A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published January 29th 2017
From Havana streets to tropical treats
With new economic rules and travel options opening up, more and more people are looking at and travelling to Cuba for a holiday so why not get a taste of Cuba beforehand. At Coco Cubano, you can do just this with not only the food but also the lifestyle displayed in the decor on shelves and walls.
Blending two water loving and cocktail sipping cultures, you'll find Havana street food along with Aussie burgers, steak, salads, seafood and more that will leave you full and, at the same time, wanting to return again to try all the other delicious looking options.
A couple of visits for lunch here have made this a favourite for me with the food being fantastic each time along with the refreshing drinks and the decor that is vibrant as Cuba is itself. The menu is colourful with a variety of sections, as follows.
Tapas & Salads
If you're wanting a smaller portion for your lunch then the tapas and salad section of the menu is for you. It also allows dessert lovers like me room for the best course of a meal.
The Havana Dip Plate comes with melted cheese and black bean dip, tomato salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips ($11.90) whilst the Chicken Jalapeno ($12.90) brings some spice with grilled marinated chicken tenders, fresh jalapenos and red chilli, guacamole and soft tortillas.
There's also Salt & Pepper Calamari with aioli and lemon ($13.90), Beef Nachos ($15.90) and Vegetarian Nachos ($14.90) with accompaniments.
Cubans love their spices and they love their rum which is employed in glazes and sauces. On my last visit I tried the Pork Belly with Chilli BBQ Rum Sauce and Kale Slaw ($15.90) and added a side of chips. The pork was nice and juicy with the sauce oh so delicious.
In the salad department, there is the Tropical Prawn Salad ($17.90) with both tomato salsa and mango salsa, avocado and dressing as well as a Warm Mushroom & Rice Salad ($15.90) with baby spinach, black beans, avocado and cheese.
A few more items round out this portion of the menu to give you a feel of Cuba.
Burgers & Mains
For something more filling, enjoy the Cuban pressed sandwich, El Cubano. Ham is a must on one of these sandwiches in Cuba and is combined with slow cooked pulled pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, Chipotle mayo and aioli. A choice of chips or salad is included ($17.90). Very tender and tasty, it got a thumbs up from hubby.
Coco's wraps come in Cuban flavours with the Chicken Tortilla Wrap and the Beef Burrito Wrap ($12.90 each) whilst burgers include the classic Aussie Beef and Bacon burger ($17.90) in company with the Cubano Chicken Burger ($17.90) and the Haloumi Burger ($16.90). All burgers come with chips.
For something even bigger, enjoy a succulent Rack of Pork Ribs with Rum glaze ($34.90) or a Scotch Fillet Steak ($29.90). Both come with chips and a garden salad. If you need a rice fix then try Pork Ropa, a dish of pulled pork with sultanas and olives served on top of Cubano rice and a soft tortilla ($18.90), or Chicken Mojo with grilled chicken tenders and Cubano rice along with a slice of lime and Coco's signature chilli sauce ($17.90). I had the latter on my first visit here and my stomach certainly found its mojo.
Seafood-wise, there's Aussie fish 'n' chips with salad ($16.90) and Grilled Salmon with salad and a choice of chips or Cubano rice ($24.90). A friend of mine on our recent visit enjoyed the salmon which was perfect for her as she is not into all things spicy. It was proclaimed as very nice.
The sweet treats are divine here and, if you can fit one in, you will be in heaven. Those Spanish donuts, Churros, were ordered and came to me tossed in cinnamon sugar with melted chocolate drizzled on top ($9.90), I added additions of strawberries and vanilla ice cream for a few dollars extra. You can also order a double share to serve with all I had above plus a couple of chocolate pots.
You can also get Belgian waffles, sticky date pudding and Affogato de Cuba (an espresso shot with dulce de leche, ice cream, dark chocolate buds and Havana Club 7 year old rum).
The above is all from the main lunch and dinner menu which includes a kids menu. A breakfast menu is also available.
Lots of wonderful concoctions to choose from, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, hot and cold. There's granitas, shakes, iced coffee, chocolate and mocha frappes, soft drinks, cocktails and mojitos, jugs of Sangria, red and white wines, beers, ciders, and of course rum.
Two bars co-exist with the Rum Bar serving up both Cuban and Latin American rums whilst the Habanos is a bar of a different sort. Cubans also love their cigars and this cigar bar has several fine brands of cigars to choose from.
Hubby is not a rum and cigar person so he tried the Bucanero Fuerte, a Cuban lager-style beer which he quite liked, downing a couple. On various visits, my sweet tooth went with the Banana Rumba (a banana and coconut smoothie with a hint of caramel, topped with whipped cream), an icy cold Passionfruit & Lime Granita topped with mixed berries, and a Salted Caramel Shake (with salted caramel fudge, chocolate brownie bits and chocolate buttons). All were amazing.
A Cuban lager and a Rumba with banana, coconut & caramel
Like the streets of Havana, the decor is busy and fascinating. At the back, arches contain shelves of books, bowling pins, antiques, lamps, vases and flower pots, and lead to walls of framed photos, pictures and posters. At the front, a string of Cuban flags blow in the breeze.
Seating is in a variety of styles from high-backed, cane chairs to cushioned lounge areas whilst wooden tables exist along with marble and coffee tables. Somehow it all works, providing a great Cuban atmosphere.
All things considered, whether you're planning a trip to Cuba or not, Coco Cubano makes for a great experience and is centrally located for a catch up with family, friends and colleagues. It's open from 9am weekdays and 8am weekends until late and is located in the outside Piazza area on the ground floor at Top Ryde Shopping Centre.