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Chic-ken at Cocotte

Tracy Borman discovers a French eatery that plans to truffle a few feathers (and chips, mash and more) with its elevated take on the humble fowl.

So, the concept is simple: chicken – served whole, half or quarter – with a range of different

sides. Sound familiar? If you’re thinking of a certain well-known high street chain that

starts with ‘N’ and ends with peri peri sauce, then think again. Cocotte is about as far from

that as Claude Monet is from painting by numbers.

For a start, it’s French – genuinely so. The chickens (all free-range) are sourced from the Pays de la Loire; the sides and other dishes have an unmistakable French feel, with truffles being a particularly prominent ingredient; and the Tracy Borman discovers a French eatery that plans to truffle a few feathers (and chips, mash and more) with its elevated take on the humble fowl.

wine list is as ‘beautifully curated’ as the website claims. The décor is also reminiscent of an unpretentious but excellent bistro, with tables and items from the menu picked out in gold lettering on the windows.

My husband and I visited the Parson’s Green restaurant, but there are also branches in Notting Hill, Shoreditch and Queen’s Park. Because of restrictions, it was outdoor dining only but the warm welcome from the friendly staff more than offset the distinctly chilly evening. We started with a glass of the crisp and perfectly chilled Picpoul de Pinet while perusing the menu. There was an enticing array of starters, sides and salads, as well as plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. We chose two varieties of croquettes (foie gras/mushroom and ham/cheese), both of which came with a perfectly matched dipping sauce and were absolutely divine – light, crisp and creamy.

It would have seemed rude not to go with chicken for the main, and from the extensive selection of accompanying sauces we went for tarragon and mustard and truffle mayonnaise. While this was all delicious, the star of the show were the sides: roasted root vegetables, truffle mash, ratatouille and sweet potato fries. OK, so we over-ordered slightly but everything was so tastebud-tinglingly good that hardly a crumb was left on our plates by the end. My only regret is that we were unable to do justice to a dessert because they, too, promised great things.

Cocotte is open all day, so if you fancy treating yourself to breakfast or brunch, there is plenty of choice: from the traditional sausage and egg muffin to truffle croque monsieur or an array of sweet treats. The lunch menu is just as tempting, or if you’re in a hurry there’s a range of organic coffees to go.

I think it’s always a sign of a good restaurant when on the train home I’m already planning what to have next time. The train had only just pulled out of Parson’s Green station when I was busy pondering whether to go for breakfast, brunch, lunch...or all three.

Cocotte, 271 New Kings Road, London SW6 4RD

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