Sitting at a restaurant on campus grounds, surrounded by youngsters with their laptops and books, cramming for exams certainly made me take a trip down memory lane. Coco Cubano, which is strategically placed in a corner of a busy foodie street in the premises of the University of New South Wales, most certainly is one of those happening places in the city. The ambience inside is true to the Coco Cubano spirit, but has its unique flavour with door panels hanging down from the ceiling - something of which I haven't noticed in any other Coco Cubano restaurant around.
This is not just a restaurant you come to for a meal; it's a place to hang around, meet people and interact. There is no age limit for patrons at Coco Cubano on campus premises. It is child friendly too. There are those who just entered university, and those who have long left it. Every one is there to enjoy a cup of coffee, a meal or a drink from the well stocked bar; and spend some time doing something important or not doing anything at all but enjoy.
Meals on the menu are quite interesting. There are meals that would fill you up like the Fajitas ($15.90) which comes with the works; a meat of your choice, tortilla, salad, guacamole, sour cream and fresh salsa; and then there is the tapas menu for those who want to savour a variety of small meals rather than fill yourself with a large plate of food.
The Mini Slider ($10.90), enough to be shared among two with a smallish appetite, is one such tapas dish which was an excellent choice to start off our tapas experience. Two bite sized burgers are the essence of this dish. Though small in size, the burgers are not short of flavour, with juices, heat, and spices combined to give that deliciousness within those few bites that the burgers is.
The cheesy chilli fries ($7.90) is another dish that would not go un-noticed. Not too much of a chips fan, I was initially reluctant to even try the dish, but mark my word, once you've tasted one single chip with that gooeyness of cheese with that hit of jalapeņo chilli - you are well and truly hooked.
The barista here is one who's certainly got the touch. There are no complaints what so ever about the quality of the coffees he whipped up for us on our visit. The staff roaming around in their Cuban military jackets, who look like students from the same campus are quite relaxed and ever so willing to assist you in choosing dishes; re-arranging a few tables and chairs to accommodate you, as well as making sure your visit to the restaurant is a pleasant one.
Though finding parking could be an important and troublesome issue for those of us who opt to travel by car; but the staff, the food and the ambience is capable of enticing you back for another visit to Coco Cubano on the university grounds at UNSW. It certainly is worth while dropping into if you are in the area.
Where: Campus grounds, University of New South Wales - Kensington NSW.
Why: Great atmosphere, good food and friendly staff.
Cost: Mains from $10.90
When: Breakfast. Lunch, Dinner and snacks.