Maison Marie Bistrot, The Rail Mall: “The Roasted Prawns stole a part of my soul”

It’s a nostalgic trip heading back to Upper Bukit Timah, given that I uprooted myself from my childhood home to now live in Sengkang. I barely return to this area, but there are moments I miss its ease of accessibility and certainly its green views. No matter, this trip was to be about discovery, as I hopped into my Grab ride to head to Maison Marie Bistrot.

Colage of Maison Marie dining and fresh market interior

The Rail Mall is home to a number of notable restaurants like Acqua e Farina, Springleaf Prata Place, and New Teck Kee Chicken Rice, and my hope for this new member of the family is to solidify its entry as a positive lasting impression. It’s a weekday evening and the bright blue dining hall is void of diners; a sight that comforts and worries me in equal measure.

The wait staff who attends to our table is chirpy and delightfully pleased to serve us—for some reason her exuberance throws me off, but I grow fond of her excitable nature as dinner moves along. Maison Marie Bistrot holds a dine-in section as well as a fresh market adjacent to it, providing an odd sense of reassurance about the quality of the produce on the menu.

What I tried

Oyster Flight at Maison Marie

Speaking of ingredients, it only makes sense for dinner to begin with one of the markers of great produce, oysters. An Oyster Flight here sets you back by S$36 for half a dozen and S$72 for a dozen, with three varieties for your picking. We had two of each—Isigny Sur Mer, Brueil Utah Beach, and Gillardeau.

As someone who only recently learnt the art of appreciating these polarising molluscs, my vote would have to go to the Gillardeau for its purported creamy and sweet finish. But I can’t deny the freshness of all three varieties—you’ll just have to work your way through to find your style.

Roasted Prawns at Maison Marie

On paper, the Roasted Prawns (S$18) don’t conjure inspiration, but it only takes me my first bite to be immensely blown away by how impressively sweet the prawns are. Produce aside, it’s a smart move to cook these simply, with only parsley and garlic oil. Here, the protein is clearly the star, while the parsley and garlic oil only serve as supporting roles. Together, this delicious trio makes for a recipe that leaves me wanting to order a second portion and call it a night.

Octopus Bolognese

But, alas, the show must go on, and I’m presented with an Octopus Bolognese (S$32) whose name impresses me more than its taste, it turns out. Drenched in a muddle of tomato and bone marrow, sliced octopus attempts to make its way to the fore. Typically, this sea creature is presented grilled and as a whole leg, so it takes me a few tries to understand this novel demonstration.

I soon tire of trying to comprehend this dish, which whittles down my judgement to the dish being my least favourite of the night. The bone marrow loses the battle in making a show of its delicate flavour and the pleasant bounce of octopus meat is completely lost.

Whole Mediterranean Seabass

Thankfully, another seafood dish swoops in in time to save the meal. In comes the Whole Mediterranean Seabream (S$30), splayed out on a plate with a side of house salad and romesco. Once again, it is its simplicity that makes it an instant hit with this duo of diners—with no fancy sauce or gravy. The crackling seabream skin befits the making of an ASMR project, while the succulent flesh beneath just begs to be consumed while hot. Isn’t it amazing how toothsome seafood can taste when we meddle less with it?

Hazelnut Choux

The meal closes out with Hazelnut Choux (S$14), a sight to behold with all its luxuriously piped hazelnut mousseline. Dessert is a course I’m always looking forward to, regardless if the rest of the meal has been satisfactory or otherwise—’tis my weakness. It was relieving then, that this nutty confection won my heart from the first bite.

I guiltlessly licked off every bit of cream from my fork (and the plate), leaving my dining partner to surrender a larger portion of his share to me. Heeheehee.

Final thoughts

I arrived at Maison Marie Bistrot wanting it to leave a lasting impression, and sure enough, it did. The Roasted Prawns stole a part of my soul and I’ve been daydreaming of it every time I glance over a prawn dish on a menu. Now that Upper Bukit Timah is no longer my domestic jurisdiction, would I still consider revisiting it?

A resounding yes. It still has some tweaking that would do its other dishes justice, and with time, I’m confident that will happen.

Expected damage: S$35 – S$50 per pax

Chope Reservations

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Maison Marie

380 -384 Upper Bukit Timah Road, The Rail Mall, Singapore 678040

Our Rating 4/5

Maison Marie

380 -384 Upper Bukit Timah Road, The Rail Mall, Singapore 678040

Telephone: +65 6235 0661 (Bistrot)/+65 6235 3351 (Market)
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 10pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 6235 0661 (Bistrot)/+65 6235 3351 (Market)

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 10pm (Daily)
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