Coco Veranda on Ward Place is one of Colombo’s most popular coffee shops. We loved them in the past, but this time around it was a let down.
Food and Drinks
So at the time of our last review, back in 2012, we felt that Coco Veranda was one of the best coffee shops in Colombo, but since then it seems they’ve let their standards dip. The menu is still very extensive, with a greater selection of beverages than most other cafes. Most of the beverages are priced between Rs. 450 – Rs. 750, the more expensive ones being their signature beverages like the Italian white chocolate and deluxe frappe. The food menu is also pretty decent with a good amount of snacks and mains priced between Rs. 400 – Rs. 1300.
The mocha latte (Rs. 540) was not one of the best we’ve tried. We usually expect a good balance between the chocolate and the coffee when it comes to mocha latte, but in this one the chocolate was just way too overstated. The coffee had a slightly burnt flavour to it which was not pleasant either. We’re guessing that the burnt coffee part was a one-off mistake but unfortunately that’s all we’ve got to go on.
We were hoping the creme brulee latte (Rs. 540), one of their signature frappes, would be exceptional. It was exceptional alright, exceptionally sweet that is. It was fine for the first few sips when the cream on top balances the sweetness but once that’s over it’s just a latte with a whole ton of sugar and caramel. Don’t get me wrong I like a bit of sweetness in my coffee, but this one was just too sweet to even finish.
The apple pie (Rs. 390) was pretty good. The filling was what made this one really stand out with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. The pastry wasn’t undercooked but we would have liked it baked through a bit more, but that’s personal preference.
The lemon chicken mayo wrap (Rs. 400) didn’t really deliver. The portion size was fine but the filling was mostly just lettuce and tomato with bit of chicken here and there. We couldn’t really tell if it was lemon chicken either since the excess lettuce masked most of the flavours. Less lettuce and more chicken would probably have made this one a winner.
Ambience & Service
The ambience at Coco Veranda is chic and tasteful, which is one of the reasons why it’s such a popular hangout spot. We dropped in on a poya day and the place was pretty much entirely occupied. The interior is still in very good condition but the couches and the furniture in the outdoor section look a bit worn out, but that’s to be expected after some time.
The service was another letdown this time around. One of the main highlights of our previous review was the excellent level of service but one year down the line we experienced pretty much the opposite. As we took our seats the waiter cleared out the table, so we assumed he would be back with a menu but that was the last we saw of him until he came to clear out our table again when we were leaving. So after waiting for about 10 minutes I went to the cashier and placed the order. The service time was also pretty slow with it taking around 20 minutes to prepare 2 drinks, a wrap and piece of pie. All in all we weren’t happy with the service, specially compared to what we’ve experienced in the past.
Coco Veranda has been a solid choice when it comes to coffee shops in the past, but this time around they didn’t really impress. They’re usually good at attention to detail so hopefully they’ll make the necessary changes in due time.