Merdandy Raffles Place: let's focus on the grub.

'It's a daily struggle, especially the part where we have to turn down guests who come in looking for an after-work tipple,' Alvin says, 'initially, it's heartbreaking, but after a while, it becomes normalcy.'

I hear you Alvin. 

Merdandy, Haji Lane's biggest player alongside the groovy Blue Jaz cafe has decided to venture out of its comfort hipster zone and don a business suit instead. Situated on Chulia street in the midst of Raffles Place, the 2nd outlet retains its too-cool-for-school alfresco settings, but ramps up the front in the food department with a more concrete menu. Unfortunately due to a certain sort of recklessness, the granting of the alcohol license has been severely delayed, hence a trip to the joint would mean giving your liver a lovely respite from the daily damage. I speak on my part mostly; but for one, I was glad to be able to savor the quality of bar grub in absolute clarity.

Mocktails are aplenty here, and obviously the best choice for the moment, and honestly they serve as really good coolants in this devastatingly hot weather. The Shirley Temple ($8.90) is a real thirst quencher - lime juice, sprite and grenadine syrup -  reminiscent of a classic poolside drink.

Turning conventional bar food around, the chicken chop gets reinvented with a wee bit of local fun injected in its trail. The Merdandy signature dish, Rendang Chicken ($20) promises a money back guarantee meal, but how does it really fare? A slab of moist and succulent chicken chop cooked on the grilled and slathered in a splashy, thick and robust rendang gravy - the result is something a tad too salty and heavy flavoured for my liking; that's where the buttery rice comes into play. My only wish is that the salad be dressed in something a little more citrusy to cut through the overall heaviness of the dish. 

Then there's the Crabmeat Pasta ($20), another crowd pleasing dish. Chilli and garlic punching up the delicate sweetness of the crabmeat lumps strewed through the pasta; the mandatory fresh basil providing fresh breathes throughout the dish. The pasta was a tad overcooked but then again, some probably would enjoy it that way. A straightforward dish that doesn't venture too far out of the box. 

The Pork Chop with Mashed Potato and Salad ($16) produces far more happiness than you'd expect from something that looks like it came out from a hawker western food stall. The appearance is deceptive. mushrooms jostled together with a cream sauce, gives color to the grilled pork chops which were surprisingly tender and flavoursome through and through, the dish getting better the more you eat it. Mashed potatoes are passable and serve as nothing more than a bed for the sturdy pork chops to lay their pretty heads upon. 

Note that during lunch, Merdandy offers a special lunch set that combines a trio of soup, main and drink for just $14.90. What a steal! Be patient, it would be awhile before the beer taps are free flowing at Merdandy. But for now, there's the affordable nosh to look forward to. 

Merdandy Raffles Place
67 Chulia Street
t: 6532 4532

Operating Hours:
Mon - Fri: 11am - 10pm
Sat: 2 30pm - 10pm

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