It is not everyday that you get to enjoy a good selection of restaurant grade delicacies at a hawker centre stall. Therefore when my friend Han Lim suggested that we make a trip down to Commonwealth Crescent Market for some delectable Japanese dishes at hawker centre prices, I was game for a visit. Coocci Contemporary Japanese is located at the food centre on the 2nd floor of the Commonwealth Crescent Market. Its presence amongst the rest of the hawker stores will definitely catch your attention. A grand total of 7 unique dishes are presented on the menu for diners to try, and with the prices for each ranging from $5-$7.50, it seemed almost a no brainer to order everything to share. And it’s great that most of them are well executed for the price.
I highly recommend ordering the Tortellini of Chicken ($5 for 6 pieces, or 3 piece with somen). Each piece was beautifully crafted with generous fillings within. Take a bite and revel in the sweet savoury chicken filling that is a mix of chicken thigh, thick cream and egg white. Next, indulge in the chicken broth that is perfumed with Jasmine tea. Fantastic.
The next favourite is the Soboro Don ($5). Served in a hot pot, the entire dish was kept warm throughout the meal. The dish is prepared with multiple layers. A base of rice forms the first layer, topped with eggs, and then a ground chicken thigh topping prepared with soy sauce, mirin and sake. The entire dish is then finished with layers of kimchee. An intensely savoury dish with the seductive flavour of sweet salty mirin. The kimchee lends a sweet tangy crunch and best enjoyed together with a portion of hot rice, egg, and meat. We didn’t mix the dish as recommended before serve, but when enjoyed separately, is just as great.
The Spicy Fettuccine ($5) was pretty decent with very generous ingredients served alongside a portion of crisp fettucine. The dish is inspired by the traditional Italian Bolognese, and instead of using beef and pork, uses meat from minced chicken leg. The tomato based sauce is then sauteed with blended pomodori and spicy olive oil before the pasta is added and cooked over a low fire before serve. The portion of meat sauce is well balanced with the fettucine, and leaves a warm satisfying sensation after each bite. Great to fill tummies!
The Chicken Roulade ($5) is one of the most unique dishes that requires quite a bit of work to prepare. A portion of chicken thigh is sliced thinly and wrapped around a serving of minced chicken mixed with leek, ohba leaves and egg yolk, and rolled tightly. The chicken roulade is then steamed and quickly scorched before serve. The portion is then served with somen presented in a rich chicken stock which is double boiled with pumpkin. The broth is uniquely the dish’s selling point as it is chicken savoury with a nutty pumpkin sweetness that is addictive in every sip. Have that with the fine somen, for a refreshing experience through and through.
I was quite undecided on the Tori-Kare Udon ($5) as while simply yet exquisitely presented, was a little lacklustre in flavour and thin for my liking. Simple and sweet Japanese curry made with root vegetables is served with a portion of udon.
Tori Nanban ($6)
The Smoked Chicken ($7.50) is prepared daily, charcoal grilled and smoked with apple wood. The chicken is then sprinkled with balsamic teriyaki sauce which was a little overshadowed by the more flavourful chicken. Limited servings available daily.
Coocci Contemporary Japanese stands out from the traditional hawker food fare that is normally available at a food centre. Although there are hawker stores that sell Japanese cuisine, Coocci makes a distinct name for itself by preparing each dish with care with presentations that are simple and worth more than the price paid. Each dish is served with either a daikon tofu salad or rice. The dishes are unique, tasty with most bordering a sweeter touch that is refreshing. Excellent, and I’ll definitely visit this place again.
|Coocci Contemporary Japanese
31 Commonwealth Crescent Stall 92
Commonwealth Crescent Market