The third part of a trinity of well-oiled café-bars, this Coco Momo is a relatively new addition to Theobolds Road and it delivers very good quality food and drink in pleasant surroundings.
Already a big hit in Marylebone Village and Kensington, Coco Momo has all the hallmarks of a concept that could easily be replicated across the capital. The food is unfussy, tasty and crowd-pleasing, the design is slick and could be rolled out without too much fuss, and the service is bang on the money.
Occupying a domineering corner spot on Theobolds Road, it's easy to spot Coco Momo thanks to its orange canopies with the venue’s signature font. Inside, it’s got a continental café vibe going on, with exposed brick walls, high-backed claret coloured leather banquettes, a semi-open plan kitchen at one end surrounded by white tiles and a bookcase with real books – as opposed to the horrible fake wallpaper bookcases venues seem to love these days. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze but there’s a bit of seating out front, too.
There’s a real buzz at lunchtimes when local workers pack themselves in for nice bite to eat. Practically every seat is spoken for and there’s a real mix of young and old. Despite the numbers, staff go about their business in a completely unflustered fashion and seem to know their menu inside out.
Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Coco Momo has plenty in the way of comforting, crowd-pleasing things to choose from. At lunchtimes, the rotisserie corn-fed chicken seems particularly popular and it comes with fries and salad (half: £10.50; whole: £21).
If you prefer the starter-main course route, the carpaccio of beef with rocket and parmesan and horsedaish sauce is a good place to start. Nicely seared on the outside with a crimson-colour inside, the beef works well with the other elements of the dish, although it is noticeably thickly sliced. Alternatively, the fresh crab with avocado and tomato arrives in a tightly packed mound and all of the flavours work well together with a creamy mayo-based sauce underpinning the whole dish.
Mains include fish and chips, steaks and so on but the salad section is worthy of closer inspection, especially if you have a busy afternoon back in the office to contend with. The chorizo and squid salad (£10) on a bed of golden quinoa and floppy salad leaves is a clear winner; the chorizo is pungent, intense, good quality and there’s plenty of it, as there is of the succulent squid. The mackerel nicoise (£9) also gets singled out for praise as the quality of the fish is exemplary and it is nicely bronzed thanks to some time under the grill.
Soft drinks like the Belvoir organic pressed juices and Eager juices show this is a business that’s clearly aiming to be a better option than your average high street chain. The fairly rare German Erdinger lager is on draught (£4.75 a pint) and Meantime and Brooklyn are the stand-out options in bottles. Wine is divided up into descriptive categories and, if you’ve ever visited one of the Food and Fuel pubs – The Roebuck in Chiswick and The Queens in Crouch End, for example – you may well spot that Coco Momo is a project from the same people as the wine is listed in a very similar manner and includes the perennial favourite, the Thesaurum Corvina/Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (£21.95 per bottle). The cheapest wine comes in at just shy of the £20 mark.
The Last Word
Undoubtedly a concept that can roll and roll out across the capital, Coco Momo is already a well-oiled machine, with faultless service, very respectable food and drink and a well thought through design that will fit snugly into any fairly affluent neighbourhood.