This dimly lit, cosy little French restaurant is one of the newer additions to the charming Duxton area. Once dotted with somewhat dodgy looking pubs and KTVs, this area is increasingly seeing more chill out cafes and nice restaurants mushrooming along its narrow lanes and cobblestone streets. Cafes like Group Therapy, The Plain, and The Pigeonhole (along Craig Road), and restaurants like L’Entrecote, Pasta Brava, BROTH, and Etna, call this place home.
La Maison Fatien (pronounced very similarly to ‘fa1 tien1’, which means ‘go crazy’ in Chinese, gosh!) has a fairly unassuming shop front, in muted pale green colours and a simple sign at the top. If not for the Europeans often seen sitting outside puffing out smoke and idyllically chatting in what seems like French, one might just walk right past it without taking any notice.
Upon entry, the restaurant gave off a cosy, authentic feel – from the rustic wood-based décor, to the old-school lighting, and it even had a French restaurant manager who went from table to table chatting with the guests. And of course, the menu is very French too.
French classics like foie gras, escargots, duck confit and beef bourguignon were all present. And since this place is known for the red wines from Burgundy, we had a carafe of one of the available types to go with our meal (I’ve unfortunately forgotten its name). I definitely won’t claim to have a discerning palate when it comes to wine, but I did think that the wine was thankfully not too sharp yet still rich and full bodied enough for my plebeian desires.
For starters, we had the Salade de Chevre Chaud (warm goat cheese salad), the Foie Gras Poële (with caramelized apple and raisin glaze), and the Escargots au Beurre D’ail (with garlic butter).
It’s surprising but out of these dishes, the Warm Goat Cheese Salad really stood out for us. The Foie Gras was rich and delightful, bursting with juices and flavour and was complemented really well by the caramelised apple. It is however, quite difficult to do a bad foie gras. The Escargots were pleasant, but somewhat forgettable. And as for the star appetizer – the warm, creamy and rich goat cheese paired with crunchy (also warm) baguettes and vinaigrette soaked mesclun leaves, was an amazing mix of different flavours and texture.
For our mains, we opted for the classics – Confit de Canard (duck confit), Cote de Porc “Charcutiere” (roast pork chop) and the special of the day, the Boeuf Bourguignon (braised beef in red wine). Overall, the dishes were pretty good and did reflect what they were going for, which was ‘classic, simply executed French fare’. And so they were – not quite stunning or fantastic, but reasonably tasty and satisfying.
The Boeuf Bourguignon was nice, with a tasty sauce that could only have resulted from braising beef in red wine for a long time, though I felt that the beef could have been more tender. Similarly for the pork chop and the duck confit (I had just a bite of each), the meat seemed a bit dry and slightly tough. Maybe I’m just picky, but I usually like meat to be plump and tender, with juices spilling out of into my mouth as I bite into it.
The potatoes Dauphinoise were really good though, smooth, silky and creamy. Perfect comfort food.
We shared a Profiteroles for dessert (as we were really rather full by then), which were quite delicious. Packed with creamy vanilla ice cream and smothered with rich chocolate sauce and sliced almonds, these gorgeous puffs were delights to bite into and savour.
Overall, I had a pretty good experience at the restaurant and would possibly return. Though, maybe not quite so soon as the menu is not that extensive and I do like to try new things unless what I’ve tried is really, really good.
But if you haven’t been there before, it’s a nice quaint place with good ambience and service, for an enjoyable, wine-filled evening with friends.
La Maison Fatien
76 Duxton Road
Tel: +65 6220 3822
Open 12.00pm to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 6.00pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.