Saturday, April 11, 2009

Singapore - Les Artistes Bistrot by Nicolas

On this quick visit to Singapore, I relished the opportunity to visit Les Artistes Bistrot by Nicolas on Keong Saik Road. The first missed opportunity came and went given the very mixed reviews I saw. But on the back of Foodie-ah's recent review, I thought this place might be worth a visit. Do excuse the yellow tint in the photos (the lighting in the restaurant was a little too dark)

Being our first time, we went with the 3-course dinner menu. There is a good choice from the menu - about 6 to 8 items you can choose from per course. Between the 2 of us, we went for a different combination each so we could get a sampling of at least 6 dishes.

The freshly baked bread was perfect in its crusty exterior and chewy insides. With good Fench butter, what a great way to break into dinner. To make it even better, the duck rillette served on a soup spoon with some salami kept us happy while the chef worked on our orders.

We chose a starter of Seared Hotate Scallop served with tortellini of coriander, kaffir and saffron emulsion. The chef's emulsion was very good - creamy but without being heavy, with the hints of the different spices coming through. An al dente tortellini bitten into with the freshly seared scallop made for a good burst of flavours through the textures.
The other starter of Lobster Bisque served with a tortellini of blue prawn and basil foam was the winner for me. This rendition was rich in its flavours but not overly creamy or heavy and made fresh by the addition of finely chopped basil. The prawn tortellini was also brilliant, and if I was not paying attention, could have almost fooled me into thinking it was lobster! Even if not, it was very good.

So we were off to a good start.
Our mains did not disappoint - my lamb rack - at the recommendation of the Maitre D, was perfectly done. Not gamey, very tender, with a slightly charred outside, it was perfect in its execution and the accompaying mash was so smooth I was scraping the little glass for every last morsel.
B's 5-hour braised beef cheek infused with olive and sundried tomato tasted like it was braising for 5 hours. Very tender, but not mashy, with the collagen bits visible, you can feel your skin tightening with every bite (ok, I exaggerate). Although the sauce was not spectacular, the beefy juicy tenderness of the cheek was good enough to distract.
Desserts were surprisingly disappointing.

The traditional creme brulee infused with bourbon vanilla was ordinary and a little burnt - someone had too much fun with the blow torch.. The vanilla was a nice touch but not enough to salvage the main event from not being smooth nor eggy enough for me.

The home made ice cream nougat with almonds and honey was much better. A classic combination of flavours, I might have preferred my almonds roasted for a slightly more almondy flavour but it was a nice finish to the dinner even if not deserving of a "wow".

The food at Les Artistes is definitely very decent and its positioning of excellent value set meals in this climate should put it in a good position. After all, you can get a sampling of Nicolas' specials at his restaurant but at more affordable prices.

Les Artistes Bistrot by Nicolas
35 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089142
Tel: +65 62241501

No comments:

Post a Comment