Coco Cubano has opened its new outpost in a cool corner-shopfront of Phillip & Church Streets in Parramatta. Since its opening I’ve been going past it every day to work, and until a week ago had only stopped in for a take away coffee or chocolate.
What initially drew me to Coco Cubano was the decor — lots of different lights and textures, cigar boxes (and yes, you CAN get cigars here!), big leather chairs, 50s era Cuban family portraits and Havana glitterati head shots.
The staff are clad in communist-style army greens and the Red Star is ever watchful…er…wait that’s Lord of the Rings.
Coco seems just a little bit confused about what it is — enough that it’s hard to describe. What it has? Options! There is a latin-inspired breakfast menu til 4pm, sandwiches til 6pm, salads, tapas, pizzas and desserts presumably all day. You can sit down with friends and share coffee, beer, Cuban cigars, cocktails and hot chocolates — whatever you and friends want — all in one place.
Coco changes like seasons in a day. In the early mornings its glass facade is opened wide and you can hear the clammer of tamps and the hiss of steam wands, the quiet coming & going of bleary-eyed customers hesitating to wake up and go to work. At noon come the chips and sandwiches, with beers taking place on the table among the coffees. Monday to Thursday nights there are happy hour(s) — with cocktails, beers and sangria ridiculously good specials ($10 cocktails, $6 coronas).
Because there are so many choices, I’m eager to go at different times to try out all there is. But this trip, I’ve just gone for lunch with a few mates.
For drinks we ordered coffees, organic Earl Grey tea, an Iced Tea and (for me) a white chocolate mocha. To be honest, I don’t rate their coffee — I’ve tried them myself two times, and this time opted for a mocha (which I was happy with), but my friend said her espresso tasted over extracted — which is what I had experienced recently. But I’m always willing to try it again and see how it improves with time & experience.
The chocolates I’ve had are nice, the Iced Tea refreshing, and my friend’s organic Earl Grey tea is lovely.
The girls ordered the Elen Ruz ($11.9) which is a cuban turkey sandwich of smoked turkey, cranberry and cream cheese (yum!) on sourdough. I had my eyes on The Cuban ($14.9) mojo (?) pork (pulled pork w/ seasonings), serrano ham, queso (cheese en espanol), pickles and mustard on toasted sourdough. I also ordered a bowl of Fries with Chilli Salt ($7.9) to share with a friend who had a stomach thing goin’ on.
The Cuban sandwich was great — I love anything with pickles and pulled pork — and the fries reminded me of the famous hot chips w/ paprika salt from the Red Lea in Cabramatta!
Sadly I didn’t have any room for dessert — although I’m not really into the whole overpriced churros craze in Australia (probably because they’re $2 snack food in the USA). I will DEFINITELY be back to try out the mojitos though.