SA’s first typical French Rotisserie takeaway has officially opened In Sea Point offering a little piece of Paris, in the form of dine-in decadence for people on the go.
‘Rôtissoires’ are widespread across city streets in France, and now this simple but delicious treat is available in Cape Town.
At Cocotte (originally meaning a child’s name for ‘hen’, more recently French slang for baby chickens or ‘chicks’) whole free-range chickens are roasted in a special rotisserie machine imported from France.
“French rôtissoire cooking is the traditional art of roasting chickens on a very slow rotation which intensifies the flavour, resulting in tender, delicious tasting meat,” explains co-owner, Delphine de Beer. “It also roasts without retaining fats and oils and without the charring effect of barbecuing, resulting in a chicken that is healthier and juicier.”
“Rôtisserie is about selecting, preparing, cooking, and sourcing the best poultry and then creating something deliciously sublime with it,” says de Beer. “Our free-range chickens are seasoned with imported French spices and fresh, locally grown herbs.”
The chickens (which are sourced from Elgin and are free range, raised humanely, stress free, antibiotic growth free, animal product free, and air chilled) are roasted in full view of Cocotte customers and packed in a specially insulated paper bag imported from France, which keeps the chicken warm for up to 1 hour. Alternatively, you can save the chicken for later and heat in the bag in a pre heated oven at 80/100 degrees for ten minutes.
The chicken can be ordered with a selection of seasonal side salads and French style homemade sauces.
In France rôtissoire is a strong part of the French culinary heritage, dating back to 1248, when King Louis IX ordered the establishment of guilds, including one called ‘Les Oyeurs’ or ‘goose roasters’. By 1509, when King Louis XII was in power, the guild’s knowledge was extended to include the preparation of other meats, including poultry and venison.
The guild’s ‘Confrérie’ – or brotherhood – would cultivate this treasured culinary art’s standards of professionalism and quality for over four centuries, until the guild system was destroyed in 1793 during the French Revolution. Then, in early 20th century France and Belgium, rôtisserie became a fashionable restaurant concept.
Now Capetonians can enjoy this French tradition at Cocotte thanks to long time French friends Delphine de Beer and Catherine Lauria who share a passion for good French food.
The Cocotte duo brings great experience to the table -de Beer was the MD at the French-South African Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Lauria worked for Michelin chef etoile, Guy Martin and has many years’ experience running various food businesses.
“Cocotte is a cross path of two worlds – born out of our love for good food and our love for the people of South Africa,” says Lauria.
Internationally acclaimed Belgium designer Laurence Soetens, who came up with a clean, designed the shop’s contemporary look and feel made up entirely of tiles for the walls and floor inspired by the look of a typical butchery/Rotisserie in France.
“We have created a typical Parisian shop for our Cocotte French rotisserie with contemporary décor. A total of 7500 small, staggered white ceramic tiles cover the walls from floor to ceiling,” says Lauria. “This has been complimented with larger black and white floor tiles laid in a geometric pattern, creating space and replicating the ambience of a French bistro.”
“Large white marble tiles have been used for the serving counter with low hanging white ball lamps above completing a mix of styles and periods to create a timeless place,” she adds.
“Worldwide, consumer habits are evolving towards a much healthier diet where quality prevails and we are confident that our recipe which is simple and healthy will tickle the taste buds of Cape Town chicken lovers,” says Lauria.