I am at the deserted Welldone Tech Park Building opposite the Fortune Hotel at Sohna Road to try out the latest eatery to open in Gurgaon, and frankly, I am a bit perplexed at the name. Is Cocoa House a chocolate shop, or is cocoa a predominant ingredient in its dishes? The reality, as I soon find, is none of the above, and thank god for it. Instead I discover a café that not only serves beautiful food, but is one of the few that are totally in tune with the nutritional demands of the twenty-first century.
The restaurant is airy with high ceilings, and a colourful seating. The food philosophy here is simple, says the man in charge Bawa Aditya Singh, “We serve multiple cuisines, and only the dishes that our chefs are very good at.” The servings are generous single portions, and the price reasonable.
The menu is focused and promising, and I am intrigues enough to start with the aloe vera drink (Rs 120) from their charge-up menu. The drink does not taste like much, but does feel refreshing. I can feel my body ‘charged-up’ and nudging me to go ahead and indulge myself, which I do.
I start with the French clear soup, chicken veloute (Rs 80). It is a delicate and fragrant soup, with a Thai touch of lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime. The dainty chicken meatballs are tender and moist. Next are the starters. Shish touk (Rs 150) is perfectly seasoned and tasty. The mutton seekh (Rs 199) is good though a bit dry, but the star starter is the vegetarian hara bhara kabab (Rs 140) which is soft yet crispy, and simply melts in the mouth. The reason, as Chef Naval Sharma explains, is their philosophy of keeping their food healthy and simple – they have substituted the potato with the fresh cottage cheese, giving it an extra softness that is wonderful on the palate.
The main course that I have chosen sounds easy to make, but is not. Poaching a fish requires sensitive and deft handling. Poached fish with rice (Rs 290) that they serve exceeds expectations. Here a fillet of basa has been poached in the bouillon liqueur of honey, basil, mint, ginger, garlic and fresh red chillies, making it a symphony in the mouth. If there ever has been the perfect moment to say ‘mogamobo khush hua’ now is it.
The dessert is a fresh ice-cream – fig and honey with mint (Rs 100), and it turns out to be a real treat. The combination of the earthy tones of fig, the caramelized crunch of the honey, and the fresh zing of the mint delivers pack load of flavours and textures.
Cocoa House is a welcome addition to the multitude of excellent eateries of Gurgaon. The food they serve is fresh, light and full of tasty surprises. Add to it, their unique charge up menu of healthy juices is exactly what the overworked and overstressed professional of Gurgaon would welcome. Time to head there whenever your body and taste buds need pampering.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.0, Ambience: 4.0, Service: 4.0| Overall: 4.0
Cuisine: Multicuisine | Timings: 11 AM to 1 AM| Meal for two: Rs 1000 | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes
Address: Cocoa House, 4, Ground Floor, Welldone Tech Park Building, Sector 48, Sohna Road, Gurgaon| Phone: 9650070733
This review first appeared in Friday Gurgaon