Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cocotte at Wanderlust Hotel

Read a glowing write up on Cocotte in the Straits Times Lifestyle section a while ago along with the 23456643 other people who saw the article. I think it was Wong Ah Yoke who wrote about it ? And the description of the the Cocotte chicken and how it is lovingly marinaded and cooked for 2 days (hence the limited supply). I was sold after reading about the chicken.

So many moons later, I finally make it down to Cocotte to sample their famous French chicken. Being the last minute people we are, we made a booking at the last minute (actually, we had wanted to try No Menu but being last-minute, there was NO space - Forlino is popular ++) and hence we settled for second choice at Cocotte. Which had space - just that we had to vacate the table by 830pm.
To start, mini French Baguettes with French butter which were nice and crusty on the outside and cottony soft on the inside. Good restaurant bread puts me in a good mood for dinner. In particular, I like the one from Bonta (winner of all restaurant breads - there's a lump of cream cheese hidden inside!) and from Otto (onion bread is fantabulous!) The fresh pear, macadamia nuts and blue cheese (or was it gorgonzola?) salad with a light lemon-olive oil dressing didn't quite hit the spot for me. I partially attribute it to the extreme bitterness of the greens. Though I did like the combination of crisp, juicy pear, creamy pungent cheese and macadamias.
The escargots come with a tomato coulis (fancy name for paste) which was tart and refreshing, as well as a ?basil sauce. Instead of being baked in the usual tray (that most escargots come in) with butter and garlic, these came in dainty choux pastries. The snails themselves were tender, moist and juicy though I won't get the appetisers here again. Passable but not spectacular.
The Chicken (fancy name is Poulet Roti) is only available for dinner and costs a whopping $60 for a full chicken. It's marinaded for 2 days and roasted. And it's no ordinary chicken - it's a hormone free chicken (I suppose they left out the 'injected' cos any live chicken cannot possibly be hormone free).
The meat is so soft, succulent and juicy, that even I, the one who does NOT eat chicken breast (cos I find it much coarser and drier than the lovely juicy thigh) ate the breast happily. The skin is roasted to a brown perfection (though it's not the crispy kind).
The presentation is really nice and I can just imagine how appetising a whole fat roasted chicken sitting on the wooden chopping board... but they've kindly catered to diners in smaller groups and this is the half chicken ($45++) which is meant for 2 people.
The rustic French coutryside vegetables (at least, that's how I imagine it to be, though I can't say for sure where these veggies come from) and the aromatic brown gravy. The roasted baby potatoes are seasoned with coarse sea salt, and the vegetables (asparagus, fennel, peas +++, carrots) are nicely roasted and a nice balance to the chicken.
It was at this point I started regretting ordering a starter because I was 1) getting full 2) really enjoying the chicken.
Though we were slightly full, I had to try the apple tart tartin ($21++, meant for 2 people) which was another of their signature dishces.
The Tart tartin is basically an upside down tart - it was served in a pan and flipped onto a plate at the table. The apples are caramelized into a sweet syrupy pulp but not too soft hence they're able to retain their shape. But bit into one and it will yield to the slightest pressure. The apples also have a nice dark red hue.
I particularly disliked their shortcrust pastry as it was thick and hard. Not very buttery either. Ended up not eating the tart at all. But the apples are delicious - especially when eaten with the creme fresh.
The strawberry pistachio tart ($11++) is a dainty dessert which had fresh strawberries stacked on a thin buttery cookie. The green stuff is actually pistachio paste. It's more elegant than the apple tart but I think if I had to choose between the two, it'll really be a tough fight.
Pink macaroons, with complements from the chef
The bill for all the food above was $135 nett - and we didn't take any drinks. I really cannot remember how much each of the dishes cost but I suppose if you really want to find out, you could either search the internet or call the restaurant.
The general consensus is that it's rather expensive, not the most accessible place (though they do provide free valet). Go for the mains and desserts. Starters we tried were less than impressive. Part of my dining expirence was marred due to a particularly large group in the adjacent table with young children. One of them kept shouting and crying throughout the later 3/4 of our meal which totally spoilt the ambienceD:<
Wanderlust hotel's waiting area is rather intersting and they have all these unique chairs - this one's made from a supermarket trolley (no wheels so you won't roll away) and there's even an old school barber's chair (think Sweeney Todd) in front.
2 Dickson Road,
Ground Level
Wanderlust Hotel
Tel: +65 6298 1188

1 comment:

Cavalock said...

they ran out of escargots and mussels when i was there but its a really nice place.