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“Once bitten, forever smitten,” promises the fine chocolatier-cum-artisan baker, Cocomaya. But is the proof in the pudding? Seth Rowden visits their Bromton Road bakery to find out
Cocomaya looks much like a florist shop from the outside. It is dainty, artsy, dappled with colour and has windows full of curiosities. Of course, I know that it isn’t a florist. Still, I am unsure whether I am entering a bakery, a chocolate shop or a restaurant. Then, considering its progenitors, I understand why I might be slightly confused.
Cocomaya was founded by two highly influential figures in the fashion industry; Joel Bernstein, former head of concept at Liberty, and Walid al Damirji, former fashion consultant. Their Bromton Road “bakery” store is a deliberate fashion statement. Its façade suggests a traditional chocolatier, with promises of something more unusual beyond the window displays. It is not self-consciously haphazard — it is bold and confident, sure of its own identity. Stepping inside, it becomes obvious that Joel and Walid see food in a different way.
The décor of the bakery, in contrast to their chocolate shop on Porchester Place, is minimalist with earthy pale wood and thick marble. It is a place of calm, with magical creations piled high in cabinets around the room; delicate handmade chocolates that are as fashion-conscious as the chic clientele that are drawn to them. This creativity spills out into the room, here and there, on mismatched cups and saucers and oversized, naked light bulbs hanging low from the ceiling.
I order a coffee and take a table at the back of the bakery. This would have been the perfect way to finish my afternoon — perhaps with one of their handmade cakes, pastries or sandwiches — and would have done nicely if I were not sitting next to a marble topped counter at the back of the room, watching one of the chefs toss pizza dough. I order flatbread topped with Prosciutto, rocket and Parmigiano-Reggiano. As my order is passed through to the kitchen, the chef returns to the restaurant and begins working the dough for my flatbread.
Usually one to awkwardly eat pizza with a knife and fork, I stop myself reaching for the jar of mismatched cutlery in the centre of the table. The flatbread came sliced perfectly for one-handedly folding into bite-sized pieces and enjoying over relaxed conversation. And that’s what Cocomaya excel at: creating the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of relaxed conversation.
Cocomaya is an excellent rabbit-hole to dive into if you are looking to escape the hubbub of Brompton Road. This is a real treat for those looking to experience afternoon tea with an artisan twist, an inspiring and apt end to a fashion-focused Knightsbridge shopping trip.