Coco Restaurant & Cafe: Interesting Menu, Lacklustre Execution at Heliopolis Restaurant
Heliopolis is by far one of Cairo’s most vibrant districts; a place where a new restaurants and cafes open as frequently as they do in places like 6th of October City and New Cairo. Located right next to Oscar supermarket, we paid a visit to new addition, Coco; a restaurant and café in Almaza that unfortunately failed to impress.
Boasting small and cosy space with an outdoor area, Coco’s interior brings together the classic and the modern, with comfortable grey chairs and sofas, zebra-armed chairs and mini crystal-like chandeliers.
After being seated indoors, we were handed two laminated menus – eek – that actually had some intriguing choices, including Broiled Lobster Tail (233LE) and Salmon Farfalle (70LE).
After some thinking, we opted for Grilled Cordon Blue with mustard sauce (73LE) and Seafood Fettuccini (61 LE).
Comprised of two medium pieces of tender, well-cooked chicken breasts soaked in a smooth and consistent honey mustard sauce – not mustard sauce as promised – our grilled chicken cordon bleu showed no sign of grilling. Nor was it fried, instead coming out an almost solid white. What that resulted in was an overall lack of flavour; stuffed with only one single mushroom piece and small smoked beef chunks the cheese was barely discernible. The only perk to the dish was the tasty spiced French fries and the well-seasoned fresh vegetables cooked with butter and olive oil.
Our second dish suffered similarly. Though featuring shrimp, crab-meat and calamari, the seafood fettuccini pasta was well-cooked, but the white sauce was quite disappointing; like the cheese in the cordon bleu, it was bland in flavour and its consistency was that of soup.
After finishing our mains, we were hoping for better results with the desserts, which were told to us by the waiter as, for some reason, they aren’t included in the menu. The selection that was revealed to us was fairly basic – think brownies and chocolate lava cake – and we ended up going for cheesecake (34LE) – except it wasn’t really cheesecake, more like Cheese Madness, as served by Spectra.
Essentially, the dessert was made up of thin layers of crust and cheese, with a lot of ice cream sandwiched in between. But with a topping of strawberry puree, a crumbly crust, the refreshing vanilla ice cream and the hint of cheese, it was a delicious combination nonetheless.
We washed our meals down a kiwi-mango flavoured shisha which proved to be a flavourful mix that lasted long into the evening and was well-tended to.
Despite the pleasant end to the evening, though, we left Coco wondering how the restaurant will make do in its competitive market; what reads like a solid menu, translated into a mediocre meal at the time of our visit. But the problem was execution – and that’s something that can be improved.