L’Artist restaurant (Tigne Street, Sliema) feels like you’ve walked into someone’s living room and demanded to be fed. Gone are the pretences; this is the unique Mediterranean ambience we love. Enveloped in Miro and Dali-like artwork, it can best be defined as cosy and welcoming, despite it being a stifling August evening.

The reputation of this restaurant precedes it and on hearing that meat is the way to go in here, I’m already dreaming about a juicy ribeye. The fact that I get told that the chef will love us when we order two rare ones just adds to the anticipation. I’m already impressed. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to taste what else they’re good at.

My friend and I order starters to share. The first, pictured below, is a Fritto di Mare. Light, fresh and coated very lightly in herbs, accompanied by a sweet chili sauce and a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar  – my only observation was that it consisted mainly of prawns, with a couple of calamari rings thrown in. And the chili sauce is probably of the store-bought variety. I can’t complain and I won’t. I salivate as I write, though.

The second starter is Gbenja en croute. This is described as “Fresh Maltese goat’s cheeselet topped with cherry tomato and basil, wrapped in filo pastry and oven baked”. They should have added that it is made with love.

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve been waiting for. Our ribeye steaks and grilled vegetables arrive (don’t forget you need to order these, the potatoes/salad/veg aren’t included in your meat dish automatically). I test the aubergine – the details are important. That test passed with flying colours. A good portion and some variety thrown in there too.

The pièce de résistance – a juicy ribeye cooked as requested (something that ought to happen more often, but doesn’t) with a touch of kosher salt and a slight heat I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Accompanied by a crisp Sancerre that was kept cool and perfect throughout. Pampered with friendly service and a couple of witty comments thrown in. Happiness.

Suitable for: a first date, a 158th date, an intimate night with a friend or a couple of your closest.

Prices: very reasonable for the quality of food and service that you get.

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