Monthly Archives: April 2016

Cocoa Ooze – revisited

full-star copy



I don’t usually do revisits, particularly of places that had scored quite low on A Black Spot; and I was rather apprehensive of returning to Cocoa Ooze remembering my previous experience of it, not long after its opening – however, I’m glad I decided to go after all.

It was a friend’s suggestion to meet up there for weekend lunch and gossip, a good few months ago. At that point, I hadn’t seen her in a while but we both only had a relatively short window for a catch up, and frankly, I hadn’t been out for coffee much those days, so was feeling lost for ideas of where else to go – so conceded to the Ooze.

We managed to secure a seat in the crowded cafe, and started with a savoury lunch – I remember regretting not going for the delicious-looking parsnip soup my friend went for, as I was munching on a rather unexciting sandwich. Once that was done, we ordered our coffees; I was sceptical looking at the menu, still having this nagging thought at the back of my mind that in the kingdom of chocolate I should definitely be having a cocoa-based brew – and eventually decided to give the Ooze mocha another chance.

Mocha at Cocoa Ooze

Mocha at Cocoa Ooze

I was still sceptical when the drinks arrived to the table, but seeing my friend thoroughly enjoy her white chocolate, I went for it – and could not contain my amazement. It was delicious!

It was not the time to take notes, even the mental ones, other than that I should maybe reconsider my star grading for this place. And – although it did take me another couple of months to get round to it – I actually returned to Cocoa Ooze for a third time.

This time was fully intentional; I had made it a day-off Thursday to beat the crowds as I set off shopping, with a time for a mocha firmly set in the schedule. As I arrived well after lunchtime, the place was still half-full; a quick glance at the menu didn’t sway my decision – I still ordered a mocha, which arrived soon after I took my seat at one of the smaller tables.

Truth be told, I did not check back on my old review, so the presentation – with bits of unmelted chocolate visible through the glass – got me worried (oh, how perceptions change!) and I thought that maybe I had wasted a trip. I gave the brew a stir, I took a sip… and I let out a quiet “mmmmm”.

Whether it was the staff, the chocolate or the recipe that has changed over the last two years, I cannot tell, but this was a truly divine cup of coffee. It was deliciously dense and mellow sweet, with that authentic chocolate taste throughout – and at the same time it did not lack a caffeine punch, which however worked in perfect unison with the cocoa, rather than clashing with it. It was extremely moreish, so I got through it in no time… and topped it off with the little chocolate served alongside it.

At times, second guessing yourself is a good thing – I know it has been for me in this case, and I am really pleased to rediscover Cocoa Ooze for the masterful mocha house that it is!

Mocha: £3.00

Verdict justification: Amazing coffee with chocolate at its heart – what more does a great mocha need?

Categories: Aberdeen, Cafes, Local, UK | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Sand Dollar Cafe

full-star copy



After an extremely busy March I had a lot of catching up to do with one of my besties, which we decided to do over a weekend brunch… Which posed the dreaded question: “Where can we get a good brunch in Aberdeen?”. We investigated a few options but decided to go with the suggestion of another friend, her personal favourite – the Sand Dollar Cafe.

Before that morning I had only been to the place once before, and just for a coffee and cake – the beach-front location is not particularly convenient, especially on a weekend when it’s always a struggle to find a parking space. In fact, I did attempt another visit after that, but the place was packed out the door, so I ended up going elsewhere.

Another observation I had about the place was that both of those times the weather left a lot to wish for – and also this particular Saturday morning the rain rendered sitting outside impossible. Inside, the place was full, but thankfully there was only one other couple waiting to be seated ahead of us when we joined the queue, and five minutes later we could relax at a table.

Mocha at Sand Dollar Cafe

Mocha at Sand Dollar Cafe

With so much talking to do, the menus became a secondary distraction, so the first time a waitress came over to take our order, we were only prepared to get our coffees – which was probably for the best, as I was going to appreciate it that much more before my grumbling stomach got fed with something more substantial.

As our brews got delivered we ordered our food; I decided to be a bit naughty, adding to my traditional scrambled eggs not only bacon, but also haggis. This duty out of the way, I could focus on the conversation again, and my mocha – nicely presented in a tall, elegant glass.

My companion, being a supporter of my coffee mission, gave me the time to savour those first few sips. I could tell from the look of it that it would be tasty – the flat and shiny surface of the milk on top spoke of professional steaming, while some undissolved bits of chocolate visible through the glass suggested authenticity… and I wasn’t disappointed.

The coffee was rich in cocoa flavour and caffeine punch, both harmonious in a smooth, luxurious concoction. The cherry on the top was a chocolate bean served with it (and any other coffee as I noticed, which gets extra points in my book) – it wasn’t needed to improve the taste of the coffee, but it did not affect it when you returned to drinking after chewing through the bean, which proves the superiority of the brew.

I would have easily had another of those if not for the ample brunch, that was as tasty as it was generous. All in all, I can understand why this is becoming a foodie favourite among my friends… and once the sun starts shinning on weekends, I can see myself stopping by the Sand Dollar more often, and enjoy my coffee outside, staring at the sea…

Mocha: £3.30

Verdict justification: Lovely coffee on top of great breakfast… And the beachside location is a bonus on a weekend.

Sand Dollar Cafe website

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