Remember how good Cocotte was? A handful of its crew have reunited at Summer Hill, the new baby of former head chef Anthony Yeoh. And this tiny joint is already being sought out by fans of his French comfort food done right.
Just saying, Summer Hill has only one indoor table, and it could be one of the most hard-to-get seats in town soon. One month since opening at Clementi, this hot new table is getting a warm little welcome by neighbourhood diners. But fans of dearly departed French restaurant Cocotte are getting wind of chefs Anthony Yeoh and Christopher Soh’s new digs, and following Yeoh to the heartlands. We came for the home-style bistro faves (namely, the signature roast chicken), and we’re coming back for the good vibes too.
It’s super chill here, and the most charming amongst the cluster of dining spots, bars and hawker eats beneath a HDB estate along Sunset Way. There’s that indoor table we mentioned, an open kitchen, swaying lanterns, and a handful of outdoor tables, where you’ll have dinner by lamplight. It all makes for a pretty cosy scene.
Order and pay at the counter, grab your water and cutlery, and grab your seat. The dinner menu is super compact, with the signature poulet rôti, one daily special (tonight, it’s a sage and mustard roasted pork collar), croque monsieur, sides and soup of the day – on this visit, it’s a soul-stirring potato and leek that’s just $3.50 a bowl.
There’s one red and one white by the glass; same goes by the bottle. There’s a couple of craft beers by local brewery Rye & Pint, but I took a shine to the pre-mixed cocktails by Sunday Punch (bottled by Mark and Jen who live up the road, by the way). A pandan gimlet isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for French bistro fare, but it’s too good to ignore, and hits the spot on a hot night.
The cab ride in from Katong to Clementi cost almost as much as my main: that signature poulet rôti (antibiotic and hormone-free, marinated in herb butter, and $23 for half, $45 for a whole bird). Worth the trip? Hell yes. There’s that perfect crispy-but-tender quality that, frankly, I know I’m never going to nail at home (and yes I’m going to cheat by making use of Summer Hill’s home catering service). Crunchy roasted chat potatoes and coleslaw are unpretentious – and perfect – sides. The roast pork collar with creamy mustard sauce is just as tender and comforting. It’s the real deal.
They’re generous serves, so it’s likely you won’t get to squeeze in one of the desserts: banana bread with salted caramel sauce, citrus and rosemary olive oil cake, and a dark chocolate tart served with cream. That tart looked too good to leave behind, so I brought a slice home to inhale the next day.
There’s also freshly baked croissants and quiche, a throwback to the famous Cocotte brunch trolleys that rolled out course after course of Frenchie treats from sous vide eggs, to bacon and mushroom quiches, to pots of mussels. I lamented to Anthony that I’d never gotten to try it, and he hinted that he might be in the mood to serve up a one-off brunch in the same spirit. Our hot tip? start stalking Summer Hill’s social feed if you want in.
Summer Hill; Block 106 Clementi Street 12, #01-62, Singapore 120106 (Sunset Way), p. 6251 5337; Open 11:30 am to 09:00 pm daily.