Cooking up with cocoa

Rupkatha Bhowmick

Home-grown eatery Cocoa Kitchen, conceptualised by Dubai-based developer Meraas, celebrates the versatility of a much-loved ingredient – cocoa. It is a unique cocoa-centric concept that serves an eclectic mix of cuisines with a hint of cocoa in every dish – around 40 in total.

Located in City Walk – rubbing shoulders with world renowned chocolate concepts like Boutique Le Chocolat and BVLGARI Il Cioccolato – Cocoa Kitchen uses six types of premium chocolates with varying percentages of cacao, sourced from as far away as Cuba, Peru, Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania.

We visited Cocoa Kitchen and here’s a review…

Cocoa is a much-loved ingredient indeed; but it made us wonder how it would taste when used in a savoury dish. We realised it’s quite fascinating to taste a hint of cocoa nibs in Arabic falafel, not overpowering yet distinct. Dark Chocolate Linguine is unique, with 65% Alto El Sol Cacao, finished with Alaskan king crab, semi-dried kumato, garlic, cherry tomato, shallots, lemon, tarragon, olive oil and fresh herbs. Indian favourite Butter Chicken made with white chocolate – one wouldn’t even imagine – is fascinating. The indulgent cup of hot chocolate is rich and flavourful.

“We are very proud of the high-quality ingredients that we use in Cocoa Kitchen – how we select each ingredient and use it cook up a tsunami of flavours in a dish,” says the passionate head chef, Domenico Santagada. “We have curated a menu that uses cocoa in every possible form – right from cocoa nibs to cocoa butter, cocoa powder and finally chocolate. Every dish has cocoa in some form.”

Spanning approximately 6,340 sqft, Cocoa Kitchen boasts 123 seating capacity. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. What adds up to the restaurant’s personality is its interiors sporting an industrial look and feel, accentuated by brass and iron fittings in keeping with the cocoa theme.

“We wanted our decor to also revolve around chocolate. One can easily spot our chocolate warehouse theme,” Santagada points out. “The piping of the chocolate warehouse extends from the dining area to the kitchen up to the bar area where we have placed the cocoa dispensers. The vintage chocolate moulds adorning our walls come from France.”

Read the full article in the September edition of RetailME.