4, Ground Floor, Welldone Tech Park Building, Sector 48, Sohna Road, Gurgaon
I am at the deserted Welldone Tech Park Building, opposite the Fortune Hotel at Sohna Road, to try out the latest eatery. Frankly, I am a bit perplexed at the name. Is Cocoa House a chocolate shop, or is cocoa a predominant ingredient in its dishes? The reality is a café, that not only serves beautiful food, but is one of the few that is in tune with the nutritional demands of the twenty-first century.
The restaurant is airy – with high ceilings, and colourful seating. The food philosophy is simple, says the man in charge, Bawa Aditya Singh, “We serve multiple cuisines, and only those dishes that our chefs are very good at.” The servings are generous single portions, and the price reasonable.
The menu is focused and promising, and I am intrigued enough to start with the aloe vera drink (Rs. 120). It does not taste like much, but does feel refreshing. I can feel my body ‘charged-up’, and nudging me to go ahead and indulge myself.
I start with the French clear soup, chicken veloute (Rs. 80). It is a delicate and fragrant soup, with a Thai touch of lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime. The dainty chicken meatballs are tender and moist. Next are the starters. Shish touk (Rs. 150) is perfectly seasoned and tasty. The mutton seekh (Rs. 199) is good – though a bit dry. The star starter is the vegetarian hara bhara kabab (Rs. 140), which is soft yet crispy, and simply melts in the mouth. The reason, as Chef Naval Sharma explains, is their philosophy of keeping their food healthy and simple. They have substituted the potato with fresh cottage cheese, thus giving it an extra softness that is wonderful on the palate.
The main course that I have chosen sounds easy to make, but is not. Poaching a fish requires sensitive and deft handling. The poached fish with rice (Rs. 290) that is served exceeds my expectations. A fillet of basa has been poached in a bouillon mix of honey, basil, mint, ginger, garlic and fresh red chillies, making for a symphony in the mouth.
The dessert is a fresh ice-cream treat of fig and honey with mint (Rs. 100). It has a flavoury texture of the earthy tones of fig, the caramelized crunch of the honey, and the fresh zing of the mint.
Cocoa House is a welcome addition to the excellent eateries of Gurgaon. The food they serve is light, healthy and full of tasty surprises; preceded by their unique ‘charge-up menu’ of healthy juices. Head there whenever your body and taste buds need pampering.