Sometimes new restaurants, especially small ones, don't open to trumpets and fanfare or reviews in the papers, but get around (figuratively) through word of mouth. I'd been hearing about Le Bistrot for a month before it was reviewed, thanks to some good francophone friends.
Unfortunately Le Bistrot's location in Joo Chiat deterred me from trying it out for quite a while, as I'm somewhat opposed to any eatery that requires an expressway to get to.
Le Bistrot is pretty tiny, accomodating at most 20 diners. The small interior is matched by a small menu, two courses for $22, three for $36. You could also just order just the main course for $19, though that probably wouldn't be as economical.
There also some special items on the menu that are changed from time to time. The goose rillete was one of them. Somewhat dry, I felt, but pretty rich and flavourful nonetheless.
I've been a very happy diner since US prime was reintroduced in Singapore. The special for the main course that night was a prime rib-eye, which came at a $15 premium to the prix fixe. Nonetheless, it was pretty excellent, meltingly tender and robustly juicy.
The meat item on the regular menu is the rump steak, which the chef will not cook beyond medium rare, which is unusual for a steak, so expect your meat to be a bit bloody.
For dessert, I had the chocolate mousse, which I found a little too heavy; with not enough lift provided by the egg whites. I couldn't finish the whole thing, but that was partly due to the large rib-eye steak.
The dessert special was a chocolate-flavoured creme brulee. I know I've said creme brulee should be classical and just vanilla-flavoured, but I must admit this chocolate one was pretty good. I didn't like that the caramelised crust was so thick, though; I thought it detracted from the delicate chocolate custard underneath.
Service is truly excellent, our waiter was humourous, informative and attentive, simple qualities that are strangely so difficult to find in service staff. Ambience is cosy, if a little cramped, but location is where the restaurant suffers most. Joo Chiat is simply much too far away to warrant going back to on a regular basis. Of course, if you live nearby, that's not likely to be a problem.
451 Joo Chiat Road
#01-06 Breezeway Centre
Tel: 6447 0018
Service: 4.5/5 (I'd give 5, but I'm stingy that way)
Overall: French food on a decent budget.