Cotton Restaurant @ ECP – Grilled items done right

1 04 2014

A new restaurant called Cotton has recently taken root in East Coast Park, taking over the premises from 1-TwentySix. Interestingly, the name Cotton was given because of the resident cotton tree that grows at the entrance of the restaurant. The facade of the new establishment looks similar to 1-TwentySix and boosts a similar laidback vibe as well, with an al fresco dining area, a stage for the live band and an outdoor bar area but one of the key changes is that the indoor dining area will be converted into a cocktail bar after the ongoing renovations is completed.

Cotton serves European cuisine with a hint of Asian influence, with its char grilled items being a distinctive strength. While it is known more as a dinner and post-dinner drinks place, the restaurant has also started offering a weekend brunch menu as well.

Al fresco dining area

Outdoor bar area

I was here on invitation with XL from the4moose and WS from cafehoppingSG. We kicked off the tasting with some of the restaurant’s signature cocktails and mocktails.

XL had a cocktail named Jar of Heart ($18++), made from a combination of Whisky Sour (Whisky, Lemon juice and Sugar and Egg white), Amaretto (a type of Almond-based Italian liqueur) and Mixed Berries. Suffering from a bad ulcer, I opted for a mocktail instead. This uncharacteristic move was a blessing in disguise as I managed to sample the Superstar ($16++), made from a mix of Watermelon, Apple, Cranberry Juices with a dash of Melon syrup. It’s an awesome drink for a warm summer evening, especially with the refreshing taste of watermelon juice. If you have a preference for mango, try the Anita ($16++), a mocktail made from fruit punch, mango juice, grenadine (a pomegranate flavored syrup) and lychee.

Jar of Heart

While I’m not a fan of tuna in general, the Maguro Tuna Nicoise ($22++), which is a mix of French Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Quail Eggs, Potatoes & seared Tuna, left XL with a positive impression. It did however, come across as slightly pricey compared to the other items on the menu.

Taste-wise and value-wise, I much preferred the Vongole ($20++), a hearty bowl of clams with a dash of white wine and basil served with  a Toasted Baguette & Tomato Salsa. Definitely one of the better renditions around, the bittersweet gravy was rich and robust with the clams not overcooked, retaining a nice gelatinous texture.

For mains, the New Zealand Rack of Lamb ($38++) was strongly recommended by the staff and it wasn’t difficult to see why. It was one of the most succulent lamb racks I have had and I was surprised to find no areas being dried out from the grilling. Diners can choose from 4 different sauces (Wild Mushroom, Bordelaise, Lemon Garlic Butter or Pink Peppercorn) to accompany the grilled meats and I would highly suggest the Pink Peppercorn, which is milder than the usual Black Pepper Sauce and allows for greater appreciation of the natural flavours from the lamb. Incidentally, pink peppercorn is not technically a peppercorn but dried berries that come from a different plant.

What I really liked about the Whole Market Fresh Red Snapper ($32++) was that despite being served whole, the meat peeled off the bone easily and cleanly. We were told that the fish is sourced daily from the markets, providing greater assurance of its freshness, which came evident with the taste and texture. At this price point for a roughly 600g fish by my estimates, this is really quite a steal.

The Angel Hair Pasta with King Tiger Prawns, Smoked Sea Urchin Butter, Ebi Sakura & Vine Tomatoes ($38++) on the other hand, was less impressive. The pasta was a tad dry and lacking any hints of Sea Urchin. On the bright side, the king tiger prawns were quite sizable with a nice char.

For desserts, we had the Mango Panna Cotta, the Warm Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream and the Profiteroles ($14++ each). They weren’t bad but neither were they great, each falling short in a certain aspect. For example, I liked the ice cream in the profiterole but the choux pastry wasn’t airy and crisp enough, I liked the balanced sweet and tangy flavours from the mango panna cotta but the biscuit base lacked butteriness, while the chocolate fondant was spongy throughout instead of having a crisp outer layer.

