CocoCafe is on the 2nd floor of the ever-buzzing Palladium Mall. Surrounded by stores like Sephora, The Collective, Bobbi Brown and Aldo, CocoCafe seems set to become the ideal place for tired shoppers to sip on a Godiva coffee or bite into sumptuous Valrhona cookies.
The compact café is a natural extension of the luxury chocolate shop that adjoins it, CocoCart. Started by brothers Karan and Arjun Ahuja, CocoCart sells a wide range of imported confectionery at its brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. Mumbaikars Karan and Arjun applied their two decades of experience in selling imported confectionery and keen understanding of the Indian consumer to launch the brand during the pandemic. Speaking about the venture, Karan and Arjun shared, “CocoCart started when we realized the immensity of our chocolate consumption as a family. Repeated trips to grocery stores in the hunt for good quality chocolate rarely yielded success, especially during the quarantine when travels came to a halt and buying from abroad remained a distant dream.”
While Karan focuses on the online aspect, Arjun’s forte is the offline strategy, and within a little over a year, CocoCart has spread its wings to six cities. Their aim is to deliver global chocolates, melt-free within 24 hours nationwide. Specialty fine chocolate brands like Valrhona, Neuhaus, Godiva, Whittakers, and Wedel are their forte. One of their latest launches is Läderach, a Swiss chocolate brand popular for their FrischSchoggi (fresh chocolate), handcrafted without additives or preservatives by artisans in Switzerland. All the chocolate is made to order and will be air-shipped directly into India for a limited launch during the festive season.
The brothers’ venture into imported chocolate retail led them to also launch an experiential format space where consumers could enjoy high quality sweet and savoury bites using products from their stores. The Palladium café greets you with lightbulb signs, rustic wooden furniture and an array of dessert selections laid out in the grab-and-go section for patrons to choose from.
The menu boasts of breakfast items like Avocado on Toast, Loaded Hummus, Mushroom Crepes, Mushroom Baguette sandwiches, croissant sandwiches, and a variety of wraps. Burrito bowl, Peri Peri Chicken Bowl, and Pain au Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher croissants also make an appearance. Desserts have been ideated using chocolates sold by CocoCart, like the Sinfully Nutty Lindt Tart, KitKat Biscoff Cheesecake, and an After Eight and Valrhona chocolate mousse.
At the Palladium outlet of CocoCafe by CocoCart, my dinner companion and I started our meal with a Vietnamese iced coffee each. Made using Godiva brand coffee powder, the beverage had the perfect amount of condensed milk-to-coffee ratio. Their menu even has a large selection of hot chocolate, and you can choose the chocolate you want it to be made with. Lindt, Godiva, After Eight, Valrhona are all available, and its perfect for December’s chilly weather.
Apart from desserts, CocoCart surprisingly enough has many savouries to offer. We ordered the recommended Turkish Scramble, a silken tofu scramble, topped with smoked chilli oil and scallions, and served with sourdough. While its first appearance is deceiving, it looks like a regular egg scramble, this dish is anything but that. The silken tofu is the perfect texture and the heat from the chilli oil provides a nice hit of flavour, which was only accentuated by the crunch of the scallions. The sourdough was extremely delicious. It was, all in all, a must-try, and my personal favourite from the spread of dishes we tried.
Next, we moved on to the Loaded Hummus, which was a textbook-perfect version of the dip, however, the gluten-free crackers served with it were sensational. The peri peri roasted nuts on the top were a great touch to elevate the underlying toastiness of the sesame seeds in the hummus. The Chipotle Chicken sandwich was a great mix of spice-and-sour, the former from the marinade, the latter from jalapeño salsa and cheese. It was made with a crusty and heavenly baguette that was freshly baked, in-house. In fact, if sold separately, the bread at the café would be a hit amongst gourmands in the city.
Those who love the idea of a healthy bowl with boatloads of flavour, will enjoy the Okie Poké bowl. Made with blue pea sushi rice, vegan tuna, aka slow-roasted watermelon, avocado, edamame, pickled veggies, and lime leaf cashews, it is drenched in a bomb sauce which is pure genius. The sauce is made with coconut milk that may seem sweet at first, but it backed with a hit of chilli for a lingering spicy aftertaste. The bowl is liberally sprinkled with avocado and edamame as well, ensuring diners get one of each component in every well-loaded spoonful.
Dessert was a decadent affair, consisting of a passionfruit milk chocolate mousse and a Valrhona dome, both of which were made by An Ode to Gaia, a luxury plant-based patisserie. The passionfruit entremet was a combination of toasted coconut sponge and passionfruit curd, balanced by layers of Valrhona ganache. While it was a bit sweet, the tang of the fruit cut through the sugar. A popular dessert at the café is the Valrhona dome, a gluten-free chocolate sponge, Valrhona mousse encasing a raspberry jelly. The confection looked pretty as picture and was extremely rich in chocolate, ideal for chocoholics everywhere. We could not leave CocoCafe without trying the one dish that has made it instafamous, the Godiva cookies. Served warm with a crack of sea salt, these cookies ooze chocolate goodness, and taste just as good as they look.
Those who want the full restaurant experience, head to their 1500 square feet flagship outpost in Fort, Mumbai. However, for those who frequent Palladium Mall, Lower Parel, CocoCafe provides the perfect space to stop for a coffee and extravagant desserts. CocoCafe by CocoCart also has outlets in Oberoi mall, T2 Airport, Mumbai, Karjat and Khopoli.