Last Updated: August 30, 2021
We meet again, Duxton. Home to date-night bars and award-winning restaurants, I found myself amidst the town crowd. Unfortunately, my visit was not for a drink with a lover or meal with friends, but rather, to check out the (fairly) new kid on the block, Marcy’s. Or should I say, new fish on the reef?
Perhaps a little context would come in handy. The striking hand-painted tentacles on the entrance provide a bit of a teaser about the restaurant’s speciality. Spot the cheeky cocktail glass too! In case you’re struggling to catch on the bait, Marcy’s is a modern seafood restaurant and intimate cocktail bar, all-in-one.
Entering the bistro was like walking into a sombre smoky sunset—dim yet resplendent. Oddly enough, the strategic mood-lighting amped up the anticipation for the gastronomic journey I was about to find myself on.
The partition within the establishment divides dining from drinking, with the bar on the left, and the restaurant on the right. The enchanting Victorian interior greets one with blood-red walls and furniture all around, easily convincing one of time travel to the 1600s, during the Baroque period.
Prior to my visit, I had been coming across plenty of reviews on social media by foodies and friends. Naturally, I expected to be one with the crowd and be served the bestselling Crab Toast (S$24) and Rigatoni (S$31). Strangely, our host Tong had other plans for the evening.
“Actually, you’re not going to be served any of those tonight.” Tong further explained that the Head Chef and himself planned an incredible lineup of clandestine seafood dishes that really encapsulates the mission of Marcy’s. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my dining experiences, it’s to place your trust in the chefs, for they know what’s fresh and best.
Marcy’s first opened its doors in January 2021, to provide the community of seafood lovers and cocktail enthusiasts a space of requiescence. Fast forward nine months later, Tong shared that certain dishes still held onto the underdog role, such as our first starter—Amberjack (S$25).
At first glance, it was no surprise that this was a dish that would taste as good as it looked. The vibrancy of the dish was pleasing to the eyes and the presentation was a playful take on elements many would appreciate.
Find fresh amberjack fish wrapped in the mesmerising kohlrabi (German turnip)—a translucent and deceivingly marbled vegetable, as you dig in. The fresh fish dumpling-lookalikes laid atop a bed of greens, plum tomatoes, avruga caviar and a lime, chilli and chive oil vinaigrette. Hands down, one of the most drool-worthy combinations.
One word: divine. All components came together more beautifully than the Beckham family. The crunch of the kohlrabi paired with the fresh amberjack, together with the cutting-edge vinaigrette and umami caviar, deserves all the time and money from patrons of Marcy’s.
The unassuming sauce? Insanely addictive. Each element on the plate held great integrity on its own but together, could start a revolution. Now, I’m not one to rave so early into a meal. Yet, this dish set the expectations for the night and will go down as a culinary experience worthy of unlocking a core memory close to my heart.
Next up, one I was told was the latest dish to make the menu at Marcy’s—Aged Bonito (S$25). Air-flown from the Kansai region of Japan, the five-day dry-aged whole fish is filleted in-house and grilled over the binchotan (Japanese grill).
The plate was handsomely served with their own rendition of Salsa Macha, a take on the Mexcian sauce with pistachio, chilli, orange segments, chive oil, and citrus relish. By now, I had come to one firm conclusion: the team at Marcy’s truly understand how sauces are pivotal accompaniments to seafood. Because so far, every sauce I’ve had leaves me speechless.
The main character, however, paled in comparison. The Bonito was a tad confusing with its contrasting game of textures boasting a charred skin-top and slightly under the fillet. Lucky for the fish, the sauce made up for its overhyped performance. Not so much of a Thank You, Next but perhaps a Call Me Maybe?.
The last dish was a surprising turn of events. The Secreto Iberico Pork ($44) graced us with its humble presence; our first and last meat dish. The vintage dinner plate reminded me of my time in London and was a homely touch. Yet, for a stellar cut of meat, the blue and yellow tones stripped the plate of its luxury. Oh well, moving on.
The binchotan-grilled cut was beautifully pink in the middle and was served with a housemade mole. I took the first bite neat. Trust me when I say this—it was above and beyond. Think melt-in-your-mouth goodness, a savoury charred exterior with a hint of zest from the lime. Ugh, I surrender!
The mole on one hand was passable, yet a miss for me. The hunky chunk of pork was so good on its own, it overshadowed its counterparts; a one-hit-wonder deserving of all the airtime it could get. The combination of the savoury brine with cacao, chocolate, and chilli was all too eccentric.
To finish, we had Marcy’s Pecan Pie Sundae (S$14). The generous portion of miso caramel, oat cookie crumbs, and pecan chunks made in-house, easily fed two. The components may seem simple but the housemade pecan chunks were the epitome of them all to showcase Marcy’s versatility. I’d pack bags of it home in a heartbeat if I could.
Unforgettably, a trip to Marcy’s is simply incomplete without a drink. The Oaxaca Old Fashioned (S$22) interestingly accompanied most males in the house that evening. Strong, sharp, and invigorating altogether, I’d say you can’t go wrong with such a classic.
Ladies, spunk it up and get your crown out with Gypsy Queen (S$23). The complex flavours of cardamom-infused Widges Gin and Rose Liqueur exude earthy notes that were bold yet revitalizing. While I personally enjoy a fruitier base, the adventurous choice was an exotic refresher for the night.
While I might skip on the drinks and bar hop over to neighbours, the pride and joy of Marcy’s go to their dignified surf and turf selection. For me, the Amberjack and Secreto Iberico Pork elevates your palate to gastronomical heights. I only wish there could be a wider range of sides. Perhaps a splash of vegetarian options or carbohydrates, to accompany the rich and indulgent seafood plates, as well as the addictive sauces.
In the name of novelty, I’d come back for more refreshing takes on seafood, meat, and citrus dressings. Better yet, I might just pack some home.
Expected damage: S$50 – S$75 per pax
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Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
39-40 Duxton Road, Singapore, 089503
39-40 Duxton Road, Singapore, 089503