Kokomo’s is more than just a restaurant – it’s also home to one of the coolest disco balls we’ve ever seen!
“Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go
Oh I want to take you down to Kokomo
We’ll take it fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo”
Come on, I know you were singing that in your head – we all know and love the classic tune by The Beach Boys so why not have a venue inspired by it? Kokomo’s on Bunda Street has taken over the city with a tropical oasis that transports you overseas as soon as you step through the large glass front doors.
Kokomo’s is the third foodie stop on Bunda St alongside Akiba and Sage Restaurant, and the inspiration behind the eating oasis was to bring something new and fresh to the Canberra nightlife scene, as well as the restaurant and bar scenes.
“People come to this corner of Bunda Street so easily, and for so long now there has been nothing here…. Kokomo’s has got people interested again, and interested in this City…” said Kokomo’s general manager Tommy.
Kokomo’s, in a way, has given something back to Canberra and to the city. This venue for the people is right in the hub of the capital, and being a thoroughfare from Lonsdale Street to the city has brought life back to Bunda Street and to the distinctive location that was once Tongue and Groove.
The speakers on the external of the building project music through different alleyways of the city and bring excitement after dark. The crazy neon purple branded sign further solidifies what the venue is all about – having fun!
The focus and choice of the blues and greens for the colour palette, combined with the greenery, give the space that fresh and vibrant look and feel that is needed all year round. The mezzanine level is fit with slab floor heating so even if it’s freezing outside, inside will still feel like a tropical getaway on any day of the year in Canberra.
With the Kokomo’s team travelling the world to get their creative juice flowing in search of a vision for the venue, places like LA, New York and Hawaii were a must for menu items and fit out ideas.
Creating the cocktail list was all about keeping it fun, pretty, and quirky, yet keeping it quite simple and using quality products. The summer classics like mojitos, pina coladas and margaritas sit pride of place beside alcoholic slushies and other colourful, fun drinks on the menu – and the best part is the affordable prices, so you are able to enjoy more than one yummy cocktail without hurting your wallet.
What makes Kokomo’s so entertaining is the spinning, sparkly, golden pineapple-shaped disco ball that magically emerges from the roof at 10pm every Friday and Saturday night – and when the ball drops the beats start! The cocktail bar upstairs also enhances the thrill by adding innovative ingredients like West Coast Coolers and blended up banana lollies served in handmade tiki mugs and piranha heads!
It doesn’t stop there – serving food until 11.00pm everyday of the week is impressive, and the food is also fantastic! Luckily for us, we tasted some of the team’s faves on the menu! We were first treated to the Kingfish Carpaccio. The dish is drizzled with truffle oil which gives off the most satisfying aroma. Together with the yuzu, white soy, and pepper – the dish is like a party in your mouth. For all the raw fish lovers out there, this is a MUST!
Can you really go wrong with Lamb Ribs? Not really, however Kokomo’s does them so beautifully! The sweet and sour glaze and puffed buckwheat gives the lamb a great combination of flavours and textures in one dish. The 1.1 tonne Texan rotisserie in the kitchen definitely helps to give that smoky flavour!
Pairing yellowfish tuna with a yellow curry sauce isn’t a typical combination but let me tell you, it works! The Chargrilled Yellowfin Tuna Loin was the most unexpectedly delicious dish. The hot and sour herbs in the curry sauce don’t overpower, and the dish still feels light and summery even though it has a curry element incorporated. This dish also goes well with the tang of the thinly sliced Salt and Vinegar Taro Chips – a super delish snack!
The Udon Noodles were another stand out. Served with seared beef rump cap, egg yolk, crispy eschalot, and kombu butter – it is such a hearty, scrumptious dish. The flavours of the thick noodles with the beef and egg yolk work harmoniously with each other. We ate every last bite!
For an amazing salad dish where the dressing is outstanding, the Lemon Chicken Salad is your go-to! The cavolo nero, red cabbage, and black garlic vinaigrette is a divine combination! Healthy and tasty – perfecto!
With belly’s full, the last dish we were served was the Smoked Beef Rib. Topped with puff rice and roast eggplant puree on the side for some added texture, the sides really complemented the richness of the molasses-glazed beef.
The great thing about Kokomo’s’ menu is the evolution. Kokomo’s will never stop evolving their trans-pacific cuisine. Blowing people away is their motto and is what brings the magic to the venue.
“Our menu, at one point was changing every four days – that’s how frequently we change and we really want to get everyone’s feedback, positive or negative, as it helps us evolve to be what people want, and to become world class. We’re here for the people who come in and we don’t want to exclude anyone. We want people to enjoy Kokomo’s and enjoy Canberra,” said Tommy.
Kokomo’s is really a one-stop shop, whether it’s a casual burger lunch, dinner with the family and kids, share plates with friends, drinks after work, or a boogie on the dance floor – it’s everything you could want and more!
See Kokomo’s Venue profile here