Cocotte describes itself as a ‘communal’ restaurant serving French classics. Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband wended their way to Little India to try out chef Anthony Yeoh’s approach to cooking which the restaurant’s website describes as rustic and unpretentious.

Despite visiting Singapore countless times, we’d never visited Little India before. Emerging from the local MRT station early on a Sunday evening, we headed for Buffalo Road and nothing short of chaos. The markets were still in full force and given the time of year, with various festivals running, the streets were jam-packed with predominantly young Indian men. Indeed, the ratio of men to women was at least 100-1. It was an extraordinary sight.

Navigating our way to the Wanderlust boutique hotel, we found Cocotte quite easily and sighed with relief at finding a relatively peaceful, cool spot. While the restaurant is communal, that seems to refer to the more Asian style of sharing from large dishes rather than the Australian take – that being sharing large tables. Not that there was any shortage of those.

Ordering a couple of beers, we quickly settled on some dishes. First up was a cepe mushroom and duck confit tart to share. Definitely rustic in its presentation, the flavour of this was quite delicious. The mushrooms and thyme dominated but the duck confit came in at the end. The pastry here was also quite crisp. A good start.
Cepe mushroom and duck confit tart

Cepe mushroom and duck confit tart

Next up, gluttonous husband took the red snapper. This was generously topped with prawns and mussels, sauteed in white wine and garlic butter. The plate also featured a watercress puree and roast fennel. While the prawns were slightly overcooked (turning a bit mushy) the rest of the dish was excellent. The puree and fennel were excellent accompaniments.
Red snapper and shellfish

The red snapper and shellfish was the dish of the night

Greedy Girl took the streak frites. This was a large serving – 300 grams of Cape Grim flat iron steak (from Tasmania) served with an onion confit, side salad and the fries.

steak frites

French sensibilities when it comes to cooking meat

Ordered medium, the steak came out more on the rare side – obviously the chef has French sensibilities when it comes to cooking meat. It was, however, soft and tender perfection with a beautiful flavour. The onion confit was a delightful addition and the fries were cooked perfectly – crisp and not at all greasy. The salad was a nice touch but the dressing was very strong. Greedy Girl ate half and handed over the rest of the plate to gluttonous husband – he who likes his steak served ‘blue’ was very pleased with the taste and texture of the meat.

French fries

Golden delights

We decided to share a dessert.While tempted momentarily by a tarte au citron, we opted for the bitter chocolate tart made from Valrhona Araguani 72% couverture. This chocolate is apparently made from ‘rare’ Venezuelan cocoa beans. According to the Valrhona Professionals website, this chocolate can be compared to fine wines with ‘high tannins and a long lasting finish on the palate’. The chocolate was undoubtedly very good but some of the power of the flavour was a bit diminished because it was served straight from a refrigerated cabinet. It needed to warm a fraction. The pastry on this also left a bit to be desired; it was a tad flabby, unlike the very crispy pastry we’d enjoyed with the mushroom tart.

Chocolate tart

Serious chocolate pedigree

Anyway, the chocolate and the raspberries were polished off promptly. We drained our drinks and headed for the exit.

Cocotte is certainly accomplished French cooking. It’s not a particularly inexpensive night out but a pleasant enough spot and certainly a beacon if you’re looking for western cuisine in this neighbourhood.


2 Dickson Road, Singapore

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