There is no more idyllic way to enjoy a lazy weekend than escaping from the hustle and bustle, noise and pollution of the city and retreating to a beautiful beach. While my island (Cheung Chau) has enough delights of its own to keep me there on the weekends, I love exploring different parts of Hong Kong, particularly if there’s another beach involved! It has been many, many moons since I’ve ventured down to ShekO, but with the relocation of Cococabana a few months ago from Deep Water Bay, I was intrigued to see if it was truly deserving of such a great location. Having never tried the restaurant in its previous incarnation and having had more than my fair share of beach ‘restaurants’ involving cheap fishballs and greasy drumsticks, I was a little wary.
Fellow Sassy Mama Nicole and I decided to make a day of it with the kids and introduce them to a little more of Hong Kong’s efficient transport system, involving an MTR trip to Shau Kei Wan, then a double-decker ride with hairpin turns over and down the mountain to the sea. It is an exciting ride, best experienced sitting in the front row of the top deck. That first glimpse of Shek O beach is always guaranteed to draw a few gasps.
Cococabana couldn’t be more well placed, right smack bang in the urban services complex, in the middle of the beach by the car park. There is an outdoor patio which leads into a small bar area with a lovely, airy white dining room with white wall and banquettes. It feels both romantic (for date nights) and family-oriented, and best of all, peaceful. The view is breathtaking and it’s easy to see how popular this restaurant would be on a sunny day. It would also make a fantastic small wedding or birthday party venue. The service is very friendly and our server was wonderful with the kids.
What’s On The Menu?
It’s Mediterranean French cuisine: a mixture of seafood, meat and salads such as moules marinière, French oysters, goat cheese tartlettes, four-cheese fettucine, rib-eye steaks and roasted seabream. It is a beautiful, wholesome, extensive menu that caters to all.
We went for the shared set menu in order to try as many dishes as possible. It included a large platter of mixed antipasti, a Greek salad, a large dish of Piri Piri prawns on couscous and half a roasted, spiced organic French chicken with handcut chips. The prawns and chicken had a good kick to them, but not overpoweringly so. There was a generous portion of prawns (six large ones). We just about managed to find room to squeeze in some strawberry sorbet, caramel ice cream and crème caramel before we waddled off contentedly.
We had a great overall experience, encompassing the friendly service, the location, the view and not least of all, the food. The portions were generous and the dishes featured fresh, high-quality ingredients. All the dishes we ordered tasted delicious and were beautifully presented, starting from the bread platter through to dessert. The salads and antipasti were particularly refreshing with just a light touch of dressing, while the prawns and chicken were cooked perfectly. I also enjoyed the non-alcoholic Cuban Lemonade, made with fresh lemons and a sprig of rosemary.
My particular favourites were the thinly sliced tuna carpaccio and the Piri Piri prawns — the kind of dish you want to be eating by the sea. The prawns were deliciously piquant and tender.
Be warned, the portions are big! Bring some colour pencils or crayons for kids to draw on the paper table mat to keep them entertained between courses.
THUMBS DOWN No thumbs down. It was fantastic and memorable. We will definitely be going back.
STROLLER ACCESS? Yes. Ramp entrance from the beach or carpark side.
KIDS MENU? Yes, there is a large selection of favourites such as pizza, roast chicken, ham and cheese crèpes, veal bolognaise, hotdogs and burgers. Portions are substantial and delicious.
PRICE RANGE Reasonable. Mains beginning at $138 per dish. Set lunch for two is $248 per person with three large starters and a main to share. Great wine and drinks list.
OPENING HOURS Daily, 12pm – 11pm
Cococabana Mediterranean Restaurant, G/F, Shek O Beach Building, Shek O Beach, Hong Kong, 2812 1826