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Cafe review: Koko Black

By johnboy - 21 July 2008 26

Koko Black is screamingly, unashamedly, pretentious.

With it’s dark timberwork and leather you could think it had been there on Bunda Street for decades. If you didn’t know it was only opened a few months ago.

And the snootyness of the staff in their head to toe black! Snootyness like that doesn’t just come, it has to be worked on.

But what they’re selling is experience at a premium. And they deliver it in spades.

I know people from Melbourne who treat the Canberra Koko Black as a tourist attraction because they don’t have to queue up for a table like they do back home. It’s a mark of how Civic (or should I say “City”?) is moving up in the world that this cafe isn’t in Manuka.

In the pic you can see their chilli hot chocolate. The party-coloured drink packs a serious wallop. Between the heavy whack of the chilli and the sweetness of the chocolate it sets the nerves to jangling better than a double espresso.

Is it a chocolate shop? Is it a cafe? Is it *just* an experience?

I don’t know if I’ll be going too often, but I am rather glad I know it is there.

What’s Your opinion?

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26 Responses to
Cafe review: Koko Black
Pesty 8:40 am 22 Jul 08

Thumper said :

screamingly, unashamedly, pretentious

Um, JB, it’s a coffee 😉

Ah! The voice of reason.

NoAddedMSG 8:07 am 22 Jul 08

I was there at the weekend, and the bit that niggled a little with me was that they told us about the 15 minute wait to be seated, which was fine, but they didn’t tell us about the 30 + minute wait for any orders until we sat down. I would have preferred that info at the same time as the seating delay info.

Thumper 8:04 am 22 Jul 08

screamingly, unashamedly, pretentious

Um, JB, it’s a coffee 😉

Ruth 7:59 am 22 Jul 08

I like Koko Black and it’s a favourite meeting spot of mine. I particularly like the chocolate mousse and the soy hot chocolate is actually done properly.

Alternately, All Things Chocolate in Kingston has been around for much longer and it’s a local business! I only recently discovered this place and am a big fan. Unfortunately it’s a bit hard to find (it’s in one of the arcades) but well worth it.

Scribble 7:38 am 22 Jul 08

Alternatively, you could ditch the designer cocoa and head over to All Things Chocolate in Kingston.

Pesty 6:24 am 22 Jul 08

Blend 43 even!

Pesty 6:23 am 22 Jul 08

So the don’t sell Blnd 43 then?

shiny flu 3:16 am 22 Jul 08

to me, some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had, but it’s pricey. then again i’d choose coffee 9 times out of 10 so it aint so bad once in a while.

josh 1:11 am 22 Jul 08


it’s okay, but it’s really nothing grand. the chocolate itself you can buy at the counter makes for a good chocolate mousse (and, of course, their in-house overpriced moussed isn’t so bad either), but everything else i’ve had there has been average at best. i’d expect a rich, sweet hot/iced chocolate, but it’s always milky and bland (that being said, i have quite a sweet tooth, so a richness to sate my expectations seems uncommon)

but yes. overpriced, overrated. the mousse is tasty, though.

i haven’t been back since their last round of price-hikes, though.

Geoffco 10:47 pm 21 Jul 08

+1 for the chilli hot choc sentiments. Very tasty, especially if this weather keeps up.
Also +1 for the choc silken tart, even if it is $12/slice.

AussieGal83 10:43 pm 21 Jul 08

Pfft. Its not an experience. Its just a coffee house (or should that be chocolate house).

I find it not that dissimilar from Starbucks, just with nicer decor. I don’t think that there is anything pretentious about it. What’s so wrong with the staff dressing nicely and actually looking presentable? Better than most institutions that service customers. The kind of presentation and service they offer should be the standard, not above the norm.

Society just accepts mediocrity in our service industries, so when something of a high standard comes along its labeled pretentious. I don’t get it.

johnboy 10:27 pm 21 Jul 08


I-filed 10:26 pm 21 Jul 08

Kokoblack is OK – but their chocolate is not nearly as good as they think, and far too expensive for what you’re getting. It’s medium-to-good quality, not top, and tastes a bit like compound chocolate – even though it supposedly isn’t. Top chocolate is still sourced from Europe – Kokoblack’s, I am reliably told, is sourced from a good brand, but a lesser grade of that brand, probably manufactured in Singapore.

johnboy 10:12 pm 21 Jul 08

Taken with my own fair hand I promise, and absolutely deliciously fiery.

Pandy 10:10 pm 21 Jul 08

“It’s only a model”

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