I did suggest in the last review – of The Coffee House – that it would be a good idea to look outside the “Union Street” box for quality coffee shops. I didn’t adhere to my own advice, as I only crossed to the other side of the high street to end up in Market Street’s Cocoa. And yes, it was by my own choosing.
To my defence, the place looks rather enticing – stylish and atmospheric on the outside, it stands out from the painfully colourful Kebab-scaffolding-and-Aberdeen Market surroundings; and the magic doesn’t disappear upon entering. Dark brown and white furnishings, atmospheric spot lighting and a modern (albeit steep-looking) staircase to the other floor – all completed with a restaurant-style staff. After all, this is a 3-in-1 establishment: a coffee house, a bar and a bistro, and on first impressions it didn’t seem to compromise on any of those.
I suggested to a friend that we should meet there for coffee one Saturday. Surprisingly, as we arrived just after midday, the place was empty – the ground floor at least – despite the high street heaving; but a few tables got taken in the following few quarters of an hour. Our order was quickly taken – unsurprisingly, considering the four members of staff had nothing else to do – although the waiting time for it to be served was slightly longer than expected in the circumstances.
I wasn’t sure what to make of my mocha when it arrived either – it had a dark chocolatey colour and a thick blob of foam on top. To be honest, I never made my mind up about it fully, as it turned out to be very much on the luxury-sweet-chocolate-side and not very on the punchy-coffee side. Frankly, I did wonder whether there was any coffee in it at all.
Apart from that, it was a decent cup of sweet brew; the foam didn’t prove too be too puffed or problematic either, whilst the serving of shortbread on the side was – as always – a nice touch (although it did arrive quite some time after the coffees).
I suppose Cocoa is indeed more of a dinery than a coffee shop and should be judged as such; it certainly provides a decent after-food coffee – but not amazing enough to make one substitute their dinner for it.
Verdict justification: Decent coffee in stylish surroundings. Worth a go.