Cocotte – Cuisine Bourgeoise, A French Affair

25 04 2011

The use of interesting wordplay by eateries are becoming ever so prevalent nowadays. From the likes of Thai eatery Porn’s, Joo Chiat’s fine dining restaurant Private Affairs, and now Cocotte. Few people actually know what it means, but Cocotte has 2 meanings attached to it. First, it could mean “a small fireproof dish in which individual portions of food are cooked and served”. Alternatively, it also means “a prostitute or promiscuous woman”, apt wordplay given its location at the Wanderlust Hotel, a boutique hotel off Bugis and Little India.

Cocotte offers rather traditional French fare which I feel embodies the principles of cuisine bourgeoise, a style of french cooking associated with the middle class, as opposed to haute cuisine which places large emphasis on many small courses of elaborate preparations and presentations. Many of the dishes here such as the signature Poulet Roti (Organic Roast Chicken) are simple displays of French country cooking that is meant for communal sharing, and it really allows me to envision the scene of a tight knitted french family eating together and chatting loudly, where the platters of food are being passed around and across the dining table.

French dining is no hurried affair, with meals typically taking up to 2 to 3 hours from what I hear. Sadly, such a dining tradition is gradually being eroded here in Singapore and families are finding it a tall order nowadays just to have short dinners together, often opting to eat out instead of spending quality dining time with family given our busy schedules.

Cocotte offers a variety of set lunches. There’s a 3-Course Set Lunches for 1 pax @ $29++/pax, Set Lunches for 2 pax @ $35++/pax  and Set lunches for 4 pax @ $33++/pax. I would highly recommend going for the set lunches for 2 or 4 pax because they offer more choices with regards to the dishes available and also fits in with Cocotte’s concept of communal dining.

I didn’t like the warm complimentary bread here because it was hard as a stone.

I had no trouble seeing why the Fried Tripe is one of Cocotte’s signature appetizers. Coated with breadcrumbs and served with a tomato salsa, I throughly enjoyed the chewy yet tender texture of the tripe. Although we normally find cow’s stomach in our chinese-styled beef noodles, it’s really quite rare to find it in Singapore served otherwise. I remember eating an unforgettable spicy boiled tripe in Italy (sold at roadside stalls) and I’d imagine that fried tripe would taste awesome in hotdog buns as well!

The Rosette (cured Pork Sausage) was served in a platter with Olives, Salad and Mustard. It’s really not my cup of tea as the sausage and olives were too salty, though I do know that this is how it’s supposed to be.

I much preferred the Tomato & Pickled Anchovy Salad, with the salty anchovies and sweet peaches.

Pan-seared Chicken with Pine Nut, Mushroom & Port Cream, served with crushed Potatoes & Haricot Vert (a type of Green Bean). While the chicken was fabulous on its own, I had some problems with the sauce. It’s probably because of the Port which made the cream base slightly sweet, which I found hard getting used to. The sauce did complement the potatoes though.

Personally, I’d suggest going for the Beef Bourguignon, “Grass fed beef braised in red wine, served with sauteed mushrooms, pearl onions & roasted baby potatoes” as a main. It’s a classic french dish and Cocotte executed it perfectly, scoring higher points than the one I had at Bistro du Vin. If only there was some creamy mash or nice bread to mop up all the gravy.

For desserts, we had a Passionfruit Raspberry Cream Tart, which I found much too tart and overwhelming for my meek tastebuds.

Since it was Easter Weekend, Cocotte also had a special dessert consisting of an Almond Basket Biscuit with Chocolate Truffles & Marshmellows.

The Creme Brulee here is decent and infused with a nice coffee flavour. The custard might have been a tad too dense but still very enjoyable.

A couple of hits and misses but on the whole, the execution of the cooking was very competent. It does justice to traditional French cooking and I definitely wouldn’t mind returning soon to try out more of it’s signatures.

Bon Appetit!



TEL: +65 6298 1188

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