Monday, October 22, 2012

Coco's Restaurant And Bakery-Cool But Crude!

A newcomer in town, Coco's restaurant and bakery is the latest trendy eatery on Tahlia street. This restaurant has become quite popular in neighboring UAE where the chef and some staff of the Riyadh branch have been trained.
From outside the restaurant looks inviting and very sophisticated with the dark colors and dim purple lighting. Inside I found it was a little bit disappointing though, the atmosphere seemed cold or empty, as if still not finished.  The high ceilings reminded me of a warehouse and it seemed to echo in the restaurant. Coco's is also very small compared to other restaurants in this area. There is a singles and a family section and the bakery is in between them. In the family section the customers can choose to sit between a few open area tables and booths in addition to the Saudi style closed booths which have simple but trendy decor inside. 
We had to choose the closed seating area with a sliding door to be able to keep our toddler in check since the restaurant did not offer any high chairs. I hope this was only due to the fact the restaurant was relatively new and they just didn't have time to get them yet. Riyadh is such a family oriented city that high chairs should be a part of every restaurants services.
Sitting inside the boxed up booth had the disadvantage that the waiters, although very efficient and super friendly, did not seem to hear us calling for them from behind the door and there were no call bells. Another issue that arose during the evening was an acoustics problem; the background noise from the bakery and hall-like structure of the restaurant made it at times almost impossible to hear one other clearly. The high ceilings echoed the noises from the bakery which also had a loud blender right next to the tables that every once in a while would interrupt the awkward silence.

Quiet background music might have warmed up the atmosphere and made the place feel less empty. We asked why they did not have music but the waiter just shrugged his shoulders and said well this is Riyadh. I've found many of restaurants nowadays have started to play soft background music and this makes such a huge difference to the overall comfort of the restaurant.
The Coco's menu of metro-mix cuisine is impressive; they have a wide selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and burgers to choose from. In addition there are Italian, Indian and Mexican food sections in the menu. They also serve breakfast and there is a menu for the onsite bakery. The prices are average to above average especially for the seafood and steaks.

We ordered the cream of broccoli soup for starters which is served in a bread bowl.  It was absolutely heavenly! The soup was creamy and soft but not too heavy or with too strong of a broccoli taste to it. Probably one of the best dishes I have ever tried in Riyadh. I would go back just to have this soup again.  The bread bowl was so good we finished the entire meal in minutes and our daughter loved this too. You can scrape off the yummy bread with your spoon and it becomes a wholesome meal. 

For main courses we tried the beef and chicken nachos platter,chicken pasta and lemon chicken. I liked how they had new flavors to choose from for the pasta dishes. The chicken pasta was an interesting combo of gorgonzola cheese, broccoli, basil, tomato, mushrooms and fresh parsley. All the flavors worked well together and the cheese did not come off too strong, The nachos platter was not that great, most of the nachos were soggy and the beef strips were dry. The lemon herb chicken was satisfactory and the meat was tender but a bit bland in flavor.
The proportions at Coco's are very generous and we found ourselves unable to finish the dishes. Some of the main courses come with complimentary soup of the day or a salad. The food arrived very swiftly and even too quickly because we received the appetizers and main course at the same time, which meant the main course had gotten cold by the time we got to it. This was fixed with a quick reheating by the prompt waiter.

The bakery is supposed to serve some delicious pies but to our disappointment they had no pies available at the time, only a choice of few cakes and some muffins. The reason they told us was that the bakery was not yet in full function. If we were in another country this would be very strange, but for Saudi-Arabia six months after opening is still early and not much can be expected in terms of progress.
The Coco's triple dare chocolate cake sounded divine, but perhaps not surprisingly it was not available. We ordered the chocolate marble cake instead and it did not disappoint! Very nice and fluffy cake and the frosting was not too sweet and for once I was able to eat it without cringing form overly sweetness.

The Coco's breakfast menu sounded very tempting and I'm sure going to try it out some day! I would recommend Coco's for couples for a romantic night out or a group of friends.

For more restaurant reviews check out:

My review of Coco's also appears on Riyadheats website:

Star ratings:
Overall: ***1/2
Ambience: **
Decor: ****
Food: ***1/2
Service: ****
Value For Money: ****
Kid Friendliness: **
Romance Factor ****


Serpil said...

What a nice photos! Eid al-Adha mubarak :)

pepora said...

Salam alaykum
I discovered your blog few days ago while searching for swimming pools for women in Riyadh. You really have a nice blog and really informative. I learned a lot of things about Riyadh and Saudi people (I am not saudi, I am from Algeria liviving in Riyadh). Please keep blogging.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Laylah, I love your restaurant reviews!

Layla said...

Eid Mubarak, thanks!

Layla said...

Hi pepora thanks for the comment glad you enjoyed the blog :)

Layla said...

Thanks Jamila I'm glad to hear that!

Noor said...

I found this and thought about you.

Layla said...

Thanks a lot Noor this was very helpful! Now if I only had the time to fix things on the blog :(

Anonymous said...

haha how funny. Coco's is a fast food chain/common restaurant in the USA, but its so glamourized in the Middle East lol.

Layla said...

Oh really, I didn't know that!can't remember seeing a Coco's in the U.S. SO it looks completely different there? Is it sort of like Chillis or Applebees?

WendyLou said...

Cocos in the US is along the lines of a Denny's or Village in. It's a coffee shop (not like the ones in Amsterdam) I'd put it slightly below Chili's. It's a coffee/pie/diner food.

I've spent hours on both your blogs. I love your pictures and stories of your life in Saudi Arabia. I've always wanted to visit there, which is a strange wish for a Christian from America. Thank you for sharing your life there, and congratulations on your new baby.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! It's more like Marie Callendar's or Chili's :D I really like their soups.