16 October 2012

Coco Cubano: Cuban-inspired bar and cafe, Darlinghurst (24 Feb 2012)

191 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Mojitos in Taylor Square

Thanks to Georgia Gilson from DEC Communications and Tony Melhem from Coco Cubano for inviting me as a guest to sample the cocktails and tapas at the Cuban-inspired bar and cafe. Nearly nine months has passed since I visited but the place still remains as one of the prime locations in Taylor Square for people watching. I'd strongly suggest trying to grab a seat on the raised deck level. Not only does it have a better vantage point but you'll also feel a bit safer if the local crazies start singing to you with an unbuttoned shirt. There's a good variety of mojitos to choose from but it's hard to go past the original Mojito ($13.90). I noticed the Sangria by the jug ($28) was a popular choice around the tables. Large slices of fruit make it easier to pour and you don't end up with small bits of fruits that generally get stuck in your glass. I'd skip the Blueberry & Vanilla Cosmopolitan ($14.90) which reminded me too much of the taste of Benadryl cough mixture and try the Ray King of the Valley ($13.90) instead. Simple flavours of Barcadi Superior with ruby red grapefruit juice and fresh lime works a treat although it's a pity you don't get much to drink and be careful it doesn't roll off the table.

It's probably a good thing the menu is tapas because the small tables won't really give you much room for your drinks as well, let alone your cutlery. I'd recommend the Grilled chorizo with warmed olives ($9.90) which were good and easy to eat with toothpicks and Fries with chilli salt ($7.90) although I was hoping for more chilli flavour. The Calamari, chilli salt and roasted garlic sauce ($12.90) were flavoursome and had a decent crisp coating. Grilled haloumi, charred peppers, capers and herbs ($10.90) unfortunately seemed to be more peppers than haloumi. I was hoping the haloumi would be the star of the dish like at The Spanish Fly. The Patatas bravas crisp potatoes with spicy tomato sauce ($9.90) was more like wedges with sauce on top and my least favourite dish of the night. Perhaps if the sauce was on the side I would have liked it better. For those with serious sugar cravings the desserts will surely push the boundaries. Revolution Waffle ($13.90) was smothered with strawberries, ice cream and chocolate — where's the waffle? Thankfully the Choc Cinnamon Churros ($13.90) was cooked quite well with crisp outer coating and soft inside. It would have been even better with a scoop of ice cream. Warm double chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce & vanilla ice cream ($13.90) was very decadent — only for the die hard sugar addicts as it was too much for me.

PROS: Great spot for people watching, Variety of mojitos available, Interesting decor, Relaxed and fun atmosphere
CONS: Watch out for the crazies, Limited table space, Watch out for the sugar overload from the desserts, Music was very loud
MUST TRY: Sangria, Grilled chorizo and warmed olives, Fries with chilli salt
VERDICT: The perfect spot for watching the world go by, well Taylor Square anyway. 
Mojito ($13.90), Coconut Mojito ($14.90), Strawberry Mojito ($14.90), Lychee Mojito ($14.90)

Sangria by the jug ($28) — quite popular around the tables, only large slices of orange so you don't get little annoying pieces in your glass

Blueberry & Vanilla Cosmopolitan: Vodka, blueberry liqueir shaken with blueberries, cranberry, lime juice and a hint of vanilla ($14.90) — wasn't particularly liked and unfortunately reminded us of a subtle Benadryl

Mismo: Barcadi Superior built tall over ice, topped with soda and fresh lime ($8.90) — quite light on taste and flavour

Ray King of the Valley: Barcadi Superior with ruby red grapefruit juice and fresh lime ($13.90) — simple flavours that seem to work, quirky and fun presentation, you don't get much to drink though

Margarita: Cazadores Resposado shaken with triple sec, fresh lime served up in a salt rimmed cocktail glass ($13.90) — pretty lethal, bought by a friend passing by

Mini beef burger sliders with grilled cheese, onion jam ($9.90, 2 pieces, received 3) — I couldn't really taste the cheese

Grilled chorizo with warmed olives ($9.90) — flavoursome and easy to eat with toothpicks with limited table space

Fries with chilli salt ($7.90) — tasty but not very chilli in flavour

Calamari, chilli salt and roasted garlic sauce ($12.90) — easy to eat, decent crisp coating and flavoursome

Spiced chicken, jalapeno, guacamole and warm tortilla bread ($10.90) — jalapeno chunks were really hot, perhaps too hot for me, bread was a bit too crisp and firm so wasn't that easy to wrap chicken as hoped

Grilled haloumi, charred peppers, capers and herbs ($10.90) — presentation wise didn't look like a haloumi dish, flavours OK but would have preferred more haloumi and less peppers

Patatas bravas crisp potatoes with spicy tomato sauce ($9.90) — probably least favourite because more like wedges with sauce on top, wasn't quite what I'd expect for this dish

Revolution Waffle: Belgian waffle, strawberries, ice cream, chocolate ($13.90) — where's the waffle? Quite sugary and decadent and a bit hard to eat with any grace

Choc Cinnamon Churros: Cuban churros, chocolate, cinnamon, strawberries ($13.90) — churros cooked quite well and still a bit soft inside with crisp outer, very sugary though, some ice cream would have been good

Warm double chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce & vanilla ice cream ($13.90) — very decadent and rich of sugar, only for the die hard sugar addicts, probably didn't need the extra chocolate over it

Flat white ($3.60 small) — not too bad, didn't need sugar to drink, roasty and a bit watery for me; Single Origin Hot Chocolate: Venezuela 72% cocoa ($6.50) — quite chocolatey, would prefer more creamy though

Limited table space for drinks and food, let alone cutlery

Cocktail menu

Tapas and dessert menu

Coffee menu

Iced Chocolate and Coffee menu

Limited leg room

Powerful hand dryer — I like

Cigar selection

A busker that needs to keep his shirt buttoned up

Prime spot for people watching

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Coco Cubano @ Taylor Square on Urbanspoon


Richard Elliot said...

I only visited this place once for a drink, as you say it's a great spot for people watching.

Luckily I didn't attract any crazies, but like your tip of sitting inside! :-)

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Not very Cuban, for sure. Thanks for the cough syrup warning :)

Chompchomp said...

Those desserts actually look a little on the scarey side!

Simon Leong said...

hi richard, i think the place is most popular for a drink as i didn't notice too many tables actually eating as well at the time

hi gaby, there's always a particular ingredient that usually tastes like cough mixture. i think it might be cranberry juice.

Simon Leong said...

hi chompchomp, sugary sugar desserts indeed

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