Les Artistes Bistrot is the more casual offering from Chef Nicolas Joanny, of Nicolas Le Restaurant. It's actually at Nicolas’ original premises, and Nicolas has moved a few doors down. We were very impressed with the set lunch that we had at Nicolas the last time, so we thought we’d give Les Artistes a try. (Do note that since then, Nicolas has raised their prices for their set lunch – it's no longer a super affordable $38 for 4 courses.)
The Les Artistes set lunch is $34 for 3 courses. I must say I’m quite impressed by the selection – you get at least 5 choices for each course. This also means a considerable amount of indecision because you feel like trying everything…
A went straight for the trout gravlax without hesitation. After much pondering, I decided on the rillette and terrine platter, only to feel slightly cheated when the amuse bouche arrived – it was rillette on toast! Hmph. The gravlax was a bit too raw for my liking, but the rillette and terrine were lovely.
A ordered the entrecote of beef with red wine reduction, which was topped with caramelised onions and served with a glass of potato puree. I expected this to be quite basic, and was very pleasantly surprised at how well executed it was, with the beef cooked perfectly. The potato was excellent as well.
I went for the Kurobuta pork cheek with penne in a porcini mushroom and thyme sauce. The pork tasted a lot better than it looked – I expected it to be quite dry, given the pieces were quite browned and rather thin, but it was melt-in-the-mouth tender and very flavourful from all the fat. The penne unfortunately fared less well. You definitely had to eat it together with the pork, because on its own it was a little tasteless.
For dessert, I went with the apple tarte tatin with cinnamon cream, and A had the caramelised banana. I actually found the cinnamon cream a tad overpowering, and preferred the dessert without it.
For an amuse bouche + 3 courses, this is very good value for money. Nicolas next door also has a set lunch - $42 for 3 courses and $52 for 4 courses. We walked by after lunch and peeked at the menu, which looked quite similar to the offerings at Les Artistes, so I wonder what could justify the slightly higher prices at Nicolas.
Awesome. Definitely worth it.
Les Artistes Bistrot
35 Keong Saik Road
Lunch: Monday to Friday: 12pm to 2pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday: 6.30pm to 10pm