The first time we visited Cocoparra, there was a private party going on. The moment we announced that we weren’t invitees, the hosts apologised profusely, ensured they noted our details, promised us a complimentary drink the next time we visited and even gave us a little delicious take-away as an apology. We were genuinely impressed and touched by the establishment’s sincerity towards catering to their guests.
The next time we visited, it being a Wednesday night, we were the solo diners. We walked around the simply-done, green property and loved its rustic, wooden table-and-bench outdoor look. They also had a machaan with flowing curtains for a bigger group and the regular air-conditioned indoor restaurant. In the dark (they are only open 8 pm onwards), the much-spoken-about river is but a patch of black but even then, Cocoparra was as close to a natural setting as possible.
Being a warm day, we opted to sit outside. By the time we could peruse our menus, in spite of the incense, the mosquitoes bothered. So, we moved indoors. They promised to switch on the air-conditioning immediately and we tried to get comfortable and ordered.
Our Choco Coco (Rs 325) was fantastic: A lovely chilled Vodka Martini with Irish Baileys and chocolate. Overall, the menu is predominantly European / Mediterranean. We opted for a chilled soup since the air-conditioning had still not kicked in. The Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho (Rs 145) was smooth with a precise tinge of mint. The slight bitterness of the cucumber, we thought, could have been avoided.
Funnily, when asked for bread with our soup, they refused. “Not now ma’am. You will get it with the main course.” Oh well! When we ordered for our mains, the bread platter did arrive. And it was definitely worth the wait. With options between soft walnut dinner rolls, mini baguettes and white bread squares, we were spoilt for choice. Fresh and crusty, they went really well with the beetroot hummus, a delicious roasted eggplant dip and the unusual flavour of the caramelized onions and raisins condiment.
We then tried a Honey Glazed Chicken (Rs 425) that was a generous portion, with a basil and black pepper sauce in a small bowl and some garlic rice with it. Zesty, well-done and wholesome. Our Butter Scampi Saffron Risotto (Rs 450) was a healthy portion (though it looked small). Two whole scampi sat on a bed of Parmesan foam. Beneath were layers of sinful, mouth-wateringly smooth risotto, done just right, and loaded with cheese and al dente river prawns. Heavenly! Just that by now, the beads of sweat were developing and our foreheads needed napkin assistance (the air conditioning had still not kicked in). Not the ideal atmosphere for a hot, loaded risotto indulgence.
Much as we would have liked a dessert, we couldn’t bear the heat and wished to make a hasty retreat. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
Some issue with the card swipe machine took forever (by which time we were meandering outdoors) and it was a while before we could leave for a night’s repose.
Cocoparra does seem to have a few teething issues, but once these are sorted we believe it will be perceived as a lovely dinner spot, especially in the cooler months.