Les Artistes Bistrot

We’re big fans of Chef Nicolas Joanny and were delighted to find out that he had opened a bistro in the premises of his former eponymous restaurant, Nicolas Le Restaurant, which has moved down the street to number 31. Joanny remains at Nicolas Le Restaurant, and has engaged fellow Frenchman Jean Rene Masson to helm Les Artistes. The bistro serves up authentic French fare, and is definitely value for money—a three‑course set dinner starts from $48 ($58 for four courses), while a lunch set is $34. The menu changes often too, so what you have at one visit may not be available the next time you come. We loved our starters of duck foie gras terrine with fig chutney, and seared scallops. The scallops were cooked just right—juicy and rare in the middle—while the saffron emulsion was equally successful. The terrine was delicious, livened by the sweetness of the chutney and port wine reduction. Next up were the roasted codfish and braised Kurobuta pork belly. The cod was roasted to perfection and drizzled with a carrot and cardamom emulsion that lifted the flavors marvelously. The pork belly was melt‑in‑your‑mouth magic—it was braised in red wine and glazed with a layer of honey and cumin that evoked an interesting melange of flavors. When we thought that things couldn’t get any better, the desserts arrived. The caramelized banana gave new meaning to the old banana split, while the traditional crème Brule was fluffy and light. Will we be back? Most definitely. This is surely one spot where you can indulge in some fine French fare without spending a bomb.