PUBLISHED July 11th, 2012 03:48 pm | UPDATED March 28th, 2016 05:58 pm
It’s true you should never write off a restaurant due to one bad experience…and that is precisely why I decided to give La Maison Fatien another chance after a good French friend invited me there saying how much it had improved since our first experience a month after it opened.
I was extremely hesitant at first but after hearing about some of the restaurant’s growing pains, I concluded that another visit couldn’t hurt…..everyone deserves a second chance, and this is perhaps a prime example why it’s often better to give a restaurant some time before writing a review.
Anyway, as remembered from my previous visit, La Maison Fatien was beautiful. It is without a doubt, a stunning bistro. Everything from the traditional film posters in frames to the tables, chairs and lighting is done to perfection. The fact that it’s set over two stories of a shophouse on Duxton road just adds to the effect.
Sitting down at a table on the upper level, my dining partners and I ploughed through the menu deciding on what to order. In the end we settled for a proper three course session paired with a couple of their wines.
And what better way to get started than a red from La Maison Fatien (Pere et fils) vineyard in Burgundy.
Overall a very pleasant wine. Typical Burgundy lightness, notes of plum and raspberry…and a surprisingly long finish. Not bad at all for $68.
As we continued ‘sampling’ the wine, the first courses started to arrive…
Soupe gratinée à l’oignon ($12) aka French Onion Soup….Certainly much better than I remembered from the previous visit. This time, the onion broth was a little thicker and contained a lot more savoury goodness. And of course a couple of toasted baguette slices with perfectly melted emmental cheese.
As for the foie-gras poëlé ($18)
and Escargots au beurre d’ail ($12), whilst although not mind-blowing, they were decent and very reasonably priced for the serving.
At this point in the review, you may be wondering, ‘if the starters were only decent, why is this guy writing about it?’ The answer is because in the main courses and desserts, sparks of excellence began to fly.
Starting with Bar poëlé ($18) – This pan-seared seabass is served with braised leeks, crushed new potato and tomato basil fondue. Quality fish! Crispy skin, soft meat and the accompanying potato and veg complimented it nicely. For $18 – it was superb value.
Now being a Wednesday the cocotte du jour was Boeuf Bourgignon at ($26). Braised beef in red wine, served with sautéed mushroom, caramelized onion and a generous bowl of potato purée.
Simply a good standard – succulent, flavourful meat and veg in a homely thick stew-type sauce.
Nonetheless, what stole the show for me was the Souris d’agneau braise ($28). This braised lamb shank was excellent! Round the table, it was agreed this was the winner. It was everything a braised lamb shank should be. So soft the meat fell off the bone, tender and juicy in its red wine jus. The root vegetables and potato bed soaked up the sauce nicely.
Finally moving on to dessert, we selected two French dessert staples..
The Crème Brûlée ($10) and Profiteroles ($10).
Both were an excellent size and it took three of us to finish them all.
Whilst the profiteroles were quite good, they were totally out-shined by the creme brulee, which was DEE-LISH.
Simple and traditional in style, the vanilla essence came through beautifully and the caramel coating were just right.
While I will still not rate La Maison Fatien as one of the ‘best’ French eateries in Singapore, it definitely has some very tasty dishes on offer. The service and prices are also good…and of course the interior is stunning. I have to say, my second visit has resoundingly changed my mind and I would be happy to make a return visit in the future.
The concept is simple – good French Burgundy-style food at reasonable prices in a beautiful shophouse setting. It took some time to get there but La Maison Fatien is definitely somewhere to add to your hit-list for the future.