After visiting Cocotte for dinner when it first opened a few months back, I went back to this lovely French brasserie-style restaurant to try out their new lunch menu, which they introduced just a couple of weeks ago. The menu is a straightforward compilation of tasty seasonal dishes, beautifully presented with choice ingredients, and well portioned to fill you just enough but not leave you bursting at the seams.
You can either opt for the Express Lunch (starter and main) for HK$ 168, or the three course Executive Lunch at HK$ 198, both include tea, coffee or a soft drink. There is certainly a plethora of choice when it comes to lunch menus in the Central and Soho areas, but this one really stands out in terms of the quality of food and the high level at which it is executed.
These two dishes are a light and refreshing way to start the meal. I’m not one to usually order a cold soup but this gazpacho is super refreshing, with a distinct bell pepper taste and I enjoyed the addition of whole cherry tomatoes for varying textures. The frisée salad is a simple dish with a perfectly poached egg and a grilled slice of baguette for extra crunch.
For something a bit more filling, the steak tartare has got to be my favorite starter of them all. Add as much as you want of the tangy and ever so slightly spicy tartare sauce, with a dollop of the egg white and caper mixture after mixing in the fresh egg yolk (or not!) into that wonderfully tasty beef. The salmon was under-seasoned for my liking, although those baby potatoes and horseradish cream on the side were a nice accompaniment.
On to the mains, whilst hand on my heart I loved every one of them, the star of the show has got to be the filet mignon. I’m not usually a fan of very lean cuts and usually opt for rib eye for an extra bit of taste, but this filet mignon was incredible – tender, tasty and perfectly cooked. I hope they never take it off the menu! Beware of those fries and béarnaise sauce, they’re dangerously addictive.
The codfish was also a fabulous dish, transporting you to the Mediterranean with perfectly cooked, large translucent flakes of codfish, moreish polenta disks (I have to try making those at home!!), and a really nice ratatouille.
The element that really stood out in the Red Label Chicken dish was that quinoa underneath it – who knew that quinoa could taste so bloody good! It throws the whole idea of quinoa being healthy out the window, but the way that Cocotte has mixed red and white quinoa with thick cut lardons, lentils and carrots really achieves a balanced flavour for this dish.
And finally for dessert, my top pick has to be the Crème Brûlée; the other desserts paled in comparison. A bright yellow, buttery, creamy yet not overly sweet pudding, perfectly torched to achieve that satisfying crack when you dig into it.
On the day that we visited, the restaurant was packed, so I’d recommend making a reservation. I must also note that I was invited to try out their lunch menu, and so was able to try pretty much everything, leaving me absolutely stuffed and impressed by the starters and the main courses, and that fabulous Crème Brûlée.
I hardly ever accept invitations to try a menu, and am careful to not fall into the trap of being served something superior to what everyone else is being served. However, all of the portions that I was served were regular portions, and exactly the same as was served to other tables. I also took great care to note what the guests were saying, and it seems everyone concurred; this is a sophisticated lunch menu at a great price – one that I will be treating myself to regularly.
Address: 9 Shin Hing Street, Central
Tel: +852 2568 8857