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L’Artiste is promising, exciting

Going out on Enterprise Road, you get to Rumbabvu Park on your right hand: where the horses and the gum trees are.

By le connoisseur

Up on the hill, among the tops of those gum trees is a lovely restaurant. It used to be called, obviously, Tree Top, but is now under new management and has changed its name to L’Artiste.

The new manager has a French-Italian approach, and is actually soon to be succeeded by a full-blooded Italian manageress.

As we seated ourselves inside the restaurant, overlooking the miniature-golf range on the tree-bedecked slopes of the hill, we admired the view over the lake.

The friendly waitress brought us our menus. It was immediately clear that from a standard family restaurant with steaks, chips etc, the new aim was to provide some fare that looks to offer other excitements to customers.

On the one hand the starters of calamari, haloumi, salads, some pasta and steaks and chops with various sauces seemed to be the continuation of Tree Top as it was.

However, on the other hand there were dishes such as osso bucco, eisbein, and a tagine of lamb shank with apricots.

Those new additions whetted my appetite and made me feel that the new direction taken by the restaurant is promising and exciting.

For starters we ordered crumbed calamari and haloumi. As main courses, we ordered a steak with blue-cheese sauce, as well as the tagine, which I found impossible to resist.

While we waited, we sipped a fruit juice and some spring water. Looking around us, we found the décor in the restaurant rather minimal, and hope and trust that under the new management this will be livened up.

Our starters were brought, served nicely on white plates, with sweet chilli sauce for the haloumi and a sauce for the calamari. They tasted fine and we enjoyed sharing them.

We also had a look at the wine list; and this was quite impressive, actually.

The main course was brought soon after we had polished off our starters.

The steak looked juicy and appetising, and the two baked potatoes in skin where elegantly presented. The lamb shank tagine, when put in front of me, was immense: I have not had the luck of being presented with such a generous lamb shank ever before, I think.

I dug in immediately, and the tomato and apricot sauce, well-spiced with cinnamon, cloves etc, was lovely.

The shank was perhaps a little overdone — as far as my preference for somewhat pink meat goes — but very good. The steak proved to be cooked exactly as required and the sauce was pleasant while the potatoes were lovely and creamy.

As if we were never going to be satisfied, we still felt we should ask for the dessert menu. After a little study we decided to go for the chocolate fondant and the tiramisu. These were brought soon, and looked great.

The fondant had not quite come off, in that the centre wasn’t the soft liquid consistency it should have been; but chocolate is chocolate and it tasted lovely. The tiramisu was very good with a nice mixture of biscuit, mascarpone, cream and liqueur. The coffees we had with it were good as well.

L’Artiste seems to be on the move to even greater heights than Tree Top used to reach. It is worth keeping it in our sights.

Family Restaurant
3 Plates
Expect to spend US$20 – US$30 per head
Rumbabvu Park, Enterprise Road, just past Gletwyn Road turnoff on the right

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