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Must-try: Having earned his stripes at establishments like Les Amis and Le Saint Julien — including a reputation as the "master of grills" — chef West is deft at no-nonsense comfort food that underplays the finesse going into the preparation. His CW Signature Burgers for example, are entirely hand-crafted, from the patties to the flavor and texture of each bun, and make for excellent whole meals with a side of fries and salad. The CW Cod Fish (S$26) is perhaps the most memorable on the menu, with tender slices of grilled pommery-marinated Atlantic cod slathered in a lemony herbed mayo and hugged in between pillowy-soft parmesan buns. The CW Portobello (S$22) is more run-of-the-mill, though points must be given for its lovely tender beef patty with creamed Portobello mushroom.
Fresh cuts of meat and live lobsters are the pride and joy at The Market Grill, and these are displayed prominently in a full-height meat chiller and 1.5 metre-long lobster tank respectively just behind the bar counter. There’s thus, no doubt about the freshness of the Atlantic lobsters flown in from Maine and Boston, and these crustaceans are best enjoyed freshly steamed or grilled; at S$42 for a 500g lobster, it doesn’t get better value-for-money than this. Otherwise, have them diced up into succulent chunks, mixed with a creamy herbed mayo-pommery, and then sandwiched between toasted brioche rolls as slides (S$42). They can be a tad messy to eat though, so don’t attempt this with your hands if you’re with someone you need to impress.
In comparison, the Black Angus beef bavette (S$39) from the selection of exotic cuts (dubbed "High Low" for high-flavour and low-profile) is less memorable, though very reasonably priced. Ironically, it’s its side dish of potatoes cooked "sarladaise-style" in duck fat that left the greatest impression; these greasy fragrant cubes are delicious to the very last bite, carbs be damned. Desserts are also more cursory than anything, but if you must, the Apple Crumble A La Mode (S$14) is a decent meal-ender, sweet and tart with chunks of apple baked under a layer of buttery crumble.
Verdict: If The Market Grill were to follow in the trajectory of Loh’s other success stories — and we won’t be surprised if it did — it’d only be a matter of time before you’d be queueing up for chef West’s excellent burgers. So why wait till then?
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