Affordable

Coco Bamboo, Belsize Park

When I won a twitter competition for a two course dinner for two at Coco Bamboo and then never heard anything back about it for several weeks I wasn’t too impressed but finally I was able to make a booking for last week and boy was it worth the wait!

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My friend Michael lives in NW London so I invited him to join me. Our reservation was for 6:30pm and we were a few minutes late so I was surprised to see that the restaurant was completely empty, it did mean that we had our pick of seats in the restaurant.

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The super friendly waitress gave us menus and advised that despite the prize only stating food was included our first drinks would be complimentary too – including the cocktails! Score. Their cocktail menu is extensive so it took a while but I finally settled on a passionfruit mojito while Michael went for a traditional Brazilian rum punch.

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Keen to try out something a bit different I went for the Ackee and Saltfish – Jamaica’s national dish. Salt cod is sautéed with the ackee fruit, onions, peppers and spices to make a delightful dish with delicate flavours. I found the fish to be very small flaked pieces rather than big chunks but the flavour of the fish still makes it through. This can also be served as a main with rice which I think would be even more delicious and a great light option for those watching what they’re eating.

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Michael on the otherhand went for the jerked chicken wings. I didn’t try any myself but given that he polished them all off you can assume that they were pretty darn tasty!

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For main I stuck with the fish theme and decided to pay an extra supplement to have the seafood platter. In their own words “a feast of scallops, fresh prawns, tilapia and sea bream fillets served with fried cassava and mango salsa”. And what a feast it was! Everything was extremely fresh with the scallops being cooked to absolute perfection. I wasn’t a fan on the salsa finding it a bit on the sweet side but that’s my personal taste.

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Michael went for the mixed barbecue “A ‘grilliant’ array of meats: Picanha, chicken, pork ribs and Brazilian pork sausage served with peppercorn sauce, salad and chunky chips” (which we shared) also at a supplement. This platter was simply huge with well-cooked cuts of meat and the chips were fabulous and we also grabbed another couple of cocktails.

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You’d think after this spread we’d have no more room but we both decided we wanted the pudding. I wanted the lighter option of passion fruit mousse but sadly they didn’t have any available so we both had thick slabs of CocoBamboo chocolate cake.

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It was a bit heavy for me but really, really good. Positively stuffed we requested the bill only to be absolutely astounded to discover they had taken off both the cost of the desserts AND the supplements for our chosen mains; the only think we had to pay for were the second round of drinks we had which were included in their happy hour deal (two for £9 if I remember correctly) so we ended up paying about £12 including tip for a three course meal with two drinks each! Incredibly generous of them.

It was a different waitress who took our payment and she was a little confused by the bill but when I explained she lit up with excitement. It turned out that she and her husband (the chef) were the owners and they are clearly very passionate about their little venture. She invited us to take a look at the bar area which can be separated from the rest of the restaurant for private events and told us more about the history of the company as well as making recommendations for things to try on a return visit. (I’m gonna be brave and go for the goat curry!) I even gave her my blog card so hopefully she sees this post! (Sorry I can’t remember your name I am terrible with those.)

The service was attentive, the food was delicious, the atmosphere was really nice and the cocktails were absolutely fabulous – what more do you need? If you live or work in the area and fancy trying something a bit different I really recommend that you visit. Michael is even considering seeing if his company are interested in having their Christmas party there.

Coco Bamboo
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