In 2006, Delphine de Beer and Catherine Lauria met while working in Johannesburg and, like in most great movies and books, it was the start of an interesting (and fruitful) friendship. At the time, Delphine was the managing director of the French-South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while Catherine was working as a food consultant (which included a stint with Michelin chef, Guy Martin). They bonded over their French connections and love of good food, particularly traditional and delicious French rotisserie chicken. Fast forward almost 12 years to May 2017, when the two opened their own chicken shop, appropriately named after the French word for a hen that doubles as a term of endearment among friends.
You’ll find it on Sea Point’s busy main road, sitting cheek by jowl with some of the city’s other hot spots – Schechter’s Raw, My Sugar, Sundoo, Three Wise Monkeys and Mojo Market. Its clean, white-tiled interior – with little more than two bar stools to perch on while you wait for your order – is fitting and functional. Hen motifs and subtle nods to the owners’ Gallic roots are dotted around the space, while a fridge with a black-and-white image of Brigitte Bardot tucking into a whole bird is a humorous reminder as to why you’re here.
The small menu packs a flavourful punch. You can order a whole or quarter chicken; three side salads; and a chicken sandwich– that’s it for now. But, there’s a new menu in the works for summer.
Chicken – free-range from Elgin – is the main event. Obviously. A special rotisserie oven cooks the birds for an hour and a half, continually basting them, rendering them full of flavour and preventing them from drying out. They’re then popped into grease- and perspiration-proof takeaway bags – imported from France – that are perfectly safe for heating (10 minutes at 100ºC).
When we visited, I spotted a number of loyal regulars chatting to the owners – always a reassuring sign to see patrons returning.
Insider tip Whether you opt for a whole or quarter chicken to go, be sure to ask for some extra lip-smackingly good gravy.
Winter: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm; Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Summer: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Contact 021 286 4352, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Where to find it Cocotte: La French Rôtisserie, 20 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town