilled whole lobster (S$42, 500g) served with garlic infused butter and a dash of lemon jus would have been a wiser choice on hindsight.

Oven-roasted bone marrow

Still hungry? Fill-up with some sharing plates. The bone marrow ($21), 3 stumps of addictive oven-roasted bone marrow seasoned simply with sea salt flakes and parsley, and meadow mushrooms (S$16), sautéed Portobello mushrooms on a generous bed of mesclun with earthy truffled butter croutons in a sweet and tangy honey mustard vinaigrette, are star starters that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the signatures.

To inhale all these, and more, come early to beat the no-reservations policy.

The Market Grill | 208 Telok Ayer Street | 65-6221 3323 | www.themarketgrill.com.sg
For picture story, visit www.facebook.com/bibikgourmand

© Evelyn Chen 2013

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