Popular Thai-Chinese dining success story COCA Restaurants, that has been delighting diners with authentic, home-cooked cuisine since 1957, is going back to its roots with a new neighbourhood restaurant brand that will introduce its timeless values of hospitality and culinary know-how to a new generation of diners in vibrant suburban districts all across Asia.
COCA Pop Up reflects the past, but looks to the future of dining. For many years, families and friends across Asia have come together at intimate local eateries to savour the pleasures of good company and great food, with tables full of shared plates. They were personally greeted by owners who knew their names, offered genuine hospitality and ensured the quality of their produce – a far cry from the impersonal fast food outlets proliferating the streets of the region’s capitals today.
COCA Pop Up is here to change that by reviving traditions through its new concept of easy-going eateries that blend the warmth and familiarity of a family-run restaurant with the casual street-side vibe of a boutique café.
“In many ways we’re heading back to our roots, with small-seat restaurants and simple home-cooking with a speciality that diners across Asia have enjoyed for generations,” said Trevor MacKenzie, Global Managing Director of Mango Tree and COCA Restaurants Worldwide. “This was the original goal of Khun Pitaya, COCA’s chairman & CEO, who learned the business from his father and made a commitment to quality, innovation and family values. We’re now giving COCA a youthful new look that will appeal to millennials who may not remember the ‘good old days’ but still crave high-quality cuisine and social interaction.”
The first COCA Pop Ups are already up and running in Thailand with outlets open in Hua Hin and Krungthep Kreetha, one of Bangkok’s top residential districts. But this is just the beginning as COCA plans to roll out the franchise concept across the region, with an ambition to open 20 outlets within the next two years through a combination of existing franchisees and new partners.
“These are small, capital-light concepts, that are very well suited to residential districts,” Mr MacKenzie added. “They are perfect for community dining, with customers eating in or ordering deliveries through our digital platform. Good, honest, homecooked healthy food to enjoy share with loved ones.”
COCA opens throughout the day, with breakfast a highlight, with popular morning dishes like homemade congee and giant donuts or patankos proving a big hit. Lunch focuses on wonton soup and noodles with a selection that fuse classic flavours with modern twists, such as bright purple beetroot noodles. Handcrafted dim sum and steamed buns also provide plenty of options for a light lunch or evening treat. And, of course, COCA’s signature suki hot pot features in all outlets.
Since it started with a 20-seat restaurant 64 years ago, COCA has been famous for its suki hot pot style of cooking. This experience will be elevated at COCA Pop Up, with a series of suki sets that comprise a choice of broths (chicken, vegetable, mala, tom yum, and even an indulgent truffle soup), premium meats including wagyu ribeye or sirloin beef, fresh seafood such as tiger prawns and cuttlefish, along with meatballs, fishballs, COCA Boutique Farm’s colourful dumplings and more, all accompanied by a choice of crisp vegetables and fresh noodles. A little more time to spare? Friends can tuck into celebratory Cantonese-style dishes such as whole stuffed duck stew, slow-cooked for four hours.
With many other single and shared plates available, accompanied by delectable desserts and plenty of beverages, from morning tea and coffee to beer and wine at night, COCA Pop Up is an approachable and uncomplicated option for every customer at any time of day, from local residents on their way to or from work, to students or colleagues doing lunch, or families and friends seeking a memorable yet modestly priced evening meal.