Koko Black, Civic*

28 Jan

* I visited Koko Black as their guest.

It’s been years and years since I’ve been to Koko Black, but in all that time I’ve had friends who swear it is the best place for dessert in Canberra, with consistently high quality ingredients and ranges. So, when offered to try out their Summer Oasis Dessert range, I figured it’d be a good opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

The first thing to know about Koko Black is that your eyes are probably going to be bigger than your belly. Everything sounds great to me even though I know I’m going to fill up quickly. Even though it’s dessert I think it’s a better option if it’s the first meal you’ve had in a long time!

Koko Black’s design is neat and cute. It’s situated along Bunda Street, just down from Jamie’s Italian, and makes good use of the outdoor setting – a fence of plants and small hedges separates us from the bustle of the street but we’re still part of it, seeing and being seen.

Glasses are sweet!

Petite cake fork and spoon with appropriately-sized spoon for the salted caramel milkshake

The big flavours in the dessert range this year are salted caramel and mango. To get our tastes tingling we start with small chocolates.

The smooth, clay-like caramel in the salted caramel is bitter, almost burnt, against the sweet of the chocolate and flecks of salt. The mango is similarly smooth – like a warm, melted down part of a mango Weis bar.

With a flourish arrive our main dishes: two salted caramel iced chocolates, a mango and vanilla ice cream spectacular and a chocolate hazelnut cluster.

Both the mango and salted caramels are set with Madagascan vanilla bean ice cream. The salted caramel iced chocolate is thick and luxurious and I find myself lazily, unthinkingly sipping it, enjoying it, oblivious to how full I’m getting so early on. It’s worth it: the taste is – and the textures are almost – on par with the salted caramel milkshake at The Cupping Room. There’s nothing bitter in this glass but it’s so big that one could easily be shared between two.

The chocolate hazelnut cluster has a layer of dark chocolate hazelnut brownie, followed by chewy milk chocolate caramel and Gianduja Cremeux. I manage just a few sweet, creamy mouthfuls before my stomach protests, having already expanded from the iced chocolate. This is a dish I’d order again and would be a good date dish, being easy to split.

The Mango and Vanilla Spectacular suffers a similar fate. The mango coulis comes in a jug you can pour yourself, which I recommend – and recommend you go easy. It’s too easy to drown the flavour of the vanilla bean with the cool, sweet mango. The toffee brittle is a tidy contrast and I wish there was more of it to use as a scoop for the ice cream.

Koko Black has beautifully presented dishes but you must go in with a good understanding of just how much you can handle given how tempting the entire menu is. The best way to solve this is to share as many dishes as possible!

Date: Saturday, 24 January 2015

Where: Bunda Street, Civic (down the escalator, near Jamie’s)

Cost: I enjoyed this experience as a guest of Koko Black; the two drinks and two desserts would have cost $37.

Want more? Koko Black’s website with opening hours is here.

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2 Responses to “Koko Black, Civic*”

  1. champagnecole January 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    I do adore Koko Black but I have never been there for dessert (I know!)
    I always just get some chocolates to take away.
    Those drinks look stunning

  2. 36views January 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    My special birthday treat each year is a box of KoKo Black chocolates, but like champagnecole, I’ve never tried dessert, or even a drink there. If the salted caramel iced chocolate rivals Cupping Room, well, that must be something!

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