Sunday, June 12, 2016

COCA Restaurant Review at SM Aura: Experiencing The Art of Ojiya

To be perfectly honest, I’m a really huge fan of hot pot. I could still recall that as a kid I loved observing how the simmering pot would be split into two—spicy broth for the oldies and clear soup for us kids and for those who aren’t into anything spicy. We would fill the broth with watercress, sliced beef, pork, squid balls, fish balls, tofu and taro.  So when I received an invitation recently to review another must-try hotpot restaurant, I immediately agreed. After all, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a hot pot, I think the last one was with a Korean restaurant in Quezon City. I got really excited to try COCA Restaurant for the first time. 

Located at the top level of Skypark at the SM Aura Premiere in Bonifacio Global City, COCA’s known not only for their delicious hot pot but they really have good a la carte offerings as well. I had no regrets braving the traffic I had encountered from my place in Quezon City to BGC that weekday morning. The Buffalo Bites was so, so good. Tender yet flavourful crispy chicken in bite sizes. I was initially reminded of my nephew’s favourite Korean chicken, but I actually like COCA’s better—crispy chicken with a tangy glaze that offered a mellow kind of sweetness.

COCA Restaurant is a forerunner in terms of food awakening. Attractively fronted by an ambient outdoor space where locals spend their evenings sipping wine and just chilling out, diners keep coming back for the delicious classics on the menu such as the Pacific Sunset and COCA Chicken in Paper Bag.

Their Salted Egg Salad with Pork Belly and Shrimp was a uniquely delicious fusion of flavours that surprised us. Wash it off with a choice of Coca White Sangria, Sunset Sangria or the Mango Mint Sangria. The White Sangria is a white wine with orange juice, lime juice, dalandan juice and soda with apple and pear. The Sunset Sangria is concocted with white wine, watermelon, dalandan juice, lime juice, soda and lemon. And the Mango Mint Sangria, a mix of white wine with rhum, lime juice, soda, apple, mango and a tinge of mint.

Mango Mint Sangria

Each dish is a work of art. Of the mains, we recommend Pacific Sunset. I kid you not but it's like a rollercoaster into your mouth as it exudes different flavors. It is served with a king crab, squid, tiger prawns, pork sausage and corn is a hearty dish that can serve a big group. It goes with a hint of a variety of spices from around the world and may be enjoyed with rice or bread.
Pacific Sunset

Yang Chow Fried Rice
For the hot pot, their Red Fire platter (assorted meat, veggies and glass noodles) tops my list. I also love the Tom Yum (hot & sour soup). Tip: End your hotpot experience with their Art of Ojiya. The rice is slowly cooked in the hotpot broth with egg, sesame oil, spring onion and fried garlic. Beat the rainy day blues with some warm, comforting and good food from Coca Restaurant. 

Emperor's Platter

Green Earth Platter

Red Fire Platter with Ojiya

Blue Ocean Platter

Anything you desire on your hot pot soup is made available at COCA!

Steaming hot pot of seafood and meat

The Art of Ojiya is derived from Khao Tom, which is a breakfast staple in Thailand. It is essentially porridge that can either be served plain or with a variety of ingredients. It is a mild and thin rice soup akin to a vegetable soup with lots of rice. It is made from pre-cooked rice and water seasoned and cooked with other ingredients such as meat, seafood, mushrooms, and vegetables.

At COCA, guests are encouraged to end their hotpot experience with the Ojiya – a delicious combination of rice slowly cooked in your hotpot broth with sesame oil, egg, spring onion and fried garlic.

The Hotpot is divided into two: clear soup and the spicy Tom Yum

Blogger Michelle Aventajado is excited to try her hotpot soup.

They say that no two Ojiyas are ever alike as each takes in all the flavor and character of one’s personalized hotpot experience. Every Ojiya gives a distinct flavorful experience so whatever hotpot combination is preferred, the Ojiya is definitely in for a warm and comforting finish.

At COCA, Ojiya is usually presented with 2 variations of soup – the Tom Yum, for those who prefer their base with added kick and spice; and the basic chicken stock, for a more traditional and simple base. Diners may then choose their ingredients to mix in the soup, be it vegetables and pork or beef, chicken or seafood.

Once the diners are comforted by the soup, the remaining ingredients will be mixed with steamed rice and cooked for about 10 to 15 minutes to produce a filling and flavorful congee. This is ‘The Art of Ojiya.’ 

Chef Him Uy De Baron and the other judges for the on-the-spot Art of Ojiya contest during the event 
Other notable dishes include Beef Fillet with Black Pepper, Braised Tofu with Taiwan Bokchoy in a Clay Pot, COCA Chicken in a paper bag, Khao Tom, Emperor's Platter with Ojiya, Live Steamed Garoupa with Soy Sauce, Stir-Fried Beef Fillet in Kale, Crispy Roasted Belly, Trio of Jelly Fish and Seafood Durian Spring Roll. 

Braised Tofu with Taiwan Bokchoy in a Clay Pot
COCA's Buffalo Bites

Save your trip up to SM Aura Premiere for a special experience learning the art of Ojiya which you can’t find anywhere else. You can only find it at COCA Restaurant. Come and visit COCA and experience an epicurean adventure like no other!
COCA Restaurant is located at the 5th level of SM Aura Premier in Taguig City. For more information and reservations, call Call 955-2022 or 0917-813-9760. Like COCA Restaurant on Facebook and follow @cocarestaurantph on Instagram


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