We scour the island’s restaurant scene to bring you the new and the noteworthy – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it! Here, ANTHIA CHNG checks out new fusion pop-up spot Meat Smith at Cocotte in Little India. It’s only there until the end of April so be sure to visit soon!
Modern smokehouse Meat Smith has teamed up with communal French dining house Cocotte to create an exclusive three-month-long pop up (February to April) at the quirky Wanderlust Hotel. Located on the ground floor of this boutique hotel, the casual dining space – previously home to the original incarnation of Cocotte – exudes a fun, youthful vibe. The design style here is retro-industrial, with light wood furniture offset by bright cushions with elephant prints and steel chairs.
Grub on these:
If you enjoy a menu with a wide array of dishes to choose from, this mightn’t be the place for you. But I belong to the other clan; the one-page list of dishes is modest and tight, suggesting that the kitchen will have complete control over the standard of each dish. We kicked things off with the onion bajji and smoked yoghurt ($6), a savoury starter that immediately had us hungry for more. Be sure to dip into the tangy yoghurt sauce, a brilliant complement to the crispy and flavourful battered onions.
Want something different? Try the crab and uni biryani ($25), which comes with fresh crab meat, quail eggs and dried rice puffs.; the addition of cucumber and coriander make this dish a great palate cleanser – the only gripe is its relatively small serving size. Up next was the homemade curry sausage ($8), a personal favourite of mine; it sounds simple – underwhelming, even – but the smoky curry flavour coupled with the firm bite of the meat make it a must-try.
When it comes to mains, I recommend the beef rib for two ($85), for all the right reasons: it’s a big portion of well-seasoned meat with a fall-off-the-bone tenderness. Bonus tip: the beef rib pairs extremely well with the cauliflower pilaf ($4), a fragrant, healthy(ish) side served warm, with plump raisins and freshly toasted almond slices.
While there were only two dessert items on the menu, both were spot-on. The mango sorbet ($7) arrived on a bed of tikha gathiya, a spicy Indian snack. Sweet, tangy and bursting with mango flavour, the fruity sorbet paired surprisingly well with the crunchy crackers. What was really off the charts, though, was the banana roti sundae ($8): caramelised bananas and sticky caramel sauce nestled atop chai masala ice cream – it simply can’t get any better than this. We also tried two cocktails, but I’d say stick to the smooth and fragrant marsala chai tea ($5), specially made in-house. Oh, and did I mention it’s free-flow?
Is Cocotte gone for good? Will the pop-up be extended? Nothing’s confirmed at the moment; in the meantime, Meat Smith at Cocotte has provided a breath of fresh air to the saturated F&B scene, and for that we can only be thankful.