Tag Archives: bistro

La Maison Fatien

Delicious charcuterie plate at La Maison Fatien

Tucked away in Duxton road is La Maison Fatien. Serving French bistro classics like French onion soup and steak frites, the restaurant is cosy enough for an intimate dinner for two in the nooks and crannies (it’s in a renovated shophouse) with rooms that would also make it perfect for a group dinner. On our first visit, while we enjoyed the food, it seemed every part of the experience that night had its ups and downs.

The French onion soup was thin in consistency – usually the soup is thickened by cooking flour into the onions before the stock is added. Oddly, this made a difference to my enjoyment of the soup, despite it’s deliciously robust flavour.

The selection of cold meats on their charcuterie plate was also delicious. I get excited when a charcuterie plate offers me something I cannot find myself and this board had three of these – all tender and tasty – it was just a shame that the waiter could not actually tell me what each one was…

The steak for my main which I asked for medium rare came out a little too red even for me, although my experience with the French is that in general, they prefer their steak less cooked than most other nationalities. I’ll have to remember this the next time and order my steak medium.  The fries were excellent – hand cut, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and full of potatoe-y flavour rather than just deep-fried bland potatoes.

The service there is sketchy – they have a French maitre D who is excellent but the rest of the staff seemed intent on filling our wine glasses each time we had a sip, and managing to do it with such a lack of smiling that they looked downright annoyed to be working.

With new restaurants still cropping up all over Singapore, and with always-great French alternatives like Bistrot du Sommelier and Brasserie Gavroche, it would take a “sorry we are already fully booked” from these two for me to go back t0 Ma Maison Fatien. But at least I would go back !

La Maison Fatien
76 Duxton Road
Singapore
Tel: 6220 3822

Open:
Mon-Fri
12.00 – 2.30pm
6.30 – 10.30pm
Sat 6.00pm – 10.30pm
Closed Sundays


Beef Bourguignon

In the mood for comfort food, I made beef bourguignon the other day – a wonderfully rich stew of beef braised in red wine, with garlic, mushrooms, potatoes and pearl onions. This bistro favourite is adapted from Delia Smith.

Ingredients serves 4-6

  1. 250g streaky bacon, cut into lardons
  2. 1 kg chuck steak, cut into 2″ squares
  3. 1 medium onion, sliced
  4. 1 heaped tbl plain flour
  5. 425ml red Burgundy
  6. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 3 large potatoes, quartered
  10. 100g mushrooms quartered
  11. 350g shallots, whole, peeled
  12. Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Fry the lardons over high heat in a large, heavy-based casserole dish. Remove bacon and set aside
  2. Brown the chuck steak in batches in the rendered bacon fat. Remove from pan as they brown
  3. Add the onion to the pan and fry for a few minutes
  4. Add the flour to the onions and stir well
  5. Add the beef back to the pot, along with the Burgundy, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and bring to boil
  6. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours, until beef is tender
  7. Add the bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, shallots to the pan, season to taste and simmer for a further hour
  8. Serve with steamed green beans

Mag’s Wine Kitchen

Pan-fried beef tenderloin with veal jus

From many of the cooking shows on TV, there seems to be a few basic principles of running a successful restaurant. Keep the menu limited, and do what you do well, use only the best ingredients, don’t forget your front of house and love your what you do.

Mag’s Wine Kitchen ticks all these boxes – with a smiley stamp and a gold star on each of them for good measure. Which is probably why it’s still around 15 years after it first opened its doors in 1996.

Creamy artichoke soup

Nestled in the quieter part of bustling Boat Quay, you walk in to this charming French bistro and are greeted by either Mag  herself, who has an uncanny knack of remembering faces and names, or Seth, her maitre d who has been there since Mag’s opened.

The kitchen is open for all to see, the menu small and focused on using the best seasonal ingredients that Mag travels to acquire – we once visited to have fresh umi – Japanese sea urchin that she had just purchased from a trip there, on top of chawanmushi – steamed egg custard – delicious.

Kurobuta pork chop with pineapple salsa

D and I visited during the Christmas period for a quiet lunch and had the two course set from the menu of the day. I had the artichoke soup and the beef tenderloin with a veal jus and D had the beef carpaccio and the kurobuta pork chop with a pineapple salsa.

The soup was fresh and light while creamy and warming at the same time, and the beef – oh my goodness – the most tender and tasty piece of meat I’ve had in a long time, perfectly cooked medium rare, perfectly seasoned and accompanied with velvety mash and roasted vegetables.

Wagyu beef carpaccio

D’s wagyu carpaccio came served wafer thin, with parmesan shavings and rocket and the kurobuta pork came with what tasted like a hoisin glaze and the meat was tender and moist – not an easy task for such a large cut of pork.

Mag’s also has an terrific wine selection to complement all her food, or if you just want to go in for a drink. What more could you ask for ?

Mag’s Wine Kitchen
86 Circular Road
Singapore
Tel: 64383836

Open:
Lunch Monday to Friday – 12noon to 2pm
Dinner Monday to Friday – 6pm to 10pm

Saturday 6pm to 10pm only (Closed for lunch)
Closed on Sunday