Overlooking the incredibly scenic (and tree free) view of the city from the South Perth foreshore is the very famous, and very iconic Coco's Restaurant.
It's a throwback to the 90s where restaurant names were everything and everyone knew each other's ventures, successes and scandals. Except unlike those that have come and gone, Coco's still remains. An ever evolving venue that attracts seafood coveters, scene appreciators or living for a few hours how the so called better half do.
The view is literally worth a million dollars. Or actually that's probably figuratively since the houses along the strip where Coco's sits are worth in excess of this.
I've been here more times than I can remember since it's one of my work contact's favourite restaurants to take me and colleagues to every few months or so. But for Jeremy, this is his first time so it's equal parts wonder for me as whether the service will be as good when I'm minus the regular customer I come with; and excitement that finally he'll know what I'm talking about when I mention certain dishes.
We're seated outside, which in winter would normally send alarm bells off in my head. But thankfully the windows are closed and heaters on, keeping us comfortable and toasty. We're in a prime position to see boats flitting across the Swan River and enjoying the clear night skies.
The night starts a little rocky; the people around us loud and boisterous which is somewhat disappointing as it does ruin the ambiance somewhat. We don't let this faze us though, with Jeremy selecting a Little Creatures pear cider to drink and me going for a vodka passion cocktail. Sadly my drink doesn't quite live up to what I was expecting and I end up leaving half of it behind when we finish our night. So far, not so great. But we're more about the food. So with our drinks in hand we peruse the menu and eagerly take in the impressive list of specials they have on offer tonight.
For entree, he has gone for a dish that I always eye but end up persuaded elsewhere. It's a traditional beef carpaccio with baby capers, chilli, rocket, truffle oil and manchego crips ($28.50).
We're both incredibly surprised by the size of the dish; our heads leaning in eagerly as we take in the artistic appearance and generosity of ingredients. He spoons on a decent smothering of grated parmesan and chilli infused truffle oil over the top before offering me a bite of each element on his fork. The beef is so thin it's almost translucent, and so tender it melts in my mouth literally. The manchego crisps are cheesy and moorish while offering a contrasting texture to the star of the dish. It's an entree worth returning here for alone.
I've gone for a combination of Jet fresh Larner's South Australian rock oysters prepared three ways. First is the natural oysters with a lime, chilli and coriander dip ($4.30 each). They're fresh and succulent; tasting of the ocean while being creamy and rich. They're of a great size too where they aren't overpowering, but delicately enjoyable too.
The next oysters on my place are the classic kilpatrick ($4.50 each). Though I tend to love natural oysters most, these are extremely flavoursome, with mounds of sauce and bacon that fill the entire oyster shell in an impressive serving.
Finally I've gone for the tempura oysters ($4.50 each) which come with a thick wasabi and lemon mayonnaise. The tempura batter is light and crunchy but keep the oyster itself in tact and true in taste. This is my favourite of the three and I'm already happy with this visit to Cocos.
A proper amount of time passes before our mains arrive, our smiles wide as Jeremy's porcini mushroom and sweet corn risotto with beetroot crisps and goats cheese ($39.50) is placed in front of us. This is normally my go to dish here for mains simply because the risotto is cooked so damn well. The rice is fluffy and full of great taste even though this isn't an Italian restaurant. The porcini mushrooms are rich in their intensity and the goats cheese is creamy - ideal to cut through the reoccurring flavour profile.
Porcini and sweet corn risotto
Once again it's a huge dish - though mine seems to overshadow it as it's placed carefully down in front of me. It's a main from the specials of the day, though it's one that I've heard many times before from the service staff.
A seafood platter ($56) of prawns, scallops and chilli & parmesan crumbed Rottnest calamari. It's just so great; grilled and cooked right in a way that respects the ingredients. The prawns are grilled lightly and retain a wonderful crunch to them when my teeth penetrate the surface. A little squeeze of lemon and the taste sings. The scallops are only just coloured on the outside; fleshy in the middle. They're insanely delectable and I'm loving them combined with the mayonnaise on side of the plate. But the best part is definitely the calamari. Tubes of squid that are crunchy and texturally chewy. The crumb on the outside has this sinful crack between my teeth but is somehow thin at the same time.
After our entrees and eating as much as we can of this, we're struggling to finish this beast of a dish.
One great thing about Coco's is the service; with our plates cleared away nearly the instant they're empty (or as close as we can get to empty). Our water is always kept filled to the top and they have enough sense to leave us chatting away happily before quietly placing dessert menus in front of us.
After some deliberation between dishes, Jeremy's choice is the chocolate marquise ($18.80) which suits his love of rich dark chocolate. It's a decadent dessert that is reminiscent of a mousse but cut like a cake. It's adorned with a quinelle of double cream and a raspberry coulis. His spoon shreds through the surface of the chocolate like it's made of air; and he's impressed with how creamy and smooth the taste is. While not my kind of dessert, I have to admit it is delicious.
Like nearly every time I come here, I've chosen the sticky date pudding bombe alaska ($19). It's both visually impressive and interesting to comprehend. A base of thin sticky date pudding that is lucious and incredibly palatable. On top sits a heavenly scoop of ice cream rolled in crushed macadamia nuts. The ice cream is vanilla-y goodness that's sweetness is offset by the saltiness of the nuts. So far, definitely so good.
Around the ice cream sits a foamy meringue concoction that is charred on the outside so it gets that great crunch when you break through. But inside it is as light as a feather. It feels like I'm eating a cloud.
And just when you think it can't get any better, you scoop up some of that butterscotch sauce that sits around it like a moat. It's a creative and incredibly different dessert to what you can find in restaurants all over. And yes, like most things here, it is a bit too big for me to finish - though J is all too happy to oblige.
Sticky date pudding bombe alaska
So while our night didn't start off on the best note, it definitely finished on a high - all thanks to three courses of phenomenal food. Yes this place is expensive; but how are people surprised by this when they rate it on urbanspoon? One look on the website's menu and you can see that you are paying a higher premium than other restaurants in Perth. But with my entertainment card giving us 25% (up to $50), I can't complain. Jeremy and I have walked away with full bellies of high quality ingredients and great flavours.
If you don't mind the price tag, I do recommend you giving it a go to try it for yourself.
For more information about Coco's Restaurant visit them on their website.
For more information about Coco's Restaurant visit them on their website.