Les Bouchons is the casual neighbourhood bistro version of its sister restaurant L’Angelus. The branch that we went to is just up the road from L’Angelus, on Ann Siang Road, but they have recently opened a second branch – Les Bouchon Rive Gauche – at Robertson Quay, at what used to be River Café at the Tyler Print Institute.
While L’Angelus is more chi-chi and fine dining, Les Bouchons is decidedly more casual and friendly. It also has a very limited one-page menu, focusing solely on grilled steaks (with some perfunctory seafood thrown in).
I like the ambience here much more. It’s unintimidating, and there aren’t as many chi-chi folk and whiners to make us feel out of place. The young waitstaff are very polite, if just a tad all over the place, but that just serves to make me feel more at ease. A and I were pretty hungry on Friday night, and were up for a big hunka meat (heh), and we were in luck – when I called at 6.45 they still had a couple of tables available for the night. (Reservations recommended – while we were there, a family was turned away because they were fully booked).
We shared the terrine maison with pork and chicken liver. In a word – rustic. This wasn’t silky smooth or refined, but rather chunky and comforting. It wasn’t served with toast, but we had it with the complimentary bread rolls so that was ok.
We decided to take advantage of the fact that we were hungry, and ordered the Cote de Boeuf – a massive 1 kg prime rib on the bone for 2 persons. This was a pretty good piece of meat; sweet and flavourful, and well grilled. It was grilled on the bone, and apparently meat cooked on the bone is always tastier, because of the connective tissue that holds the meat to the bone. The meat was slightly unevenly cooked, with some parts almost medium and some were rare, even though we asked for medium rare, but all in all, it was a good steak. I can’t help but think that the entrecote steak that we had at L’Angelus on our first visit was still better though.
Every steak order comes with a free flow of home-made frites, as well as a house salad with mustard vinaigrette. These were no- frills fries, but some of the best I’ve had, and the salad was perfectly dressed, with each leaf coated with dressing. I would’ve have had more if I didn’t have the mound of meat to finish.
While the entrecote at L’Angelus (the first time anyway) is probably a more superior steak, I’ll probably head to Les Bouchons if I get another steak craving. Because of its ambience, L’Angelus is more of an event restaurant, whereas I’ll feel quite comfortable popping into Les Bouchons any day.
Like Iron Maiden in their prime, the rib RAWKED!
But unless you’re really hungry, it’s way too huge and you’ll probably get sick halfway through. The free-flow fries and salad are really good too. Plus as C forgot to mention, they give you a selection of 5 different kinds of condiments. I think I’ll stick with a mix of regular and whole-grain mustard for the meat, and the mayo for the fries. Rawking strong but not bitter coffee too.
7 Ann Siang Road
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12 to 2 pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday 7 – 10 pm