Think of a place that sparkles; and the sea of black just makes the sparkling brighter. Where even though the ambience is dark, the sparkles makes sure you’re spell-bound and don’t lose your way. Think of a place that transports you to another land altogether. And that ladies and gentlemen, is Coco for you! Dark yet sparkly, understated yet elegant, social yet your very own private den!
Right from the first step in, the ambience is astounding. The golden bee at the entrance stole my heart! And so did the VIP sitting area wherein you can see the Pune skyline. Alas I didn’t get to sit there, but then there’s always next time.
Being one of it’s kind in Pune, Coco is a members only lounge. This is to make sure that the crowd is filtered and you have a good time with familiar faces around. And no, the membership isn’t paid, but you must be recommended by an existing member to get one yourself.
Coco serves up some excellent Japanese and pan-Asian food, along with a well-stocked bar. I was hosted here with a group of bloggers, all thanks to Svetlana from Carpe Diem.
As I’ve spoken before, the ambience will enthral you. Right from the lit stairs, the black tables, the sparkling stars all around, the etched golden bee to the chandeliers; everything is tastefully done.
The service was top-notch as expected and our server’s knowledge of the food and beverages was pretty impressive. He made sure that we chose stuff based upon our preferences. Mighty impressed!
I began with a white wine Sangria as recommended by our server and it was the perfect choice! By this time, I was pretty excited to try out the food here. And boy, I wasn’t disappointed. The plating of almost all the dishes was artistic, for the lack of a better word. The food looked beautiful on those black plates!
Coco serves Sushi in 2 portion options – half and full. The 2 variants of Sushi I tried that night were THE CALIFORNIA SUSHI ROLL and the WILD MUSHROOM SUSHI ROLL. Both were plated beautifully and were surrounded by an array of accompaniments including Wasabi, Togarashi and Gari.
Gari is essentially a tender and sweetish variant of ginger which goes beautifully with any kind of Sushi. Togarashi is a Japanese spice mix, which helps to add that extra zing to your sushi if desired. I must mention, the quality of rice used in the Sushi here was par excellence. Of the 2 variants, California Sushi roll was the clear winner. Highly recommended.
I’m a huge fan of dim-sums. So I was pretty excited to try them. The SMOKED EDAMAME AND TRUFFLE DUMPLINGS were absolutely silky and melt in the mouth. The SPICED BROCCOLI DUMPLINGS were quite nice too with a distinct after-taste of broccoli. The red chilli and basil dips served alongside were excellent. Here again, the Edamame ones were the clear winner for me. Highly recommended.
Coco is the place I had the most distinctly flavoured soup in my life – the MISO SHIRO. The flavours were too different for me to describe it, but it did feel good on the palate. Those with a less experimental palate should probably stay away though. It’s not every day that you drink seaweed in your soup :).
CRISPY LOTUS STEM – Even though it’s a classic, I hadn’t tried this dish earlier. The Crispy Lotus stem glazed with honey and sweet chilly made for an excellent appetiser. Even our non-vegetarian mates couldn’t stop munching on these! Highly recommended.
TEMPURA VEGETABLES – Tempura is Japan’s answer to our desi bhajiya. Baton cut vegetables are dipped in a cold batter made of refined flour, eggs and water and then fried to perfection. The unique attribute of tempura is that the vegetables remain crisp, yet do not absorb much oil. Served alongside spiced mayo, this made for a pretty good appetiser. Recommended.
SOM TAM SALAD – This is a classic Thai salad made with raw papaya. With a sweetish sour flavor, Som Tam Salad features in many a favourite lists, but it didn’t do much for me. I’m thoroughly partial to salads with creamy dressings, and this just did not fit the bill. Though I must add the dish itself was executed faultlessly.
Now arrived an appetizer so brilliant in appearance, we were all impressed – THE ROCK CORN DYNAMITE. But then again, it did not impress as far as flavours were concerned.
Time for one of my favourite dishes of the day – GOLDEN SILKEN TOFU WITH PONZU. Absolutely delicious dish! One of the few times in life that I actually enjoyed Tofu J. True to its name, the tofu was silken, the spices were bang on and the rice very flavorful. A faultlessly executed dish! Highly recommended.
And now for the most awaited part of my meal – the desserts. Of the 3 stunningly presented desserts we tried, the SMOKED CHOCOLATE MOUSSECAKE was the dish of the day! Encompassing superb smoky flavours, this is one dish you absolutely cannot miss at Coco. I could eat this all by myself J, I hate sharing good stuff!
The HONEY PANACOTTA failed to highlight the honey flavor. It actually had all it’s elements right; but was missing a nice flavorsome coulis which would have brought it all together.
The TENDER COCONUT MOUSSE though was a huge disappointment. The 2 major issues with the dish were: a) They used brown coconut flesh (I assume), as opposed to green coconut malai which totally screwed up with the flavor. b) The mousse felt like whipped cream in the disguise of a mousse. Anyways the Smoked Chocolate Mousse was excellent enough to help me get over this disappointment.
Last up was the WASABI ICECREAM which was pretty well made. Not for the faint hearted, the ice cream packs an intense wasabi kick and is perfectly creamy.
OVERALL VERDICT – Stunning interiors, scrumptious pan Asian food and excellent hospitality at Coco make up for an excellent dinner experience. I would highly recommend this place for an impressive date night. The party animals can hit their club nights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11.30 pm onwards. And don’t even dare leave here without gorging on the Smoked Chocolate Moussecake!
For membership, please get in touch with the club directly, and they will do the needful.
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