|The all-new Audace at Cocotte Hotel|
It’s amazing how almost seven years have passed with the blink of an eye and just before Wanderlust Hotel celebrates its seventh birthday, its rustic French brasserie Cocotte hit its seven-year itch with the departure of head chef, Anthony Yeoh, and the arrival of French native, Jérémy Gillon, just in time for the opening of the newly rebranded all-day diner, Audace.
Occupying the entire grounds, as well as all the fittings, of the former Cocotte, Audace aims to serve modern “bistronomy” under the watchful eyes of Gillon, who hails from Le Montana in the French Alps where he was executive chef of a trio of restaurants including the one-starred L’Epicurien.
To set itself apart from Cocotte’s more rustic approach, Audace attempts to take on “bistronomy” with contemporary gusto. Instead of all-time brassiere favourites like steak frites, steak tartare, poulet roti and sole meuniere, Gillon dishes up a European-inspired menu featuring a combination of imported and Tekka market-sourced ingredients.
Diners may choose to have the a la carte menu or the sets. At dinner, the restaurant offers two sets priced at S$68++ for four courses and S$98++ for six courses; both sets are a subset of the a la carte menu and diners are not afforded a choice.
If I were you, I would go for the a la carte.
One of my favourite dishes is the braised octopus (S$19++). Seared until beautifully charred, it arrives with a stalk of charred spring onion and an onion salad consisting of onion puree and onion petals alongside roasted hazelnut and basil oil.
The prawn risotto (S$18++) is also a winner. Fresh off the pan from a sear, the prawn is served on a bed of light risotto encircled by a puddle of basil pesto infused with prawn oil.
Out of thirteen dishes offered on the a la carte, three are fish dishes. And of the two we’ve had, the baked barramundi (S$26++) stands out for its blissful marriage with pan-puffed baby corn and the accompanying sweet corn cream with a leaf of sage.
If chicken is on your radar, Gillon’s succulent slow-cooked chicken with spinach wasabi coulis, sweet peas, green apple salad and kang kong (S$25++) passes muster. If only the wasabi steps out of the coulis to gain some nose-stinging prominence, this dish could muster a potential win.
Desserts are currently not the menu’s strong suit.
The jumbo-sized macaron (S$11++), which by design is a mess to eat, is overwhelmed by a generous spread of black Colombian coffee jelly and speculoos cream. It has to be said that the macaron shell is also more firm than crisp.
The sweet of poached pear (S$13++) may also require some tweaking. While great on its own or with pear sorbet, it makes for an odd bedfellow when paired with green curry and white chocolate.
Still, if you overlook the weak ending, there are some well executed flavours to be found on the a la carte. One only wish that Gillon could step out of his safety net and take calculated risks with the flavour design in his savoury dishes for, after all, isn’t Audace named for audacity?
Wanderlust Hotel, 2 Dickson Road | +65-6298 1188 | wanderlust hotel.com
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.