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PANDAN DREAMS’ ornaments take on a life of their own at Marcy’s

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Earlier this month, I paid a visit to seafood bistro Marcy’s to meet Sheryll Goh, the founder of object design studio PANDAN DREAMS, for dinner and to check out Bow or Butterfly. It is PANDAN DREAMs’ latest collection of whimsical sculptural ornaments, which will be on show at Marcy’s until 26 June 2022.

The first thing I noticed about looking at the collection’s objects was how…strange they made me feel. At first glance, their worm-like forms and gooey-looking textures both intrigued and confused me, especially as some of them coiled around a floral arrangement at the restaurant’s reception.

Stepping further into Marcy’s lavish, old world-style interior, Sheryll tells me more about her inspiration behind Bow or Butterfly, how the collection made its way to Marcy’s and what signature dishes we absolutely cannot miss.

Crossing Paths

Some may remember Goh as one of the co-hosts of Awkward Party, which Plural had a whale of a time attending back in 2020. Since then, she’s founded PANDAN DREAMS to “explore the humour and performativity of decorative objects.” Citing their unassuming nature, she adds, “I love that they can be adopted into interesting homes, dinner parties, and secret conversations that I’m not privy to.”

Goh cites serendipity and “the right timing” as the impetus behind her collaboration with Marcy’s owner Tong Hann. The two had attended junior college together, but it was not until they reconnected as adults that they discovered their mutual love for food, creating things, and throwing parties. 

A Closer Look

Playing with the motif of ribbons, Bow or Butterfly takes the form of playful ornaments adorning the floral arrangement at the front desk and the three recesses in the walls of the main dining room.

“I like that ribbons are elusive, flirtatious and just slightly out of our reach in some way,” Goh explains.

“It’s kinda like how we romanticise memories, isn’t it? Slightly blurred and rosy, fragments of a past that can’t be pinned down.” 

The sprawling, rose-toned floral arrangement almost looks like any other at first glance. But upon further inspection, you’ll see candy-pink squiggles looped around flowers. The squiggles’ sheen comes from Goh’s use of thermoplastic, which adds pops of glossy texture against crisp blossoms and leaves.

Over in the main dining room, three windowsills play home to Goh’s dynamic ornamental objects. The arrangement reminds me of a surrealist triptych and Goh’s inspiration, Disney’s Fantasia (1940) is evident here.

Curving, undulating, and bending, the objects appear poised to accompany the film’s classical score. I slowly grew fond of the ornaments throughout the evening, as their swaying poses made me view them as small, enchanted creatures with lives of their own. 

Telling me more about her technique, Goh shares that her process begins with shaping and giving form to chicken wire, before applying papier-mâché, paint, and sealant in layers.

Bow or Butterfly looks right at home in Marcy’s. The ornaments complement the restaurants’ walls, which boast an eclectic collection of framed paintings, posters, and memorabilia — some of which Marcy’s owner Tong Hann collected on his travels.

A Sumptuous Feast

As for the dishes, we couldn’t ask for anything more. Marcy’s menu excels with luscious seafood offerings, which come dressed with lip-smacking sauces you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Hints of serrano and orange uplift sweet, succulent Sakoshi oysters ($18 for 3, $33 for 6), which definitely whetted our appetites.

It’s amazing how each dish skilfully balances rich textures and flavours with hints of spice and acidity. Case in point: the red prawn aguachile ($24). A bright red and addictively piquant sauce coats fresh, raw prawns while the addition of burnt corn adds a satisfying crunch. Following this style is the amberjack tiradito ($26), which sees thick fish slices accompanied by decadent avruga caviar and crisp Sundream tomatoes.

The Kinkawooka mussels ($26) are also a must-try. Here, tender, pink mussels are doused in a buttery sauce of kimchi and sherry. We simply couldn’t help slurping up spoonfuls of the heavenly concoction.

The only thing we weren’t the biggest fans of was the Wagyu Tartare ($27). While its kimchi-kissed flavour might appeal to some, the large chunks of meat were occasionally difficult to chew.

We ended the meal on a high note with desserts like the Mango Calamansi Tart ($14) and the Treacle Tart ($14). Just like Goldilocks tasting porridge, I found these ‘just right’ as they weren’t tooth-achingly sweet nor tongue-numbingly sour.

We recommend you make a night out of heading to Marcy’s: get dressed to the nines, treat yourself to some sumptuous seafood and take the time to watch these unique ornaments come to life. 

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Bow or Butterfly is on show at Marcy’s until 26 June 2022. Click here to find out more.

Marcy’s is located at 39-40 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089503.

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