Cozied up in a quiet corner of Jumeirah's Galleria Mall, Cocoa Room is a tricky place to pick because it's doors close at 11:30 AM every morning. If you want to dine at this restaurant, you have to work for it. That means coming up with a morning a strategy and resisting the snooze button!
Nope! Despite Cocoa Room's hectic weekend traffic, the restaurant doesn't accept reservations. This is a major faux pas since the restaurant only operates from 8 AM to 11:30 AM. After that, it transforms into Slider Station. Our suggestion to nab a table is to dive in early on a weekday.
Your chances of finding a vacant spot depend on when you drop in. If you saunter in on a weekday, it's like walking down the red carpet. All you have to do is sashay down the entrance and station your wagon in any spot of your choice. It's an entirely different story on the weekend, though. Slip your hiking shoes on because you'll be parking miles away from the restaurant.
Greeting and seating
We were greeted with a gentle nod by Cocoa Room's maître d' and were guided through the spacious restaurant to a table of our choice. We were lucky to grab a seat by the window, with a lovely view of Jumeirah soaked in the morning sunlight. Serenaded by classical French music, we perused the menu while our glasses were filled with water and cups with coffee.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
Our waitress was a delight – a warm personality which was the perfect accompaniment to the chilly atmosphere in the restaurant. She misheard one of our orders but was swift to replace it with the right dish. Playful and polite – she was as rosy as the vase of flowers sitting on our table.
A bowl of maple and pecan granola, two croissants with little bowls of Nutella spread on the side, a serving of vol au vent topped with scrambled eggs and warm camembert. To whet our whistle, we ordered a cup of cappuccino (it was more like a bucket than a cup) and an espresso.
A quick glance at Cocoa Room's menu left me feeling disappointed – it was an endless sea of waffles, pancakes, and granola. I've never been able to tune into sweet breakfasts as a thing – for me, it's always been eggs and bacon or I'm out the door. Just when I was about to throw in the towel and settle for a saccharine plate of syrup-drenched doughnuts, I flipped the menu and stumbled upon a savory section of French delicacies. I was spoiled for choice with options ranging from poached eggs and herb polenta to eggs menemen. I finally pulled myself together and opted for the vol au vent topped with creamy scrambled eggs and gooey camembert.
Courtesy extended during the meal
The waitress didn't hover over our table which was a relief. She paid exactly the amount of attention she needed to, we felt neither smothered nor neglected. Perhaps it's was too early in the morning for every member of staff to be smiling but the general mood was a little dreary.
Food quality and taste
We kick started our breakfast with a couple of croissants. Soft on the outside and flaky on the outside, it felt like a baked cloud in my mouth. Slathering it with Nutella took it to the next level!
When my vol au vent finally arrived, it looked too good to eat. I wanted to dreamily gaze at it all morning instead of ruining its flawless appearance by sinking a knife down its middle. But I soldiered on and tucked into it, skipping a heartbeat with every bite. It was the perfect relief from the restaurant's frigid temperature – warm, soft, and squidgy. Accented with skinny stems of chive, the dish was something I'd happily scrape eggs and bacon off my breakfast table for.
My partner's bowl of maple and pecan granola was accompanied by dainty little bowls of vibrant berries, chopped bananas, and fresh yogurt. While drowned in warm milk, it was the perfect start to his morning. At the end of his meal, he didn't feel bloated and was even considering a mid-morning jog. Although, I think his morning coffee is to credit for that instead of the granola.
While Cocoa Room is notorious for its packed tables, endless queues, and lack of a reservation system – it's worth waking up earlier than usual for. While hobbling out of bed and dragging myself to the restaurant wasn't the most fun, I certainly enjoyed the amber glow of the morning light complemented by the elegant French instrumental music and industrial chic interiors.
While Cocoa Room isn't as cheap as picking up a felafel wrap from your neighborhood cafeteria, it's not as expensive as a cup of gold-dusted cappuccino either. The dishes are appropriately priced for the restaurant's location in the city. As a matter of fact, it's more prudently priced than most of its breakfast competitors in the area. The grand total of our sumptuous breakfast was 147 dirhams.
Overall, would you return?
Not if I have to grow a personal collection of bunyuns while waiting outside in a queue. I'd totally recommend it if you've got a Dubai breakfast bucket list, though! The menu features a refreshing change from the classic selection of eggs benedict, chia pudding, and buttermilk waffles!
The banoffee pancake and burrito del sol.