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Coco Cubano, Kings Cross

2009 April 26

*UPDATE* I was contacted by Coco Cubano owner, Tony Melham, and invited back to experience the cafe “as intended”.  Tony very kindly apologised for the mistake, and told me a little of the history of the shop (formerly a notorious crim hangout a la Underbelly, and his passion for Cuba and the amazing Cuban single origin cocoa he sources. The menu is being updated and tweaked, and the papercup mistake won’t happen again!*UPDATE*

After our lovely lunch at The Sugarmill, we were after some dessert! Luckily, we had passed by Coco Cubano on the way, and noted it’s chocolate focus, and marked it for return.


We made it inside just before the crazy rain started and settled in for more Kings Cross people watching…

Coco Cubano is a fusion coffee house, bar and chocolate dealer, offering a range of of treats from hot chocolate, sandwiches, cocktails, and individual chocolates. The interior is a cute mix and match of furniture and funky wallpaper, giving it a relaxed vibe and reminding me of the bars I frequented at university:


Once we’ve secured our prime position by the window, we split up to peruse the menu at the counter…

There’s a selection of individual chocolates in a case, and lists of “Single Origin” coffees and chocolates. We order some waffles with icecream and chocolate sauce to share, and I order  the most expensive hot chocolate I’ve ever had: the Plantation 1748 Single origin Cuban hot chocolate which set me back a hefty $7.90 for the small. BF has the Negro El Presidente,  a large dark hot chocolate at $5.90.

The waffles arrive pronto:


They had a funny texture that neither I or BF could figure out? Were they stale? Hmm, no. Kind of very crystallised sugar though, and not enough chocolate 🙁  but still a satisfying sugar hit.


Our hot chocolates arrived, and I was surprised to see my $7.90 chocolate served in a paper cup. In fact I was downright embarrassed and kind of annoyed. Was this a mistake? Did they run out of actual cups? The table next to us got their hot beverage before us and theirs came in a ceramic cup. I plucked up the courage to ask. The waitress explained that they didn’t have cups for the sizes we ordered. Hmmm, ok then. As you can see, mine was a standard size take away coffee size. What my coffee dude, Brendan, calls regular. To be served a paper cup when I paid $7.90 for it’s content reeks of a total lack of care.

Coco Cubano is a new chain on the block, developed by former Gloria Jean’s franchise owner Graeme McCormack and his business partner Tony Melhem. With management having had previous experience in this area, and in these tight economic times when most are looking for a cheap thrill,  I would’ve expected such a detail to have been well in hand, particularly considering the care that’s been taken with fit out and the range of drinks available. A new store is opening at Taylor Square, and I hope this little wrinkle is firmly ironed out by our next visit.


Coco Cubano
Approximately 58 Darlinghurst Road
Kings Cross
Coco Cubano on Urbanspoon
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16 Responses
  1. April 26, 2009

    wow when i saw that pic of the paper cup on a nice plate i was shaking my head in disbelief! that’s pretty poor!

  2. April 26, 2009

    @ ChocolateSuze Yeah, I was surprised to say the least! But it could have just been a sourcing issue because I don’t know how long they’ve been open…

  3. April 27, 2009

    Nope-I say if you can’t source an appropriate cup for an almost ten dollar non-alcoholic beverage before you open then it is off the menu til you do. That is so lame. You don’t even rave about how good the actual drink was which leads me to believe it wasn’t? Sounds like they didn’t do a good job on waffles or hot choc? Hmmm.

  4. April 27, 2009

    What a disappointment. Though, being a chain I wouldn’t expect great things. Thanks for the heads up, I didn’t know anything about this place, except for the signs at Taylor Square – I expected it to be some awesome Cuban restaurant. I might have even gotten my hopes up.

  5. April 27, 2009

    The paper cup is pretty dissapointing, they could of atleast told you about the circumstances without you asking! I usually dine in for a reason, as the coffee/drink tastes ‘better’ when your sitting down and relaxing in a mug/cup. The interior looks nice though!

  6. April 27, 2009

    I haven’t heard of coco cubano, but you’ve certainly been robbed, having paid almost $8 for a take away hot chocolate! They used to charge that much for a coffee at Bel Mondo, years ago.

  7. April 27, 2009

    I love my hot choc, but there’s no way I’d pay $7.90 for one. Unless it comes with churros.

  8. April 27, 2009

    @ Cakes Yeah, the hot chocolate was ok. Not spectacular. I like lindt better..

  9. April 27, 2009

    @ Belle 😛 totally with you on that one!

  10. June 3, 2009

    Nice work by the owner for inviting you back!

  11. Stu permalink
    June 6, 2009

    Sounds to me like they there having a partnership problem let alone a menu issue! Why is the founder name scrubbed out!

  12. June 6, 2009

    @ Stu After speaking with Tony Melham, he indicated that the he and Graeme McCormack parted ways sometime ago, and he’s been running the business with his wife ever since.

  13. June 28, 2009

    Just came across your review mate, I could not agree more. I too got waffles and found them strange. As it turns out they buy them in rather then make them themselves, which for the price they charged a little steep.

    The staff seemed unhappy and my small drink came in a paper cup as well, although I am unsure as to whether or not they had just run out of cups, or as you point out they just don’t have small. On a plus side the Cafe looks good though.

  14. September 17, 2009

    I just went here last week and let me just say it was one of rudest, most uncomfortable experiences I have had. I was constantly interrupted while ordering, with the person asking where certain buttons where and having to repeat myself several times. I was asked what an el presidente was, I pointed at the blackboard, and the guy just said “oh, you mean large”. And finally, when the drinks arrived, a straw was thrown on the desk – the person had to show us his frustration of doing a lap around the cafe and not finding table. I suggest to people that they don’t go here unless they are willing to tolerate high prices for rude service.

  15. Johnny D permalink
    October 6, 2009

    Very ordinary to say the least. I wouldn’t say that the staff were rude however they have been very poorly trained. The food was stale and the place filthy, First time and last time!

  16. November 30, 2009

    Although I haven’t ventured to the Kings Cross store I have ventured to the Taylor Square outlet severakl times and have had nothing but a great time there. Fantastic atmosphere, happy and attentive professional staff and the cocktails are a blast. I recently spent 2 months travelling Cuba and the quality of the cocktails served at Coco Cubano come close to the originals. If people have a problem with the cost of things then don’t go out–stay at home and have a cup of tea. If I styled my life around cost after travelling Cuba where a cocktail costs A$1 then I would be at home every night watching Idol(ohh poke my eyes out now!)
    Great work to the guys at CC in Taylor Square “Love Your Work!!!”

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