Kamala Mills in Lower Parel, Mumbai has turned into one of the city’s most popular dining hub. Here, café chains such as Café Coffee Day rub shoulders with standalone concept spaces like the Bombay Canteen, an Indian fusion food café and bar, and London Taxi, a swish resto bar, among others. One of the restaurants that stands out is the Asian gastropub, KOKO. Winner of the Best Nightlife experience at LF Epicurean Guild Awards 2018, KOKO offers Cantonese and Japanese food paired with well-crafted cocktails. Recently, KOKO launched a new menu titled ‘True Flavours of the Orient’.
In a neighbourhood brimming with landmark dining spaces, it takes something special to catch a diner’s fancy. The folks at KOKO have got some crucial things right. The décor has plush upholstery, tasteful tabletops, and pretty mosaic flooring and the pièce de résistance—the 100-foot-long island bar with wooden accents. It’s a Friyay-kinda vibe all week!
Also read: A wine expert's guide to the five best cocktail places in Mumbai - psst... this is includes Koko too!
The tipples by KOKO’s bar consultant Dimitri Lezinska, a UK-based star mixologist and the co-host of Discovery channel’s Cocktail Kings, deserve a mention. The Tom Yum Cup, a signature drink, came to us in a soup bowl. A rendition of the popular Thai soup, this vodka-based cocktail is a lot of things—spicy, sour, sweet, with a refreshing kick of galangal, lemongrass, and kafir.
Watch the making of this delicious cocktail here:
From the new menu section, the Tom Yum Prawns Xiao Long Bao, a dumpling filled with prawns and soya broth, was delicious. The prawns were tender, and the hot, sour broth was imbued with flavours of lemongrass and chilli. The sushi at KOKO is a hot ticket item, and the Kappa Avocado Maki with cream cheese and carrot ginger sauce is a vegetarian favourite.
Kappa avocado maki with cream cheese and carrot ginger sauce
Another dish that we’d like to try again is the DIY Peking Duck with Pancakes. Any KOKO regular will recommend this, the house plum sauce is a hit with its light, fruity and balanced sweet-tart flavour, however; the meat was rubbery and a bit of a letdown.
Peking duck with pancakes
The dessert section doesn’t stick to its Asian theme, but we aren’t complaining. The menu includes five special creations by Ben Ungermann aka the Ice Cream King, a Masterchef Australia S9 finalist. The Forest Log Law dessert, true to its name, is like a mini forest on a plate. It featured a chocolate log filled with dark chocolate truffle mousse and a portion of hazelnut ice cream. This decadent treat is garnished with light and crispy meringue mushrooms that looked almost real, some berries, and microgreens.
Also read: Think ice cream is unhealthy? Ben Ungermann will change your mind
Forest log law by Ben Ungermann
The Nikkei chicken tacos with diced chicken encased in tortilla shells was slightly disappointing. Although the sweet and spicy chicken marinade was flavourful, the taco shell was soggy instead of crisp. Plus, the dish could have done without the coriander causa, a Peruvian mashed potato dish that it came topped with.
Must-watch: Nikkei Sushi by chef Ranveer Brar
Overall, the lavish Oriental treat by chef Eric Sifu is an experience to remember. You need to visit a few times to get a grip on the extensive menu—50 items is not easy to strike off!