Miss Piggy dined as a guest of Coco Cubano.
Coco Cubano is one of the more eclectic and interesting looking cafes to set up shop in Parramatta's "Eat Street" (that's Church Street to Google Maps). The Cuban inspired restaurant has an open frontage that looks onto bustling Church Street - nab one of the prime seats in the window and watch the world go by! Grab a Mojito and a Cigar, sit out on the sidewalk and pretend you're in Cuba...
But for this Sunday lunch there was no watching the world go by for this group of hungry bloggers (ChocolateSuze, Phuoc'n Delicious, Raspberri Cupcakes, Ramen Raff, Excuse Me Waiter, Citrus and Candy, Bite Me Show Me and Everyboy Loves Ramen) who had been invited to dine at Coco Cubano by co-owner Tony Melhem (Coco Cubano Founder and El Presidente).
Tony has a real passion for all things Cuban and is enamoured by the country's retro 1950s "land the time forget" vibe. The colourful photos on the wall are all taken during his Cuban travels, and the old Black and White prints are those of his family. There is an interesting mish mash of vintage looking bric-a-brac that give the cafe a homey feel. Before meeting Tony I had no idea that this cafe was someones passion project and it really made me look at the place with a new eye - after all Tony was an office-slave like moi, and he's now gone on to open three successful Coco Cubano's in Sydney. There's hope for us cubicle dwellers yet!
Someone in our group is a bit of a Sangria fan so we order a jug of both the White Sangria and traditional Red Sangria. WAY too much Sangria considering most of us drove to the cafe, but we gave it a good effort I must say (Sangria is $28 per jug). The White Sangria is really light and refreshing (and alcoholic) but my heart still lies with the good old red - call me old school.
Coco Cubano does a stellar Mojito (Cuba is the birthplace of the Mojito after all) so I think we ordered every type of Mojito on the menu and passed the glasses around so we could all try. I quite fancied the Lychee and the Passionfruit Mojito - both quite sour which I love. And that's enough booze for one afternoon - I switched to water and this lovely Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri made with fresh strawberries, lime and a touch of sugar.
And of course this was not a liquid lunch so what about the food? Coco Cubano offers a range of basic tapas, Cuban inspired sandwiches and wraps, nachos and pizzas. It's a twist on your basic cafe fare and quite enjoyable. We kicked things off with Grilled Haloumi, Charred Peppers and Capers ($10.90). This is one of those dishes where you need a little bit of everything in one mouthful to really appreciate all the flavours.
The Mini Beef Burger Sliders with Grilled Cheese and Onion Jam ($9.90 for two) were so cute and big a hit at the table - though I want to know why no-one wanted to take a photo of my Vegetarian Sandwich...hmmm? The sandwich isn't on the menu, it was something the staff made up for me. I guess it's probably the same price as all the other sandwiches at around $10.00.
The Patatas Bravas with Spicy Tomato Sauce ($9.90) were essentially big fat fluffy chips. A crispy outer hid soft fluffy tatter innards (sounds like I'm describing myself there doesn't it), really tasty. The Serrano Melt ($14.90) was another bit hit - an open sandwich with serrano ham, queso (aka cheese for us Aussies0 with jalapenos and olive bread.
Next up we have Calamari with Chilli Salt and THE MUST DELICIOUS Roasted Garlic Sauce ($12.90). I must have stunk when I got home that afternoon as I ate a good half of the garlic sauce on my own (it goes really well with Patatas Bravas you know). We also ordered a serve of the Grilled Chorizo with Warmed Olives ($9.90) - the olives were great, the perfect temperature, plump and meaty.
The last of the savoury dishes comes out - a Vegetarian Nachos ($12.90), oozing with cheese and guacamole. I really love Nachos and this is one of the dishes I can make REALLY well at home (pity as it's not exactly health food is it). And what lunch would be complete without a bowl or two of Fries with Chilli Salt ($7.90) with more Garlic Sauce!
Oooo, dessert! The desserts at Coco Cubano are a chocolate lover's dream come true. The Chocolate Fondue ($9.90) is irresistible and the chocolate is all sorts of delicious. If I was here on my own I imagine I'd just spoon the melted chocolate out of the pot and straight into my mouth. This was a gooood dessert.
The Choc Cinnamon Churros ($13.90) came drizzled with melted chocolate, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a enough strawberries to assure your cardiologist that you ate healthily over the weekend. I'm pretty sure this is my first foray in the world of Churros and I'm sure I'll be back - they were nice and crispy so the texture appealed to me. And last but not least the Revolution Waffle ($13.90) - Belgian waffle, strawberries, ice cream, chocolate.
I really enjoyed my afternoon at Coco Cubano - can't wait to come back for some more cocktails...and maybe some chocolate fondue too.
Coco Cubano is at 302 Church Street, Parramatta. You can phone them on 0450 956 382.