Who wouldn’t want to chill under a coco hut on the beach? Imagine being on vacation and sipping fresh buko juice from the actual fruit while you listen to the waves lap silently on the serene white sand? This place tries to capture that feeling while serving you some simple Filipino food.
Yes, you read that right. Some really simple Filipino are served here at Cocohut. If Army Navy was trying to mash-up an American Diner with a Mexican Cantina and bringing it to Filipinos, then its sister is bringing Filipino Carinderia food to the more well-off bunch. To my knowledge its only location to date is in the swanky South of Metro Manila.
Think: Where do you usually get Ginisang Monggo, Laing, Ginataang Labong, Ginataang Langka, Ginataang Kalabasa (more of that later), Piniritong Tilapia, and of course Piniritong Galunggong? I bet you to go to the nearest carinderia right now and you’ll see a couple of those items in their menu for today.
For starters, Kani Cake
After talking about Filipino food, I now describe a dish that has no ounce of Filipino in it. I should have said that the menu also includes some foreign food for the patrons that are not familiar with Filipino food.
I guess this tries to simplify crab cakes by using fake crab meat then deep-frying everything. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The filling was too moist to a point of being mushy. Don’t even bother trying to skewer it with your fork or eating it with your hands because it breaks apart easily. The taste was very weird as well. It was like I was eating fried cheese pimiento spread and the fake crab meat just felt like unnecessary bits.
This is pretty good dory. The batter was seasoned perfectly. Crisp, but melts in your mouth good. The dory itself was moist and full of flavor. They give you two kinds of dipping sauce but you really don’t need that for this delicious dish. My main complaint was that the rice was too mushy. I almost went to the Army Navy next door to buy some Freedom Fries to get that Fish & Chips vibe (although Cocohut does serve potato chips).
More about that yellow stuff with the dory: Coco Squash
The coco squash is not a coconut that was squashed, don’t take the name too literally. Kalabasa is Filipino for Squash. It’s the traditional Ginataang Kalabasa dish only pureed, I guess to make it easier to eat. All of the fish dishes include this as a side since Filipinos always need some sort of sabaw whenever eating a fried viand.
The consistency on this one makes you think that this must be just well seasoned baby food. I personally love the texture of a perfectly cooked squash but that was all gone when they decided to blend it. It tastes really good but with the mushy rice it just didn’t work.
That Teamarind though…
This is not Army Navy’s Libertea with just a new clever way to incorporate “tea” in the name of the signature drink. The taste is similar to eating candied tamarind, a very popular snack in the Philippines. It’s sweet without being too sweet and a sour taste that is not overpowering and gross. Altogether this drink was really refreshing and good. Cocohut nailed it on this one!
Banana ala Mode
The best way to eat this would be to wait for the ice cream to melt all over the sliced banana. They let you choose between Vanilla and Langka ice cream as the topping. I went the Langka route and didn’t get enough of a langka flavor. Being a big jack fruit fan that sort of bummed me out. The bananas also had a bit of an uninvited bite to them as if they weren’t cooked enough yet. But that syrup is heavenly especially when combined with the chill of the ice cream so I guess that was a bit of a saving grace.
Some thoughts about the Poor Man’s Fish
I can’t believe that Cocohut charges 20 pesos more for butterflied, deep-fried Galunggong than the Dory. It’s two pieces, fried very crisp, with leeks and chili. There really isn’t anything different with this Galunggong prepared as a very quick lunch one lazy afternoon in our home:
That’s also two pieces of Galunggong, bone-in though, and fried so crispy you think your eating cracklings when you bite into the heads. 165 pesos for almost the same thing with that weird baby food squash? What a rip-off!
The Classic Fried Chicken is the same Fearless Fried Chicken from Army Navy so it’s sure to be good. The Hut Fried Chicken is the spicy version, just don’t confuse it with Tropical Hut Chicken. Some other yummy stuff on the menu are the Tipsy Mussels (Nilasing na Tahong), Curry Mussels (Ginataang Tahong), Coco Shake, and the Dirty Yogart. The Dirty Yogart is similar to the ube “dirty ice cream” (called so because its sold in carts along the roads) topped with cheese. Unfortunately this had run-out when I got here so I was not able to try it. Almost the same breakfast items as Army Navy but they’re sold all-day. They also serve Coronas, a major pro.
Cheers to cocohut for bringing in that tropical ambiance with the cool beach music, wooden floors, and some other wooden accents. I also like that they’ve decided to bring some Filipino dishes to light which have pretty much been neglected by restaurants nowadays.
However, the food was not as revolutionary as Army Navy’s had been. Should they expand to more locations in Metro Manila, diners may find it not a good experience to be paying a premium on some food items they can get better prices for in a local Carinderia simply because they taste just the same.
Plus they really shouldn’t be charging that much for a couple pieces of galunggong! And stop calling it poor man’s fish, it alienates a lot of people who actually like that type of fish (raising my hand).