There are times in life when you can’t help but feel that you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Hyping up New Years Eve is one; getting excited about British sporting hopes is another; and eating at Cocotte is a third. We made the mistake of visiting Cocotte a few months ago, and made it again on Friday night. To be clear, our motivations were pure. Visit numero uno was driven by the intention to try the creme brûlée, which was unfortunately unavailable. Thus, visit numero due was driven by the desire for brûlée-style redemption; we even made a point to check that they were serving it before sitting down. They were, we did, and that’s where that all-too-familiar sense of Cocotte-inspired disappointment began…
The creme brûlée (SGD 8.00) looked promising from the top, and had a sturdy enough glaze to warrant spending an enjoyable few seconds chip chip chipping away at it. The problem lay with what was underneath. Rather than a velvety-soft vanilla filling that radiated warmth and comfort through its luxuriant, creamy texture and hue, we were instead treated to something the colour of a Chinese auntie’s tattooed eyebrows. Yes, it was green.
Green! What a slap in the face. To make matters worse, the taste had little correlation with the colour. Pandan, we thought; green tea, maybe? A slight bitterness, barely perceptible. But no, it was actually pistachio. Pistachio! Who would have guessed. Well I suppose the colour did sort of give the game away, but the flavour did anything but. Amaretto maybe, but it was a real struggle to recognise the relative saltiness of pistachio over almond or any other type of nut. To this moment, I still think that green tea is the most accurate descriptor.
But then again, all this discussion is mere smoke and mirrors. It doesn’t hide the fact that this was a disappointing and failed attempt to redefine the classic creme brûlée. A bold move in itself; one that should not be undertaken lightly. Creme de cocotte (in the classic sense of the word), yes. But creme brûlée? No, absolutely coc-notte.
Now carrot cake (SGD 9.00) is a perennial favourite of mine, so choosing this from the dessert and pastry counter was a high-stakes move. A high stakes move that didn’t really pay off. A lot like “The Fat Elvis” that we tried last time, this thing was big and dry and really quite tasteless. It seemed stale, like it had been left out for too long (just look at that fault line in the frosting!). Speaking of which, the frosting tasted like sweet and watery butter. There were some saccharine-sweet sugared walnuts on top and a layer of raisins just below the frosting, but all in all this thing lacked verve. The flavours were flat and one-dimensional (sweet and… sweet?), and I couldn’t help but feel that a little cinnamon (or even just carrot) would have gone a long way. My recommendation for anyone looking for a decent piece of gâteau aux carottes would be to do yourself a favour and make one (or two, or probably three for the price) yourself at home. Next time, I most certainly will.
2 Dickson Road (located inside the Wanderlust Hotel)
Open 12:00-14:00 & 18:00-22:00 Monday & Wednesday-Friday; 12:00-17:00 & 18:00-22:00 Saturday-Sunday; CLOSED Tuesday