After having its doors open for only 11 weeks, trans-pacific fusion restaurant and bar Kokomo’s, located in Canberra’s CBD, is kicking some serious goals.
Upon my return to Canberra after many years interstate, I’d heard about the abundance of fantastic restaurants and cafes sprawled across the city, but I think it was lunch at Kokomo’s that converted me into a born-again Canberra food fan.
Walking through doors, the open plan, welcoming mezzanine layout engulfs you. You’re transported into a world of pleasure that’s filled to the brim with tropical textures, fantastic tiling, and plenty of greenery. It’s just enough to be fabulous, sexy and fun, without being a theme park. The food takes you on the same journey.
From the pineapple lager, which was made, on site, using half a ton of hand peeled, and cored pineapples (it’s great, trust us), to the hawaiian popcorn to nibble on, your palate is in for a treat.
We opted for the Island Banquet, which is well underpriced, sitting at $45pp for 8 of their most popular dishes. 5 hours after lunch, and I’ve only just recovered enough to do this write up. I’m still stuffed. It’s epic. A third diner with us chose the Vegetarian version of the banquet. Kokomo’s were happy to cater for one, and didn’t have a minimum number of people when ordering the banquet, which was a bonus. There’s also a pretty decent range of items on the vegetarian menu for those meat-free friends wanting a-la-carte.
First up we tried the fried chicken buns. A surefire winner if you like spice. There was also their tuna Poke Bowl, which would be a great option if you wanted a fast, healthy lunch in Civic. They’re $15 (& bigger) if you order one separately, and they’re delish.
Both the vegetarian version of the Udon noodles, and the regular dish, were both a huge hit in our group. Make sure you mix the egg yolk through to get the creamiest texture and perfect flavour.
The Cauliflower massaman curry with roasted peanut, kafir lime and coconut was an unexpected hit in our group. We dove into the vegetarian dish with vigor, and annihilated the amazing flavours. We probably shouldn’t have been as enthusiastic given how good the side dish of charred broccoli with lemon, prosciutto and rice crispies was as well. Who knew vegetables could be so exciting. So. Damn. Full.
With every dish that was served up to our table, we seemed to find yet another winner. The prawn toast was tasty and not too oily, and both the beef and lamb ribs were so incredibly tender they fell off the bone and the flavours were punchy and moorish. I really don’t think you can go too wrong when ordering here. The team in the kitchen are nailing it, and the front of house staff are pretty spot on with their service too.
Overall the food was pretty much spectacular, and we were absolutely overfed. There’s a great friendly vibe, and the lazy susans on the booth tables encourage the shared plate dining the venue has come to be known for. Make sure you arrive hungry, and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy Kokomo’s, because you just won’t want to leave. And the hot tip? Head along from Wednesday to Saturday night to enjoy the Tiki cocktail bar upstairs from 5pm. Apparently the cocktails are next level.
We couldn’t end this without throwing in our ode to Kokomo…. old school style. Enjoy!