Overall, I found the experience at Cotton to be a step up from its predecessor 1-TwentySix, mainly due to the adept execution of the char grilled dishes. The restaurant is still in the midst of fine-tuning their menu offerings and I’m looking forward to drop by again once the dust has settled.

Special thanks to Cotton for the invitation.

Cotton Restaurant

902 East Coast Parkway, #01-26 Big Splash

Tel: +65 6348 2126


Hosted on the Patio – Another Place Great for Dates and Birthdays

15 01 2012

Just last week, a bunch of us celebrated MZ’s 21st birthday at Hosted on the Patio. I realize now that I should have taken some pics of the setting and surroundings because it’s really an ideal place to host birthdays and go on dates. Actually, almost all the customers here that night were couples yearning a relaxed quiet evening out. The ambience is a mix of Timbre @ Old School and Artichoke Cafe (along Queens Street), and a live band played for the enjoyment of al fresco diners (it was a Saturday if I’m not mistaken).

Food was generally decent (though not astounding) but service was really sluggish and we waited around half an hour for the food, probably because the kitchen isn’t equipped to handle large orders at one go.

As an appetizer, the Atlantic Crab Salad ($16++) comes highly recommended. Chunks of briny crab meat is tossed with crisp salad, cherry tomatoes and sweet orange citrus segments, all dressed in a tangy tomato syrup. The myriad of light flavours works for the dish and the plethora of colours is appealing. The serving is generous and can be shared between 3 people.

I had high expectations for the Honey Bourbon Ribs ($26++) but was left slightly disappointed as the beef rib was not as succulent as what I remember it to be as when I had it in other places (I fondly recall my first brush with beef ribs at Brewerkz).  On the other hand, the marinate was ok and the thick cut fries were awesome.

My favourite main tonight was definitely the Smoked Duck Linguini ($24++). While the sauce is supposed to be a fragrant rose sauce (I’m thinking rose as in the wine and not the flower), only trace amounts of rose was used and the sauce was more or less a blend between cream and tomato base, which worked out just as well, appealing to people who find the usual tomato base too tangy and the usual cream base too cloying. The Wood Smoked French Duck Breast, Asparagus and Mushrooms is nestled on firm Linguini Pasta (just how I like it), and plays along with the pasta’s gentle symphony.

I have had better Capellini Nero ($28++), better known as Squid Ink Angel Hair Pasta elsewhere. The angel hair pasta tossed with fresh prawns, crab meat and roasted tomatoes come across as a little dry for my liking though I would say the flavours are intact.

Didn’t manage to try the other Mains such as the Beef Scallopini ($28++) which is described as “Tender Escalopes of Beef Tenderloin pan seared and deglazed with Marsala and Cream with Roasted Potatoes and Porcini Mushrooms” on the menu.

Chilean Cod & Slipper Lobster ($32++). Described as “Duo of Grilled Cod and Slipper Lobster accompanied with Tomato Jam and Onion Glaze in a crisp white wine butter sauce with vegetables on the side”.

Braised Lamb Shank ($24++). Described as “Slow Braised Lamb Fore Shank nestled on Mint Scent Risotto, draped with Roasted Onion, Tomato Red Wine Sauce and drizzled with Lemon Parsley Oil” on the menu. MZ thought it was just so-so.

Given the reasonable prices of the Mains here, the Desserts seem relatively overpriced, unjustified by its run of the mill standards. The Molten Dark Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ($14++) is pleasantly average.

I didn’t like the Green Tea Creme Brulee with Almond Biscotti ($12++) as I found the creme brulee too dense that it feels more oversteamed eggy than creamy. I also felt that the caramel was overseared, resulting in an unpleasant overly charred taste.

Hosted on the Patio does some dishes well but in general, the main draw of this place is simply the laid back ambience not available in the heart of town.

Bon Appetit!

Hosted on the Patio

991B Alexandra Road, #01-10

Tel: +65 6276 7337

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