Although we all appreciate a fancy meal once in a while, sometimes a simple cheese on toast is all we need. Whilst new French eatery Tartine does far better than your average cheese on toast, it demonstrates that simple, good quality ingredients make an excellent meal.
Tartine was opened by Arthur de Villepin, the ex French Prime Minister’s son and coincidentally a classmate of mine from university, together with Michelin-starred Chef Philippe Orrico of Upper Modern Bistro and On Dining. The two-storey restaurant celebrates la belle époque with simple yet sleek décor and cheeky watercolour prints adorning the walls and menus. The first of the two floors is the restaurant, whilst the upstairs terrace serves cocktails and wine until late.
Although the main focus of the menu is obviously on the tartines themselves, there are a number of other classic and not-so-classic French dishes to enjoy. We started with the pork rillettes du mans, which has got to be one of the best rillettes I’ve had to date. It was firstly a very generous portion, and had a beautiful taste and texture that went perfectly with the slightly acidic cornichons.
The black truffle sandwich, made with two thick slices of fluffy brioche, was hearty and comforting, though the bread to truffle ratio could have been evened out a little more…and I’m not suggesting thinner toast!
I loved the big eye tuna carpaccio with ponzu cream and white truffle oil, although I would have called it more of a ceviche than a carpaccio. The flavours were wonderfully light and fresh with the ponzu adding an interesting and satisfying tanginess.
A tartine is technically an open-faced sandwich with a variety of toppings. At Tartine, they use 100% leavened rye sourdough to make their versions, which are also low in sugar – that surely makes them healthier, meaning you can eat more of them, right?! The first tartine we tried was the lobster and homemade béchamel tartine, served with a coffee cup of lobster bisque on the side. We were recommended to pour a little of the bisque over the top, which helped to both moisten the bread and added a lovely comforting flavour to an already delicious tartine.
The crab and lemon aioli tartine topped with artichokes, sundried tomato and quail eggs was incredibly fresh and flavoursome, possibly even outshining the previous one.
My favourite of the three, however, was the goat’s cheese, roasted fig and Parma ham tartine, which was like summer on toast. Sweet figs paired with salty Parma ham is a tried and tested recipe that works every time; add to this some crumbled, creamy goat’s cheese, crisp rocket and aged balsamic and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Tartine even offers dessert tartines, of which we tried two. The berries and mascarpone tartine tasted delicious, yet the bread was a little heavy for the fruit, making it a little hard to eat. There is the option of leaving the bread out of it, which might have worked better.
We preferred the Nutella on brioche, topped with nuts, torched marshmallows and sprinkles. There’s something about eating food that looks like it’s made for a child that is instantly pleasing. Aside from that it obviously tasted good too!
Although it would undoubtedly be a good dinner destination too, Tartine does a great set lunch starting at $118 for two courses. What’s good is that you can each pick a couple of different dishes and share them. Tartine describes itself as “a slice of wonderful” and I wholeheartedly agree.
2-3/F, 38 Lyndhurst Terrace
Tel: +852 2808 0752