It’s a love story.
It’s all about love for the Thai-style hotpot which prompted husband-and-wife team of Jannio Shun and Elizabeth Thea to bring back the popular restaurant brand Coca to Malaysia. Yes, the word is out – Coca Restaurant is now back here, starting with its brand new outlet in Bangsar Shopping Center!
It’s endearing to hear from Jannio and Elizabeth how Coca Restaurant featured very much in their courting days. They both loved the hotpot so much that they never failed to dine in Coca at least every other week, back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. However, the old Coca restaurants closed about 7-8 years ago and I, for one, was very sad to see their departure. You see, I too was a fan of Coca and I always asked to top up the Suki dipping sauce whenever I enjoyed my hotpot there – mostly in the Subang Parade branch, back many years ago.
Fast-forward to 2018 … when Jannio and Elizabeth decided to delve into the F&B business, Coca was a natural choice for them as they wanted to bring back a brand they loved. Thus, an entrepreneurial bond was forged with Coca & Mango Tree Restaurants Worldwide to bring Coca back to Malaysian shores. The new restaurant in Bangsar Shopping Center takes up a corner lot where there’s plenty of natural light spilling in, energizing up the contemporary-themed dining space in a most refreshing way.
Let’s talk about Coca’s signature hotpot. There are 3 types of soup to choose from: Chicken Soup (RM15), Southern Spicy Soup (RM15) and their signature Tomyum Soup (RM20). Diners can opt for the Yin Yang (2 favourite soups at RM25) or go for a single pot.
Once you have selected your soup/s, then choose to have either the platters of mixed ingredients or go for the a la carte items. Coca offers several platters like the Premium Beef Platter (RM138) with imported Australian Beef Fillet, Australian Striploin Slices and Premium Beef Balls. Then there’s the Meat Combo Platter at RM98 and Seafood Platter at RM148. Individual items are available as a la carte orders, starting from RM5 a plate.
Besides hotpot, the menu at Coca features a good selection of a la carte Thai-Cantonese dishes. We tried a few items from the appetizers list and what stood out for me were the Crispy Durian Seafood and Shrimp Cakes. It’s a strange combo – durian and seafood and I was a bit skeptical about this at first but surprisingly it was good! Creamy durian pulp mixed with some seafood chunks in rectangular parcels, deep-fried till crispy – who would have thought that can be addictive?
Crispy Durian Seafood (RM23) durian and mixed seafood roll
Shrimp Cakes (RM27) deep-fried homemade shrimp patties
On the other hand, the Soya Chicken and Som Tham Thai were just rather average. I couldn’t discern any “specialness” about the special Coca soya sauce in the chicken dish. Som Tham has always been my favourite Thai salad but somehow the version served here is a tad too tame for me.
Soya Chicken (RM26) slow-cooked chicken in Coca special soya sauce
Som Tam Thai (RM23)
As a fan of all things crabby, it was just too hard to resist the Claypot Baked Mud Crab with Glass Noodles, Mud Crab in Curry Sauce and Crabmeat Fried Rice. The crabs used here could be ones from Sri Lanka as the shells were thin and easily cracked, revealing tender sweet crabmeat within. To me, you really can’t go wrong with crab dishes if the crabs are super fresh.
Claypot Baked Mud Crab with Glass Noodles (RM128) with secret Coca sauce
Mud Crab in Curry Sauce (RM138) Coca signature yellow curry egg sauce
As for vegetables, if you are having the hotpot here, I’d recommend you order extra greens to be dunked into the soup. Else, you can go for the stir-fried vegetable dishes like Kailan with Salted Fish, a Thai staple.
Stir-fried Kailan with salted fish (RM22)
If there’s still room for dessert, do check out Coca’s “patanko” which is actually a gigantic “yiu tiao” and it’s served with a bowl of condensed milk. I don’t really care for the milk, I prefer to eat the patanko on its own. Fresh out of the fryer, the crispy skin and fluffy soft doughy interior was really good! My other favourite item on the Desserts list is the Coconut Jelly – silky wobbly jelly made with coconut water and had strips of young coconut embedded.
Patanko with Condensed Milk (RM14)
Need something cold to end your meal? Go for their coconut ice-cream served with 4 toppings in little glasses separately.
Chatuchak Ice Cream Set (RM20)
Jannio and Elizabeth have plans to open a few more Coca outlets in the coming months, so watch out for announcements later. For now, if you are craving for that familiar Thai hotpot with the memorable chilli suki dip, just head on to Bangsar Shopping Centre!
Lot T1, Level 3 Bangsar Shopping Centre
285 Jalan Maarof
59000 Kuala Lumpur