Saturday, April 11, 2009

Coco Inc

In a departure from routine, after seeing Coco Inc's menu we decided breakfast looked a better option than an evening affair. Coco Inc sports a fairly standard bistro menu.

I'm a fan of the home-cooked breakfast cooked anywhere but home, and to be fair my standards have been set by a few really good places.

Coco Inc looks impressive from the street; open and stark, chocolate-brown-and-cream and strong shadows against the walls from uplighting and decorative sticks. Loudish yet smooth ambient music played - think Sade meets Massive Attack. You still awake? Sorry - my fault.

If it helps, imagine a fifty-something man with a shaved head and designer black tee-shirt. That's not to replace your thoughts of music, by the way; just to paint a picture of our fellow diners. I'm not an elegant person, and to be frank elegance and breakfast are not normally just-got-out-of-bedfellows. On the other hand, for all of its post-modern hard surfaces mixed with organic stuff (like sticks), the small child who walked nonchalantly to a power point behind a couch, plugged in her game console and slowly sank out of sight seemed to fit right in.

Service vacillated slowly between languid and perfunctory, tinged with the occasional harried look. Breakfast was ordered and arrived some 40 minutes later. W's came well before the others, giving us plenty of time to admire his blueberry pancakes.

They were fluffy, pancreas-burstingly sweet and had been dealt a generous hand of berries. Maple syrup was provided... a mini-bedpan.

A ordered the perennial Eggs Benedict.

E's scrambled eggs and bacon and Felicity's "big breakfast" had all the things you'd expect. Decently cooked eggs, sausage extrudings and (I can't understand this) hash browns from a packet. Another puzzle - E's bacon was crisp and decently smokey while F's was damp and flaccid. Pepper had to be requested, and old-skool style, was ground at the table from a space shuttle-sized pepper grinder. Do people steal them?

Everything came with a surfeit of Turkish bread, including my chicken "burger". I'm all for Turkish bread but was surprised to discover there are limits, even to my own breadly desires. The chicken itself was over-grilled, thinly sliced and with a generic asian sweet sauce. The chips were good but the overall impression was of a fish and chip shop hamburger with a little more salad on a big plate. And a bit drier.

I didn't want coffee (which is pretty strange). F said the coffee was recognizable as such. Faint praise indeed.

All in all a pretty underwhelming experience. If I was going out for a relaxed Sunday breakfast quite a few places in Northcote and Thornbury are closer and better. At some point in the future we'll report back on Thornbury favourites Pippa May Cook and Crunch. Next stop, however, will be Bekers.

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