Golden Spoons Review: Icoa

| 31/08/2018

Icoa(CNS Foodie): While Icoa’s location in Seven Mile Shops does not offer a spectacular view, it is a lovely little restaurant where I love to breakfast. But my most recent visit was in the evening as my partner and I wanted to try what was on offer for dinner.

We arrived quite early and were only the second table seating in the restaurant area. The premises are basically divided into sections – the restaurant with nice tables and chairs, the bar area which has bar seats, and the cashier/patisserie section which forms a division to the next room, which is the wine bar. On the night we were there, the wine bar was the setting for a fairly noisy wine-tasting party that proved a little intrusive at first. But once the restaurant started to fill, the noise from the wine bar became less apparent.

The ambient music in the restaurant featured a sort of elevator-friendly techno beat which I found a little strange but even with all these audio distractions it was still easy to hear my partner and carry on a conversation without raising our voices.

Anyway, first things first – drinks! My partner ordered a glass of Pinot Noir (De Loach; $9 per glass) and since I was abstaining from alcohol this particular evening I opted for the clementine organic sparkling soda ($4), one of the many flavours offered. The Pinot was really good (I confess – I did taste it), exactly as described.

Icoa, Cayman News Service

Pork buns

Two dinner menus were then presented to us, one for Street Food and other for the Wine Bar; being adventurous types we decided to try both. The Street Food menu was quite extensive but clearly set out so my partner had no trouble choosing gua bao (pork buns; $10) and khaw mee (Laotian stir fry rice noodle; $16).

The Wine Bar menu was also fairly broad but I found it a little confusing as there seemed to be seven different types of courses. I eventually worked it out and ordered the mozzarella di buffala ($8), followed by Maine lobster, crab & chive ravioli ($16).

The first course arrived fairly quickly and looked lovely, and both dishes also tasted fantastic. The mozzarella was served on a slice of lightly fried Italian bread with just extra virgin olive oil and sea salt; it looked plain but was stunning. The cheese was melt-in-the mouth soft, with a slight tanginess that was offset by the sweetness of the bread.

The buns were more like fluffy little tortillas filled with pork, kimchi and mustard greens, topped by a sprinkling of crushed peanuts, with gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) and hoi sin sauce served on the side. The pork was juicy and succulent, the spice was fragrant and provided the freshness that offset the sweetness of the pork and hoi sin sauce – altogether a delicious first course.

Icoa, Cayman News Service

Laotian stir fry rice noodles

The main courses also arrived in a timely fashion and, again, were well presented. I was looking forward to my ravioli and my first bite met my expectations – a delicious combination of melting lobster and sweet crab. Unfortunately, the ravioli was covered in a sort of thick bisque-like sauce which, after the first couple of bites, overpowered the whole dish. In the end I could only taste the sauce, which was not the point of choosing lobster and crab. The ravioli themselves, although well cooked at slightly al dente, were a little thick. I was disappointed that the delicate morsels of lobster and crab, which in my view require a much lighter sauce, were not celebrated and elevated but instead drowned and overpowered.

My partner’s dish came with a perfectly fried egg on top of shiny rice noodles, which were just thicker than vermicelli but not too thick, with a few good chunks of prawn scattered throughout, all again enhanced by the spices used, which tasted of cumin, coriander (cilantro), ginger, garlic, some citrus and a little chili.

There were also some fresh sprouts which broke up the richness of the noodles. My partner found the dish a little too sweet, though, so didn’t finish – but he did take the rest home.

Next up was dessert and given the quality of Icoa’s patisserie, I was particularly looking forward to that part of the meal. Full disclosure – I have previously sampled the pastries; the chocolate mousse cake is divine. The dessert menu is not extensive but there was enough choice for us.

My partner ordered the affogato (a scoop of vanilla gelato with coffee beans and hot espresso poured over the top, served with a chocolate and pistachio biscotti; $6.50). I ordered the tiramisu ($8) as I had previously tried their hazelnut mousse (which was very good) and thought I should try something different.

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My partner loved the affogato – the gelato had a good vanilla kick, and the coffee beans added crunch and bitterness. The biscotti was thicker than expected but retained it crispness, so, apart from not looking as delicate as it should, it still provided the appropriate taste and texture to complement the affogato.

The tiramisu looked pretty but, disappointingly, lacked any strong flavours. The ladyfingers did not really taste strongly of coffee (or anything really) and there was not enough mascarpone cream between them to provide sufficient contrast. It was served with a ring of solid chocolate which was very good but not what I was looking for in a tiramisu.

Overall, the meal was up and down – excellent first courses, disappointing main dishes and mixed reviews for dessert. The service was excellent throughout, though; the staff are professional and approachable, happy to explain any of the dishes that you may not be familiar with and will make suggestions if requested. Going forward, however, I think we will stick to breakfast at Icoa.

The total bill $89.13, which included 15% gratuity.

Icoa website

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Category: Dinner, Golden Spoons Review

Comments (5)

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  1. Marcus says:

    Juergen has been one of the most creative and finest chef on the island for years. We enjoyed the Thai Dinner about a week ago and yes the dishes served, where amazing , the flavors where deep and well developed for a bargain price. There are no professional food critics on this island, especially in this forum.
    Keep up your great style of cooking !

  2. Anonymous says:

    Icoa is a gem. Staff meet you at the door with a smile. Food is always good and the menu offers items you just can’t get most other places. As for value for money, can’t be beat. Highly recommend it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I had an amazing Saturday lunch with a friend. I wasn’t there for the view but I think the décor is nice enough to look at without needing a view.
    Service was great. The place is small enough to attract attention if you need something.
    I have also had the street food menu in the evening and thought that was amazing as well.
    I’m always too full for dessert. Always.
    I will be going back for lunch or dinner.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Once you get used to how the menu works, this place is brilliant and I love it. I am surprised it is not busier some evenings, however as mentioned the location may be something to do with it. However it’s definitely a go to venue for my wife and I, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I have to tell you we are particularly fussy, so finding a place like this is great.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good to know. Thanks!