At the corner of Cluny Park and Bukit Timah roads is this row of shophouses which houses a supermarket, a cake shop, and a tiny bistro called La Cuisine.
It is tiny because it seats only 20 customers at one go, and it is tiny because, well, it is tiny.
Once you’ve pried open the louvered doors, which are jammed shut with a piece of cardboard because if they weren’t, the wind would blow them inwards and customers seated next to the doors might get smacked in the back of the head. Or the front of, depending on how they were seated… now, where was I?
Ah, yes. Once you open the doors and step in, the maitre d’ steps forward and picks up the little piece of cardboard from the floor and jams the door shut again. Not that he’s annoyed at you or anything, but you mumble oops sorry anyway.
Once seated, you marvel at the decor. It is never going to be minimalist because there’s so little space. But the walls are adorned with posters of Paris (as you would imagine), some Tolouse-Lautrec-like prints, and some of half and fully naked men, some of whom I recognize, because they’re French rugby players. If you were hungry enough you wouldn’t at all be perturbed by a poster of a nude Cristophe Dominici by your ear while you ate. So I wasn’t.
I was glad my fiancÃ©e said she was going to give me a treat by bringing me there to eat, because the moment the pan-seared foie gras arrived, it threatened to disintegrate, which is a good thing for foie gras, I am told.
The service staff were great considering there was only the maitre d’, someone behind the cashier, and two people dressed in chef’s clothes, though one was seated by the bar chatting 23 to the dozen with two other people who appeared to be diners. Must be friends of theirs.
The maitre d’ was another highlight not to be missed. Boy, was he efficient. There he was, unobtrusively by the bar (which really isn’t that far away because, did I mention the place was tiny?), watching eagle-eyed until you finish the last sliver of foie gras, which by now is almost liquid, then next thing you know, he’s right by you, clearing your dishes with nary a word. So quick. So French. Only. He’s. Not.
The mains were great, and you’d shout about them as you eat if you were so inclined to shout with your mouths full. I had the lamb while my fiancÃ©e had the beef.
Being the recalcitrant smokers that we were, we insisted on bringing our coffees and dessert outdoors, so the efficient French-like maitre d’ had to pry open the doors, holding them and the piece of cardboard while we adjourned to the newly legislated smoking area outside, which for a restaurant of this size, you would imagine to be very, very small.
But no matter. My fiancÃ©e sat on my lap while we smoked, sipped our coffees and mulled over how darn good dinner was.