Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Saturday of French – starting with Cocotte

Cream of cauliflower soup with garlic cream

In the middle of nowhere, on Dixon Road in Little India is Wanderlust – a cute, hip boutique hotel where you can dine at Cocotte. Cocotte is centred around communal dining (dishes can be ordered a la carte or for two, four or six people) where they serve rustic French cuisine in a charming dining area that makes you feel like you have walked into a villa in Provence.

We struggled to choose between some of their signature dishes like fried tripe or poulet roti and their specials and we ended up with a good combination of both.

frisée salad with bacon lardons and poached egg

For me, a cream of cauliflower soup and the fried tripe, and for D a frisée salad and venison. My cauliflower soup was silky and creamy and came with a drizzle of garlic infused cream. Just a hint of garlic in the cream meant that it that didn’t overpower the intense flavour of the cauliflower.

D’s starter was what he called a “healthy fry-up” – bacon lardons and a perfectly poached egg on a bed of crisp frisée lettuce dressed lightly in a vinaigrette.

Signature fried tripe with tomato salsa

My main course – Cocotte’s signature fried tripe – was slow-cooked until tender, and then crumbed and fried so it was super crispy outside. Served with a wedge of lemon and a fresh tomato salsa, I have to say that although I enjoyed it, I think it was mainly because of the crumbed deep-fried goodness. The flavour of the tripe was delicate and not too strong and the paprika in the crumb mixture added some lovely spice to the dish.

Bacon wrapped venison tenderloin with buttered peas

D’s venison tenderloin came wrapped in bacon, seared so that it was almost crispy on the outside but perfectly pink in the middle, with a citrus jus with a garlic purée and buttered peas and peral onions.

Cocotte is a wonderful retreat from the heat and chaos outside in Little India (which has its own appeal) and I’d be really interested to see how the place feels at night. The food is impressive – enough for us to want to return to see what else they have on offer, which is a big thing in Singapore, where there seems to be an abundance of new places opening recently.

Cocotte (ground floor of Wanderlust)
2 Dixon Road
Singapore
Tel: +65 6298 1188

Opening hours (closed Sundays)
Lunch:
Mondays to Saturdays 1200hrs – 1430hrs
Sundays 1200hrs – 1500hrs

Dinner:
Mondays to Thursdays 1830hrs – 2230hrs
Fridays to Saturdays 1830hrs – 2300hrs

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Mag’s Wine Kitchen

Pan-fried beef tenderloin with veal jus

From many of the cooking shows on TV, there seems to be a few basic principles of running a successful restaurant. Keep the menu limited, and do what you do well, use only the best ingredients, don’t forget your front of house and love your what you do.

Mag’s Wine Kitchen ticks all these boxes – with a smiley stamp and a gold star on each of them for good measure. Which is probably why it’s still around 15 years after it first opened its doors in 1996.

Creamy artichoke soup

Nestled in the quieter part of bustling Boat Quay, you walk in to this charming French bistro and are greeted by either Mag  herself, who has an uncanny knack of remembering faces and names, or Seth, her maitre d who has been there since Mag’s opened.

The kitchen is open for all to see, the menu small and focused on using the best seasonal ingredients that Mag travels to acquire – we once visited to have fresh umi – Japanese sea urchin that she had just purchased from a trip there, on top of chawanmushi – steamed egg custard – delicious.

Kurobuta pork chop with pineapple salsa

D and I visited during the Christmas period for a quiet lunch and had the two course set from the menu of the day. I had the artichoke soup and the beef tenderloin with a veal jus and D had the beef carpaccio and the kurobuta pork chop with a pineapple salsa.

The soup was fresh and light while creamy and warming at the same time, and the beef – oh my goodness – the most tender and tasty piece of meat I’ve had in a long time, perfectly cooked medium rare, perfectly seasoned and accompanied with velvety mash and roasted vegetables.

Wagyu beef carpaccio

D’s wagyu carpaccio came served wafer thin, with parmesan shavings and rocket and the kurobuta pork came with what tasted like a hoisin glaze and the meat was tender and moist – not an easy task for such a large cut of pork.

Mag’s also has an terrific wine selection to complement all her food, or if you just want to go in for a drink. What more could you ask for ?

Mag’s Wine Kitchen
86 Circular Road
Singapore
Tel: 64383836

Open:
Lunch Monday to Friday – 12noon to 2pm
Dinner Monday to Friday – 6pm to 10pm

Saturday 6pm to 10pm only (Closed for lunch)
Closed on Sunday