Getting lunch from the same restaurant every day has its perks: there’s no fuss; you have your own seat; the staff know you better than some of your closest friends. But it’s all too easy to slip into a rut when it comes to ordering. The owner of new French bistrot Camile Rue 200 has come up with a solution modelled on the Parisian brasseries of his hometown – thinking fresh.
At Camile Ghastine’s light and airy Street 200 eatery, the menu changes at least twice a week and only ingredients available at markets are used. Although the place only opened last month, it has already attracted a loyal following.
“My clients are people who are used to coming to my restaurant, so I want to change all the time to make them some different food,” Ghastine said.
As well as offering a regular roster of French dishes, Ghastine keeps things interesting with specials from around the world popping up on his small set menus.
When a friend and I visited earlier this week, the choices included Morrocan tajines and Peruvian huancaino sauce.
The restaurant, which has recently been renovated from an old Khmer-style eatery, is small but feels spacious with black and white walls and purple furnishings. It’s an intimate space for gossipy catch-ups and business lunches alike.
If the décor is smart but simple, the food is more polished – impeccably presented on sparkling white plates. A neat tomato pie appetiser got the proportion of tomato to cheese just right and came wrapped in crispy pastry.
Service is slick – no sooner had the last morsel of pastry touched my lips than the mains were dished up. The beef bourguignon looked and tasted fantastic, laid out across the plate and smothered in a rich red wine sauce. The mash was buttery and came mixed with herbs and shaped into large shells. On the lighter side, a chicken tajine was perfectly tender and sweet, speckled with dried raisins.
Feeling content, I was starting to regret ordering dessert when out came an almond-filled pear tart with such a fine balance of crunch and softness that it convinced even my savoury-only companion to take another bite. We’ll be back; especially if Ghastine keeps the prices this low – the biggest surprise of all was that the bill for the two of us came to $15 thanks to a generous 50 per cent discount for mentioning their Facebook post.
Camile Rue 200, #16 Street 200. Open from 11:30am until 2:30pm Monday to Thursday, 11:30am until 10pm on Friday and for dinner on special request. Tel: 086 216 200.