The oddness that is Cocoon

Saturday, August 12th , 2006

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I took a trip into Austin Powers territory last night with a trip to Cocoon, which serves pan Asian food in the 1st floor Regent Street site that used to be Bruno Loubet years ago. I’m not sure why the owners have gone for psychedelic padded walls and swivel bucket seats, but the atmosphere certainly feels like a 1960s vision of the future (think orange walls and portholes). It was full of middle eastern businessmen with suspiciously pretty, bored looking escorts along with a wide array of trendy types who probably work in fashion or advertising. The chef is ex E&O, and the menu here is essentially a reproduction of that, so we are talking “pan Asian”, by which we mean approachable dishes from Japan, Korea or Thailand but nothing that would scare someone up from Kent or Essex on a night out. Apart from a dull smoked salmon salad the food was very good, with decent bluefin tuna sashimi, good rock shrimp tempura and excellent beef bulgogi with a spicy Indian raita, which worked better than it sounds. Prices were a touch high, but we are in Regent Street after all. All waiting staff in London now are from Poland (there is some sort of rule about this) but there were a couple of Japanese chefs preparing the sushi and sashimi.

Other than that I had another excellent meal at Zafferano, and another fine curry at old faithful Haandi (pictured) in Knightsbridge. I dabbled with some cooking this week, with a langoustine salad and then a lovely line caught sea bass with a mustard sauce. I mention this only because the sea bass tasted so much nicer than the versions that you often see in London restaurants these days.  I’m sure farmed sea bass can be OK, but tasting this wild one was revealing; I really hope that sea bass does not go the way of salmon, which these days tastes of nothing at all.