I recently had the opportunity to pop in with a friend and feast on the delicious offerings Coco Cubano have to offer, with a new concept on offer “Endless summer with a Cuban twist” and fresh new menu inspired by the tropical Island that is Cuba we had a night of fun and food.
Coco Cubano is the brainchild of husband and wife Tony and Avril Melhem who originally fell in love with Cuba’s electric and indulgent culture and decided to bring to Australia a taste of that very same culture which spawned the Mojito, Salsa, Buena Vista Social Club, Havana Club Rum and Cohiba cigars.
With 13 locations nationally, and the recently opened Crows Nest venue in November 2015, the venues pay homage to Cuba’s grassroots with an eclectic vintage setting and the vibrant party loving atmosphere of Cuba in its heyday – an island oasis at the height of hedonism, a time of extravagance, indulgence and abundance.
The introduction of the new extensive menu & brand concept has been shaped by the guidance of Nik Rollison of Concreteseed and consulting Chef John Lanzafame together with bar specialist Grant Collins, alongside creative agency The Creative Method, Joseph Somma of Otto Design Interiors and the Coco Cubano Founders.
Inspired by Cuba, born in Australia. On the surface, these ‘islands’ are two vastly different places, yet the new menu draws inspiration from the striking similarities they share. An abundance of sunshine, a tropical climate, sugar cane and rum and a strong connection to the sea are common threads that can define a cuisine. Combining these two water-loving cocktail-sipping cultures creates a unique destination with a love of celebration and a feeling of endless summer, complete with vibrant Cuban music and table service, it’s the perfect setting for social outings, parties & fiestas.
Using local produce, authentic Cuban flavours have been blended with some of Australia’s most popular dishes to create an exciting fusion that will keep you wanting more. The menu caters from breakfast to late night and everything in between, and has something to suit any craving, mood or celebration with a perfect balance of healthy dishes, share plates, generous mains & indulgent desserts.
A taste of exotic Cuba can be experienced throughout with breakfast dishes all made fresh to order including the Huevos Benedictos; two free range eggs, smashed plantains, wilted spinach, slow cooked pork, criollo hollandaise, lime, red mojo sauce (16.9) or the Entradas & Share Plates including Cuba’s national chip Tostones; hand-cut crunchy plantain chips, fresh guacamole, mango salsa (9.9)
The Mains, or Platos Principales as Coco Cubano likes to call them, are packed full of flavor and intrigue featuring a famous Cuban pork dish, Pork Ropa Vieja; seasoned slow cooked pulled pork with sultanas & olives, served with beans & rice, warm tortilla (18.9) along with substantial mains, like the Bone-In Rib Eye; 400g Riverina grass-fed rib eye, red mojo sauce, served with crispy fritas & garden salad (37.9). There are also fresh summery Salads, the ultimate Cuban Burgers & Signature Sandwiches, including The Cubano; a classic Cuban street food toasted sandwich with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles & mustard (17.9) Not forgetting the Niño’s, there are all the delicious munchies little mouths enjoy such as Hamburgers, Crispy Calamari and Nachos (10).
What would be a Cuban inspired menu without Buñuelos; warm donut balls, tossed in cinnamon-sugar, served with couverture chocolate pot & berry compote (12.9) or the El Domingo (THE Sundae); Vanilla ice cream, plantains, churros, couverture chocolate, whipped cream, strawberries, glace cherries (14.9).
The bar menu has been revisited too, bringing it back to its roots and keeping the dark heart of Cuban cocktails alive, with specialty Cuban cocktails such as the Mojito, El Presidente, Cuba Libre & El Nacional, along with a list of new tropical signature cocktails to come. Great for balmy nights, there’s cocktail and sangria jugs (29.9) and an extensive range of wines & beers. Immerse yourself in the full Cuban experience with the Rum & Cigar Bar featuring Cuban and Latin American Rums and a vast selection of Cuban Cigars.
Of course, no real experience would be complete without a taste of Coco Cubano’s own espresso blend, Havana Roast, using world-class coffee beans from plantations in Cuba, Brazil, Mexico & New Guinea, crafted locally with the master roasters of Gabriel Coffee. Then for the ultimate indulgence there are Coco Cubano’s signature hot chocolate drinks, made from melted single origin Cuban couverture chocolate (Milk, Dark or White). For those looking for something refreshing the Iced Fruit Granitas are available in a variety of flavours (6.7)
Coco Cubano provides the perfect tropical escape, celebrating the international destination for fun and frivolity combined with a vibrant and uplifting atmosphere, with venues nationally, open early till late, 7 days for breakfast, lunch, dinner & late night eats, drinks & desserts allowing guests to indulge in the celebrated traditions of this well- loved & vibrant Caribbean Island Oasis. For reservations and further information visit
Let Coco Cubano transport you to a faraway place and time, Viva la vida; live the life!
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by Arrnott Olssen
Editor Rogue Homme