By Sherazade Khan
Before losing our senses over the food, let’s get one thing straight: Reaching Cocochan (which is located on Tipu Sultan Road) from Defence, on a weekday, is quite a trek! Having said that, by no means do I mean don’t bother going… just plan ahead and check your Google maps thoroughly to beat the traffic-ridden paths.
That aside, the second you step into the restaurant, especially after a grueling forty minute car drive, you’re welcomed by a warm and inviting interior done ever so thoughtfully by Najmi Bilgrami. It’s chic and sophisticated with gold accents that don’t look tacky or unnecessarily opulent. The vast space inside is a refreshing change from the crowded restaurants one is used to, and I was impressed to see that it was packed, even on a Thursday night!
After a quick tour of the live Teppenyaki grill, which no other restaurant in Karachi (barring hotels) has, and the sushi counter, we sat down to look at the menu and order our appetizers. The staff was friendly, attentive, and helped us decide what to eat.
The owner is a seasoned foodie, who has been in the restaurant business for seven years now with previous ventures – Bella Vita and Del Frio – doing considerably well.
The reason behind opening Cocochan? He saw a gap in the area for oriental fine dining and conquered it!
Starters – some were wow others were good
The Chicken Corn Soup was piping hot with a flavourful broth that is often lacking at other Chinese restaurants while the Tom Yum was delicious, but lacking some of the authentic Thai flavours.
If you’re a sushi and maki fan, be sure to try the Dynamite Maki which was exceptional! In case you’re unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, the dish includes prawn tempura wrapped in rice and covered with tempura flakes, tobico, and teriyaki sauce.
We also had some assorted nigri and though the sushi wasn’t bad, it was a tad bit chunkier than others available in Karachi.
I have to admit, I love dim sum, so we ordered Prawn Dumplings. They may not be your traditional type, but were absolutely delicious with a spicy kick that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Mains were to die for
The Grilled Prime Beef was done to perfection and a prime cut indeed which (almost) melted in our mouths. It was sautéed in garlic with wasabi and soya dressing that added a delicate yet interesting flavour.
We opted to go for two very different chicken entrees – Stir Fried Chicken served in a bird’s nest and Thai Red Curry. The latter was full-bodied with thin slivers of chicken that were tender and bursting with flavour, while the stir fried chicken packed a punch. It had our taste buds on fire, but in a good way!
Desserts on offer are Coconut Macaroon Crumble Cake, Lemon Cheesecake, Tempura Ice Cream and Lotus Ice Cream, but sadly only the lemon cheesecake was available on the day.
I would definitely like to visit again, but perhaps not during the rush hour!
It’s worth noting, that the seafood is sourced fresh on a daily basis, which is essential, especially when it comes to sushi and sashimi. The large area means this venue is perfect for large family or corporate get-together and is great for Friday lunches from the office if your office happens to be on Shahrah-e-Faisal or I. I. Chundrigar Road!
You can visit their Facebook page for reservation details.