French cuisine is scaling my charts. Even without Italian's itch-hooking charms, I take jollies in dismantling those precise elements and witnessing how they click into masterpieces. The French have perfectionism in their blood, hard not to idolize.
One of dad's latest gesture was to date me for lunch at arty modern Les Artistes Bistrot, which sat mere metres away from its parent Nicholas Le Restaurant. A 3-course set lunch at $34++ offered upstanding seafood & meat options accounting for value.
Was this an amuse bouche? Well if it was.... then i certainly would have expected more complexity. Little Sesame & Parmesan puffs are too cute and tacky for credit.
Their bread belonged to the rustic bracket; slightly caramel-hued slices hinting of rye and sourdough origins.
Menu read Lobster Bisque & blue prawn ravioli. One ungarnished, bubble-crowned mug first arrived... conquered by dad before i could even say l-o-b-s-t-e-r-b-i-s-q-u-e.
"So how was the ravioli?"
"the blue prawn raviolis... nice?"
"huh? there's nothing inside."
Great. Dad swallowed an entire bowl of Lobster Bisque without raviolis, and had to start all over again when a replacement arrived lol. Thankfully (or not) their soup was considerably watered down, more like lobster broth than a cream-stiffened bisque. No crustacean chunks unearthed from it either.
Lesson learnt: Always check
for raviolis your soup before you zoom.
My appetizer was a Marinated Tasmanian Ocean Trout "Gravelax', lemon, kaffir lime and coriander, crispy crouton. Frankly speaking none of those bling blings came through. The trout was civilly natured- smooth and sparing on sodium, with three dill cream lashes forming the solitary flavor.
The Cod Fish 'Cote D'Azur style' on the other hand, was discernibly tasty. A well-seasoned medallion seared on both sides to form darling golden surfaces, placed over milky saffron froth. It worked great with the fish.
Should any of your prime choices be unavailable, the kitchen would offer alternative suggestions. Dad took on the Seared Beef Tenderloin with simple jus & fresh rosemary to make up for his coveted Kurobuta Pork Cheeks.
Our sides came in mini cast-iron pots, logically useful for heat conservation. One was fine tagliolini tossed with bacon and seductive butter action. The other a baffling ratatouille doused in strong indian spices.... completely unanticipated of french execution.
If not for Apple Tarte's hideous mono-color palette, she's one glitter babe. They cropped the apple into half & no more than that to prevent withering, then paired it with cinnamon cream and a saccharine pool.
I'm usually in favor of ending the meal with citrus acidity so i picked the Lemon Sorbet, sesame langue de chats. Man they went a little sugar overboard. The 2 lemony balls needed better sugar:acid balance.
I had two virtuous dishes of oily fish yay. Lunch on the whole wasn't disgruntling but didn't rock any mania. Do hope the kitchen is more mindful after that accidental ravioli carelessness...
Les Artistes Bistrot
13 Keong Saik Road