The space that P. Bistro occupies has an interesting story.
Owner and pastry chef Tan Min Yee knows the space well because her father used to own a bicycle repair shop at the same spot.
When he gave up the shop, she took over. It's now a bistro.
Everything at P. Bistro, from decor to menu, is about simplicity, and that's the biggest charm.
The menu has simple bistro food - European, with a touch of Asian - cooked by Chef Ma Caiyi, Chef Tan's Shatec schoolmate. The desserts are French because Chef Tan studied at Le Cordon Bleu and Lenotre.
The service is simply superb.
On my unannounced return visit, my lunch companion decided against the garlic bread and wanted a plain bun with soup. The bistro had none, and we thought it was the end of that.
The service staff disappeared for a moment, returning soon in a sweaty state with plain buns.
I was so touched by his attentiveness, I insisted my friend finish the bread.
When the garlic bread ($5) was recommended, we thought, it's just garlic bread! But it is very crispy, with a coat of lovely garlic paste. The aroma and crunch of the bread made it work. It was not as crispy when I returned though.
The Thai Beef salad ($18) is grilled angus beef with lettuce and cucumber.
It's a simple dish with the appropriate elements, but I did not find it spectacular.
I like my pasta al dente, so I found it hard to appreciate the carbonara ($14). The sauce saved it slightly - it was mellow and not cloying. When I returned, the sauce was still the star because the pasta was still soggy.
The two times I ate the roast chicken with mushroom sauce ($16), the sauce differed. At the invited tasting, it was lovely - light, fragrant and it complemented the chicken.
When I returned, I found it too thick and it overwhelmed everything.
I was on a chocolate high after eating the chocolate tart ($4.50). It's 70 per cent chocolate and just so rich.
A good dessert can be so simple, yet effective. I recommend this after a lousy day at work.
WHAT: P. Bistro
WHERE:142 Owen Road (near Farrer Park MRT station, exit D.)
WHEN: Opens Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 10pm.