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casual, mid-range, new farm, restaurants and cafes

HOT: Coco Bella Espresso, Cnr Lamington and Welsby Streets, New Farm

Coco Bella New Farm Brisbane Hot or Not review

Today’s guest post comes from the Jetsetting Parents, this time sampling the new casual cafe/restaurant Coco Bella Espresso in New Farm.

This eatery site in New Farm has seen quite a few changes of ownership over the last several years, from the “founder” East-West to New Farm Bistro, Bacchus, then The Hutch to the newly-opened Coco Bella. One can’t help wondering—it’s in a good location in the midst of a fairly affluent neighbourhood, is something amiss??

Coco Bella Expresso seems determined to change this around. First of all, the whole place has been smartened up, both indoors and outdoors, to give it a stylish and airy feel. The name Coco Bella sounds contemporary and catchy, too. Now, can the food and service match up?  That’s what Jetsetting Dad and I decided to find out one weekend evening.

We were promptly greeted and seated as we stepped into the cafe. Glasses of water were offered immediately with a drinking straw for the lady, a small touch well-appreciated.  I’m glad to point out that such good service was consistent throughout the evening.

The two page menu is fairly simple with light lunch and tapas on one page and entree and main courses on the other. The food is basically Italian but some Asian fusion dishes are available as well. On the weekend of our visit , two specials were on offer.

Coco Bella New Farm Brisbane Hot or Not review

For entree, JD and I ordered grilled calamari stuffed with salmon, herb, roasted breadcrumbs on rocket, avocado and salsa ($16.50). The calamari was grilled whole and cut into 3 pieces. It was quite a generous serve, best to be shared. Despite its size, the calamari was tender and easy to cut; the stuffing soft and moist. While the bed of rocket, avo and salsa tasted good, personally I would prefer to leave out the avo pieces as I found the soft texture of an over-ripened avo just didn’t go well with the quite similar texture of the stuffing.

Coco Bella New Farm Brisbane Hot or Not review

For the main course, I chose house-made ricotta gnocchi with buttered tomato sauce ($19.50). It is a simple dish but the trickiest part is to get the texture of the gnocchi right. I’ve eaten mushy ones, stodgy ones, grainy ones, dry ones…before. Fortunately for me this time, the gnocchi was spot-on. The butter tomato sauce topped with ricotta cheese (instead of the usual parmasean) was well- balanced with a subtle hint of butter. (Note: I’d requested reduced quantity of butter.)

Coco Bella New Farm Brisbane Hot or Not review

JD ordered Moroccan lamb with chickpeas and lentils, rocket salad and yogurt. ($24.50) The spicy lamb pieces were flavoursome and moist. Although they were crumbed and deep-fried, they didn’t look or taste greasy at all. The chickpeas and lentils were nice and creamy. The coriander and mint in the rocket salad gave a refreshing taste to the dish.

There were also a good range of house-made desserts in the cabinet. One of the waiting staff took the trouble to explain each item to us. In the end, we decided to give them a miss while making a mental note to come back for them next time.

With good, well-priced food and excellent service, I think Coco Bella hits the right notes.

Coco Bella on Urbanspoon

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  1. I’ve only had breakfast at Coco Bella Espresso and it was pretty impressive. Speck instead of standard bacon in my dish added an extra dimension to the flavour. Coffee was good (ok excellent for Brisbane). Service, atmosphere and value for money ranged from good to great. One disappointment was the cupcakes – I guess mainly due to the fact that I had been built them up so much prior to finally having them. Don’t get me wrong they were pretty good, but as a huge fan of cupcakes I did compare them with the ones you get at Emporium complex and the Emporium ones were better. I would be happy to go back for breakfast / coffee any time.

    Posted by Hobs | April 20, 2010, 12:45 pm

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