I came across Artichoke thanks to a friend from work who organised a get together here. The restaurant is the brainchild of the chef Bjorn Shen who puts an Asian twist on Mediterranean food.

Ambience, Service and the Staff

Artichoke does online reservations two weeks out from the current date. They have some specific conditions and will hold onto a credit card number with an expectation that any cancellations or changes be communicated 12 hours before the date and time of the booking, or incur a charge. Alternatively, one can walk in.

Their online support is very helpful, and they are responsive over email.

Artichoke has a quirky casual atmosphere. As you enter, you’ll walk into an alfresco area that is in an area that could be described as a garden courtyard in the city. This is flanked on two sides by the indoor area which is a well lit and casually decorated with bright and bohemian colours.

On the day, we were celebrating a friend’s birthday and organised a table of eight indoors.

The thoroughly professional and efficient staff had us seated quickly, and we were served water immediately. Menus can be electronically accessed via a QR code.

The Food

Artichoke’s menu is designed for sharing. As a group of 8, we had the liberty of trying out a few different things. We ordered 3 bags of Turkish Bread, the Hummus with Mushrooms, the Babaganoush, the Burrata and Basturma, the Roasted Cauliflower Mandi, the Grilled Asparagus, the Syrian Skillet Eggs, the Squid Ink Couscous, the Fried Chicken, the Smoked Rump, Pork Jowl, and the 12 Hour Lamb Steak. This was all accompanied by a bottle of Casa Silva Merlot.

The starters came out quickly. The bread is served in little paper bags to trap the heat and freshness while keeping the bread soft and moist. The Hummus and the Babaganoush have a slight spiced twist that makes them quite unique. the Burrata and Basturma is a portion that is perhaps suited to 2 to 3 people and in hindsight, I would have ordered one more to go around. The quality of the Burrata is very decent. The roasted cauliflower is something that I would get all the time – it is particularly well one. The Syrian Skillet Eggs do not have any eggs; it is an eggplant dish (clearly stated in the menu description) and offers variety to a meat dominated mains selection. The squid ink couscous is served with mussels and is beautifully prepared. Both the pork jowl and the smoked rump and cooked to perfection; however, in spite of their high standards, they paled in comparison to the 12 hour lamb steak which was tender and served with a chickpea based.

The Price Point

Our bill came up to just under $425 for 8 people including alcohol. This is about $53 per person. If we discounted the alcohol, this would have been just under $350 for 8, or about $43 per person. It’s a bit pricey, but is an experience in the quality, variety and uniqueness of the food.

The Final Verdict

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Artichoke is a place that I have been to a few times, and is a place that I will continue to go back to. It’s a great place to share a casual meal with friends, meet up for drinks, hold a team-building dinner party, come out for brunch, or just stop by for coffee or a drink.

Address: 161 Middle Rd, Singapore 188978.
Phone Number: +65 6336 6949.

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