Even if you’re not a chocolate obsessive, you may find yourself drawn to Cocomaya by the soul-hugging scent of freshly baked scones which wafts down Connaught Street, the playground of ladies who lunch and high earning workers who wish they could.
Made up of both a bakery and chocolate shop creating an allure simply deadly to the waistline, I was pleased I had only time for one element of Cocomaya, meaning the bakery naturally missed out on my custom.
The chocolate shop design says Parisian baker merged with Brighton boutique, combining muted limes and pinks with rustic exposed wood to give a vibrant but homely feel. Its clear that every visual element of the Cocomaya experience has been carefully considered but I’m not sure I agree with the reviews I’ve read that it has a fairytale-like quality to it.
That said, this chocolate shop does have a certain charm and despite its small size, the few cafe style chairs and tables are somehow unimposing.
Above a marble counter, exposed bulb lanterns illuminate plates and cake stands laden with treats. When I say illuminate, I really mean it, as Cocomaya have an abundance of literally dazzling chocolate from multicoloured glittering letters to shimmering novelty chocolate flowers and rats – sounds weird but these are truly impressive.
On this occasion, I left chocolate rodents to one side and focused on flavoured chocolates. The person serving, functionally dressed in an apron, was perfectly polite and helpful, however I couldn’t help notice a marked disharmony between the sparkle of the shop and chocolates and the standard but lack lustre service.
Not one to be put off that easily where chocolate is concerned, I set about deciding; not on chocolates, as you might expect, but first between four vibrantly toned 16 piece boxes, settling on blue and pink.
Pouring over the chocolate for some time, ginger, salted caramel, peanut and tonka bean all made the grade, as did heart shaped rose, lychee and raspberry. Then it was on to the truffles and with whisky, champagne, jasmine and the ol’ reliable milk snugly in the box, my selection was complete.
I was charged £24 for my cute little box and offered a choice of coloured ribbon. With such attention to detail I couldn’t wait to see what the bags were like…
and was near distraught when I was handed a thin *cheap* white paper bag. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, part of the purchase at this level of chocolate should be the experience and that includes the packaging. With the service being less than attentive, I was left feeling that the chocolates had a lot of work to do to compensate.
While they were indeed tasty- and I will admit I liked the multicoloured paper cases assigned to each- I was rather underwhelmed overall.
If I was passing by and wanted a place to grab a coffee, I would certainly go in, and if I were fortunate enough to receive a box of their chocolates as a gift I would be delighted. But Cocomaya was neither rustic enough to endear me with its rough edges, nor polished enough to dazzle me with its luxury and so, unfortunately, I won’t be making a special pilgrimage there any time soon.