I, hubby, our two boys and their nanny arrived at Coco's barely filled restaurant at Sheikh Zayed Road on a mid Saturday. Granted it's past the usual lunch time, it still looked odd. Then again, Dubai is saturated with gajillions of dining choices that they really have to be on top of their game to convert curious diners into patrons.
Based on our experience, I don't know how many converts they have made, we definitely are not.
Thirty-eight (38) options for breakfast. One hundred thirty-seven (137) for lunch/dinner. Seventeen (17) desserts and the remaining Twenty-three (23) are for drinks. Too many to create at its best and for diners like myself, it was confusing for my appetite. Nevertheless since we are already there, we thought we might as well try to enjoy the meal. I had a feeling though that mediocrity is inevitable. It was quantity over quality and it's never a great thing. I'd rather go to a small place that offers ten outstanding dishes than infinite forgettable ones.
I told the server I want to order fajita, which he immediately shut down with, "Oh, that's very spicy". And since he made the assumption that I couldn't handle spicy, I asked him how did it fair to him when he tried it, to which he replied, "it's one step milder from Indian spice". Duh? So I asked again, "yes, I heard yah but what do you think of it?" That's me showing him how assumptions sound, me hoping that he sees where I'm heading to. Knowing that his tolerance of spice has no bearing on mine, I'd like to push the button and assume away the way he was doing it. Like talking to a smart mouth wall he replied, "I DON'T KNOW since I don't know how much spice you can take". I would have enjoyed interrogating him until he realizes how arrogant and nonsensical he sounded but we're not in court and I'm trying my best to keep my excitement up for the soup.
I just wish F&B management train their staff up to the mark and consistently remind them of what standard service is, most especially what manners are.
I find it ridiculous sometimes that some staff take the lazy road or the subpar level expecting us to cut them a slack just because they're from the same country as where we came from. I really take offense and find it discriminatory. Why attend to customers differently based on nationality? At the end of the day, we are all paying customers. We don't want you to treat us special, we only asked fair.
Anywho, we proceeded and ordered Baked Potato and Cream of Broccoli Soups in Bread Bowls. Deep Fried Calamari. Mixed Fajita to share, one of the burgers for my hubby while our oldest boy chose Gone Fishing and Chips. The youngest decided for Champ's Chunky Chicken Strips.
Our soups arrived and we were very happy with it. Even my kids were impressed. The presentation, the taste, it really was a soup experience, one which I would like to re-create at home. Between the two soups? Baked potato was the clear winner. Broccoli was top notch too but just a tad lower than the potato.
Happy ever after however ended after the soups arrived.
So irritating that hubby had to say something. Clenched jaw and trying his best not to lose it, he told the server the right way to serve food. The difference between courses and the importance of enjoying the meal hot.
Server was apologetic a little too late. Damage was already done. Our meal felt like a disaster. Appetite disappearing fast. He retreated to the kitchen's entrance where somehow every single server retreats to.
Bread rolls with butter on the side was okay, tasted commercial as opposed to baked fresh in-house. Calamari was okay but I think they could have done better with the dip. There's nothing extra ordinary, we're not expecting it to be superb in the first place.
Since the server did not bother to ask how hubby wanted his burger patty done, it arrived well done of course. Seriously? If I wanted a template burger, I'll just go to MickeyD's or some other fast food chain. Assuming how a particular customer like their meat done, is total no-no. This server looked like his guide on how to attend to us was based on our nationality. Assumptions like that really irks me to no end. Lucky for him, hubby does like his burger well done, I like mine cooked medium and sometimes I even like mine medium rare. Had it been my order, it would have been a pretty interesting and entertaining discussion.
Burger verdict? Hubby said it was like any other burger, there's nothing special to it. There's nothing that separates them from other fast food chains. The chips that came with it were like every other too, from a huge packet, ready to be fried. Definitely not hand cut. His meal was ho-hum.
Moving on to my curious Fajita. Lackluster to say the least. The Mexican rice was uber spicy which overpowered everything else. Chicken strips were dry, so, honestly, this dish did not do it for me, at all. Not the beef strips which were also forgettable, not the onions or capsicums that came with it, nothing in the dish will ever make me order it again. Definitely, spicier than Indian food, I think they miss the mark on this dish altogether. Fajita is sooooo hard to do wrong... but they managed. Maybe it's time to revise their recipe? If the server felt the urge to jump in and warn customers, it only means he knows it's not a tasty dish to fork your dirhams over. Only problem is, he didn't really communicate well.
My kids enjoyed their meal which was puzzling. I tasted both their meals and it tasted like the ones that came out of a box. I think they will say the same thing had I fed them "Smiley Meals"... meaning, no difference in taste, just difference in price. Disappointing.
Don't take my word for it though... explore. Consistency has always been an issue in most F&B outlets, so there's a chance that our dining experience could be different from yours. If you do happen to dine at Coco's and find a dish that redeems them or had a better service than what we received, drop me a line via comments!
If Coco's team read this? I think it's time you overhaul your menu and have some focus. Under promise but over deliver. It certainly has better results than the other way around.
www.cocosme.ae seems to be under construction. Right now it's a static one pager.
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