Rating: ★★★☆☆

Address: 9 Shin Hing Street, Central 中環善慶街9號

Telephone: 2568 8857

http://cocotte.hk

Newly opened Cocotte (French word for “casserole”) has become a popular haunt for girly gatherings, thanks to its quaint, wallpapered interior which resembles a cosy, luxurious Parisian dining room. Opened by Hong Kong-based French brothers, Jonathan and Brice Moldovan, and helmed by chef Patrick Dang, this restaurant is an upscale “brasserie” which features a “less is more” philosophy and serves a selection of re-invented French classics.

There have been some media comments on the restaurant’s marketing materials, which misleadingly state that chef Patrick was the chef de cuisine of Amber, when in fact he was the chef de cuisine of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel kitchen as a whole from October 2005 to July 2006, during which he mainly worked at Amber – please see fellow blogger Diary of a Growing Boy‘s post on the matter here if you are interested.

Even though this eatery claims to be a “brasserie-inspired restaurant”, its price tag is certainly not brasserie-style and is more similar to that of a fine-dining establishment, and dinner typically costs around $600-$1,000 per head. The service is friendly and attentive, but the food quality is hit-and-miss, and dining experiences of customers tend to vary depending on the date of visit and what is ordered.

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(1) We start with the Langoustine Barely Touched ($258), a salad of barely cooked langoustines atop a bed of fresh salad leaves, decadently touched by some osetra caviar. The flavours of this dish are enticing, delicate and perfectly balanced.

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(2) Next, we share a hearty piece of Wagyu steak ($788) for two. The steak is beautifully fat marbled and has a delightful char grilled surface and inner tenderness, and comes with French fries and spinach and blue cheese gratin on the side. We are not a fan of the latter, as the spinach is oily and the taste of blue cheese is overwhelming.

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(3) We order two desserts to share, and the Valhrona Chocolate ($108) arrives first. The dark chocolate cake tastes rich and pleasant but is not mind-blowing, and I would prefer an icy scoop of ice cream to accompany the brownie than crème fraîche, which is rather heavy.

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(4) The Caramelised Pineapple ($108) is the better dessert of the two, and is delicately soft with a harmonious balance of sweetness and tartness. The yoghurt sorbet is light and enjoyable, but we find the roasted white chocolate a tad cloying.

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We adore the classy, chic ambience of this intimate restaurant. We only wish that over time, the food can live up to the splendour of the decor!