Cocoa Cafe in Kochi boasts excellent continental fare, pleasant service and desserts
While opening a café has become the millennial dream, there is onething many people overlook before jumping into investing in one—experience. Visiting Cocoa Cafe located on the National Highway Bypass, diagonally opposite the Holiday Inn at Chakkaraparambu, makes me realise why this is important. Co-owner Anoop Vincent’s long exposure to the hospitality industry shows through in his pleasant demeanour as he greets us into the 38-cover outlet.
Boy, am I glad to walk in to see shelves loaded with desserts like tarts and creme brûlée. “Having a space of our own was a dream that Vibin K V and I nurtured while working in hotels and cafés. After consulting with friends who dine out in Kochi, we zeroed in on continental fare and picked a location between the hubs Panampilly Nagar and Kakkanad,” informs Anoop, who has worked across India and the GCC countries.
Settling down on a comfortable chair and flicking through the menu, one can spot that most platters are what an average connoisseur of continental cuisine would expect (think steaks, pastas and pizzas), but some names also go the extra mile.
As is customary to our tasting sessions, I start with a drink—a passionfruit lemonade. The use of fresh fruit pulp is evident in the prominent sour note of the drink that is soothing with the lemon juice and fizz.
“We got this 1,200 sqft property as just four walls. We decided on how to partition the kitchen, bakery and sitting hall, and planned the décor,” informs the restauranteur. The room sports shelves hung from the high-ceiling, lined with indoor plants, and a large glass facade casting abundant natural light onto a bright yellow wall adorned with posters.
As we speak, a honey-glazed beef salad arrives on the spread. True to its name and appearance, the dish with honey-mustard dressing has a subtle natural sweetness and well-grilled beef cubes—but the best part is, small watermelon and papaya scoops that add a touch of freshness.
We follow this up with an American beef burger served with typical French fries. Even though the stack is super juicy upon biting down, the rather sweet buns don’t do justice to the well-seasoned patty.
It’d be strange to happen on a section in a menu titled ‘Yo yo’ but the name pomegranate chicken steals my attention faster. Long strips of white meat in peppery panko crumbs are not the attraction of the platter, but the berry-ish sweetness of the pomegranate dip that will entice sweet tooths.
“We make most of our sauces and bread variants in-house, except the burger buns,” says Anoop, as I shamelessly ask for a second serving of the sauce.
The seafood dish served as main course has the restaurant’s spicy version of lemon butter sauce slathered on grilled basa that makes the whitefish appetising, alongside basil-infused rice, garlic bread and veggies.
I didn’t expect a giant glass (more than enough for two after a meal) stuffed with crumbled chocolate mud cake, nuts, cookies and vanilla custard when I asked for a final sweet note to my dinner. I guess I’ll have to go back on a hungry day to be able to finish a serving of this delicious dessert.
From 11 am - 1 am.