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Elevated Anatolian dining at Coco Grill & Lounge, Tower Bridge

Elevated Anatolian dining at Coco Grill & Lounge, Tower Bridge

Travel and food writer Baldwin Ho experiences a premium Anatolian dining experience at Shad Thames

April 13th, 2023

Shad Thames has been the location of choice for romantic diners wanting the iconic Tower Bridge as a backdrop to their gastronomic feast. Coco Grill & Lounge fits the bill with an expansive shisha garden terrace filled with sumptuous floral decorations. The chic interiors also deliver on the premium experience front with faux orchard trees, lush velvet banquettes and mood lighting fit for a Hollywood film set. But is it all style over substance you might ask? The answer is a definitive no.

The menu is halal-friendly, and vegetarian-friendly with allergens clearly labelled. It is expansive, so if one of your guests isn't in the mood for Anatolian cuisine, they can for a comforting plate of vegan 'meatball' pasta instead. You can also enjoy slow-cooked duck tacos marinated with a hoisin sauce. A highlight of the restaurant is its redemption cocktail bar menu. All the drinks are alcohol-free and they've worked with the best connoisseurs in the business to deliver an exceptional offering. For the classic 1920s cocktail, Bees Knee’s, they've only used the finest ingredients such as Sicilian lemon along with floral honey to make for a welcoming aperitif. The garnishes often include floral decorations in line with the restaurant interiors. There are zero-alcohol wines, classic mocktails and milkshakes and I would not be surprised to discover, they have the most inventive alcohol-free menu in London.

The eye-catcher on the menu is their 35-day aged Tomahawk steak served with truffle Parmigiano mayo with the option to wrap it in gold for £50. This pairs with their Espora 24k Gold Champagne (de-alcoholised), which contains 24-karat gold flakes. They are not items I would personally order normally, but you can appreciate they are targeting the Salt Bae audience.

The less flashy dishes had greater appeal with the silky, smooth black cod a particular highlight. It was well-marinated with kaffir lime and miso and cooked delicately so the freshness was retained with the flavours well-infused. Their incarnation of the dish is arguably superior to the original served up at Nobu. Mixed Coco Shish is always a moreish crowd-pleaser. Their version consists of marinated lamb and chicken served with tzatziki and chilli sauce. It is elegantly presented with Tetris-like neatness, unlike versions you'll see in more casual establishments where you're often presented with an Everest of indiscernible meat. Their main course portion sizes tend to be more restrained which is ideal if you want to pair it with side dishes and enjoy a dessert. For an indulgent treat, opt for their messy wedges. The potatoes are topped with caramelised mushrooms, sriracha mayo, turkey bacon and spring onions and topped with copious amounts of Gruyère.

Presentation is everything at Coco Grill & Lounge. You'll often see the use of dry ice to deliver a more impactful presentation such as their crispy spiced shrimp starter. But even if you take away the edible flowers, and the mysterious smoke, the quality of the ingredients genuinely shines through. For example, with their cheese and spinach pide, they only use baby spinach as they are more tender and the finest of Mozzarella cheese.

We didn't have any stomach space left during our visit for dessert but we are looking forward to returning soon and trying their signature Turkish baklava and the underrated Kunafa. It is a baked kataifi pastry filled with cheese and topped with vanilla. It does take 20 minutes to prepare so do order before you've finished your main courses.


Baldwin Ho

Baldwin Ho

An intrepid adventurer and foodie, Baldwin is always on the lookout for latest trends on the culinary scene as well as pushing himself out of his comfort zone in trying out new activities. He has a particularly keen interest in food and travel photography.

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