Still wide-eyed with awe after our tour around the absolutely fascinating chocolate sculptures at Boutique Le Chocolat, we were invited in for a very hearty lineup of lunch at the adjacent Cocoa Kitchen.
Yet another innovative catering concept by the MERAAS group, the restaurant revolves around one simple mono-ingredient in every dish: cocoa. You find it here in every single course; from savory starters and mains, cocoa is not just reserved for dessert.
Walking into Cocoa Kitchen is like entering a secluded world of its own. The amber lighting enhances the cocoa vibes of the place, and the interior decor take inspiration from an old chocolate factory, complete with exposed industrial piping and an open-view kitchen right at the front.
Cocoa Kitchen explores not only the savoury aspects of chocolate but also the gastronomic potential of the cocoa bean, such as the use of “nibs” – the sharp-tasting shards that are ground into chocolate – which feature throughout the menu, in the shape of breads and cakes as well as main meals including meat and fish.
Head Chef James McDonald completed extensive Chef training in his homeland of Australia before moving to the UK in 2005, where he put his skills to work in some of London’s premium restaurants. Pooling together years of experience internationally, he is now able to bring this exquisite cocoa-centric menu to Dubai.
From our starters round, the show-stopper on the table had to be Cocoa Kitchen’s signature Hay-Smoked Burrata. You can actually smell the characteristic woodiness of cocoa nibs in the smoke, and it lends an unexpected depth to the creamy, decadent burrata.
Ever thought of squid with cocoa? Probably not, but at Cocoa Room this unusual combination manages to work together beautifully.
They even have cocoa on their mildly spiced fries! Absolutely delicious.
From the main-course, here’s a few of my personal favorites:
If they do so much magic with cocoa in unconventional savory combinations, imagine desserts!
Cocoa Kitchen is an experience in itself, and you really don’t have to be a chocaholic to enjoy the food here. Each dish pays homage to the brilliance of Head Chef James McDonald. The cocoa nibs are there, playing games on the palette. Knowing it has been used, you look for it… you taste it out, and in the process, each bite is meticulously savored, spoon after spoon.
Fun Fact: Cocoa Kitchen uses up a total of 80 kilos of pure chocolate, and 20 kilos of cocoa nibs on a monthly basis!
Cocoa Kitchen is located in City Walk, Jumeirah (Store Number B02-00-12) Dubai. The restaurant is open daily from 8 am to midnight. Give them a call on +971 4 5905070 and follow their handles: