Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cocotte, Wanderlust Hotel

Tucked away in the mess that is Little India is Wanderlust, a quite-recently established boutique hotel. I had (sneakily) arranged for a mini getaway here for a night's stay - and indeed the artsy interior and setup of the 'capsule' rooms was an experience unlike any other: think Nespresso coffee machine, ipod speakers and a bathtub just by the door.


By the lobby is a French restaurant named Cocotte. Apparently this means:

cocotte [kəʊˈkɒt kə- (French) kɔkɔt]
1. (Cookery) a small fireproof dish in which individual portions of food are cooked and served
2. a prostitute or promiscuous woman
[from French, from nursery word for a hen, feminine of coq cock1]

I hope this restaurant takes its meaning and inspiration from the first definition above.

The restaurant itself is quite nicely laid out - it is actually meant to be a 'communal' dining concept, which we did not really engage in but hey.. we're all about the food here! (can I also declare my love for the blue checkered napkins)

Small french rolls were served as a complimentary starter (to what was to be an amazing meal). They had the texture and hardness of a baguette. Yum.

We decided on some escargot, being French and all. This was displayed as the day's special, and we were expecting the baked sort with garlic herb butter sauce in those holey dishes (ah, so presumptuous). So when we were presented with 6 mini escargot pies, we were a bit confused. Bear literally announced 'what the heck' aloud, but was soon emanating sighs of delight. These were really special - each escargot is burger-ed between puff pastry, with parsley cream and tomato coulis. How can escargot be eaten any other way now?!!?

Holy shitastic. That's all I need to say about this stellar Bouef Bourguignon. Generous portions of beef chunks, marinated overnight in red wine, coupled with pearl onions, carrots, mushrooms, bacon and garlic potatoes. And the sauce. The SAUCE. SAAUCCEEE. The sauce was really really magnificent - not overly winey like ours turned out to be, the beef stock was really prominent, every sip was DEEEEEEPPPP in flavour, and the beef was soooooo tender it feels like it has been stewed for days. Simple yet complex, perfectissimo.

I picked my main from the blackboard special of the day. This was a breaded veal escalope, with some garlicky potatoes and small balsamic-y salad. I usually don't go for deep fried breaded things as a main course but this was done very nicely. The breaded veal was nice and tender, and the crumb didn't fall all over the plate. Wasn't too overwhelming and oily as is usually the case for deep fried breaded things. This is one of those dishes that is just what it is - no complex flavours, no hidden subtleties.

Was rather expensive though - the mains were high $30s each, and the escargot was around $20. We were also charged $10 for a bottle of Fiji still water! Yikes. Regardless, the food here is awesome, and truly french.

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