Cocotte Review: French Restaurant and Bar at Wanderlust Hotel

Cocotte is a restaurant and bar that serves French style cuisine. It is located at the lobby of the Wanderlust hotel. You can't help but wonder if you will be cheated of everything except your undies when you have sleazy names like Cocotte (French for prostitute which I only found out later), Wanderlust and Hotel 81 is just opposite of it. Wanderlust hotel is located at 2 Dickson place, making Bugis station the nearest train stop and quite a walk from there. The construction of the downtown line is taking place just right beside it so expect makeshift pavements and re-routed roads when going there.


http://restaurantcocotte.com/ (menu)
Call 62981188
2 Dickson Road, Singapore 209494

Wanderlust Hotel Lobby

Cocotte and the lobby of Wanderlust are one together. The bar area has some leather armchairs and old barber chairs. When you lean back on the barber chair, the back rest will push back and the leg rest will move up in tandem. I was feeling adventurous and leaned back on one. Next thing I knew, my body jerked in reflex as I had the falling rollercoaster feeling. That was fun. Looking around, I see that walls and floor has the raw cement look. No paint and no tiles.


Lighting consists are hanging spotlights, giving the overall ambiance a shady and chill out experience. There is mixture of both industrial and retro design here. There is a Foosball table right in the middle: a crowd magnet for both adults and kids. The cakes and dessert section is located at the further in. Even on a weekend, its rather quiet and half of the patrons are the hotel's guests.


Cocotte Menu

I headed to the dining area and waited a while before a staff attended to me. The menu is a simple brown piece of paper folded in half and has splotches of oil stains. The brunch menu is a separate white pull-out that offer a quick brunch set or a lazy brunch set that has more elaborate course. The selection of ingredient that makes up Cocotte dishes has a very strong french influence. You will find french terms littered throughout the descriptions: tomatoes provencal, creme fraiche, sherry vinaigrette, poulet. Have your phone ready to look those terms up as you try to make sense of your dish. You will learn a bit of France and its culture along the way.


Pan Fried Sea Bass - $14

I went for the sea bass because I love sea bass and there are not many places that serve them. When I sliced into the sea bass, the skin gave out a crispy crack and the meat inside is a juicy white. A fish is nicely done when moisture from within the meat flows out and this one is perfectly cooked. I mixed a piece of the sea bass with the tomato puree below and placed into my mouth. That's when I tasted heaven. The meat was tender, juicy and had a balanced of sea and tomato flavour. The meat melts in your mouth. I quickly tackled the remainder of the sea bass, swiping a cut of eggplant, zucchini (courgette) and French beans into my mouth every now and then. This sea bass must be eaten while its still warm and before it dried out. There was no time to lose. I was so quiet gobbling up the sea bass that Ellis was worried for a moment. I cleaned out the plate in ten minutes. Best $14++ spent ever.


The Big Plate - $24

Ellis ordered the big plate which has a variety of bites on the plate. There are creamy mushrooms, cheese crepe with bacon, salad. For the cheese that goes with the mini baguette, you can choose between artisanal brie and cantal cheese (wikipedia entry). Ellis took the artisanal brie which tasted hard and smelly to me. It tasted so bad but I couldn't help but slip one more bite in. As for the eggs, you get a choice of scrambled, French omelette style, fried or poached. On the plate before, what you are looking at the is the French omelette style. This style of omelette requires more skill to make. It is recognised by its pale exterior (no charring) and the egg is slightly underdone. You get an omelette that is fluffy and moist on the inside. If you are ordering this dish, you definitely want to go for the French style omelette. Overall, you get a good combination of flavour in one dish. The price is slightly higher than most breakfast dishes, which is usually around $15 to $20.


Valrhona Chocolate - $14

This huge mug of hot chocolate is so chocolaty, you feel like you are going to get a sore throat after drinking it. The small bowl of marshmallows that came with it melted and dissolved in the hot chocolate, making it even more frothy. Valrhona is the brand of a luxury chocolate maker which makes high grade chocolate. Making a cup of hot chocolate out of Valrhona chocolate is what justifies for the premium price here. To me, it tasted better than a cup of milo, with this being creamier and chocolaty sweet (vastly different from sugary sweet). If you have a sweet tooth and raring for a sore throat, this is your medicine.


Hitachino Nest Weizen beer - $13

Not seen here is my glass of Hitachino Nest Weizen beer which is refreshingly good. It a German styled white beer. The description on the menu describes it as cloudy beer with banana and clove like flavours. What this means to me is being a little sweet and spicy at the same time. It makes for a excellent drink on a hot afternoon after a terrific meal.

Summary

As I left the hotel, I took one look back. The design is one of a kind: a mix of modern and oriental. When the night falls, I can imagine neon colors lighting up the Wanderlust sign, making it hella sleazy. Cocotte's brazen naming and location still cracks me up as I am writing this. With its excellent French cooking, I know I will be back again one day.