Friday, August 10, 2018

Fun Playing With Dumplings and More at Koko Cafe, Cleveland OH Asiatown

Koko Bakery, located in Cleveland's storied Asiatown, has been cranking out magnificent Chinese bakery items, rice plates, sandwiches, bubble teas, and desserts for about 10 years and I've previously written about them here and here (OMG, those photos with my first digital point and shoot!). Recently, the owners expanded into the space next door, and they've opened Koko Cafe. The 40 seat restaurant offers a Cantonese-driven menu that features dumplings, noodles and steam buns, but also includes authentic Cantonese staples such as Congee, Hot Pots, Seafood, Meat and Vegetarian items. 

Our intrepid group of six dumpling lovers descended on them last night for a sampling and it was delicious!

The first plate to come out was the ubiquitous Rice Noodle Roll. But this wasn't your average Dim Sum joint packaged noodle Rice Roll!

These Rice Noodle Rolls were stuffed with Dried Radish, also known as Mooli or Robo Gan. And the best part - these were freshly made rice noodle sheets. Even the sauce, which is usually a pretty basic soy-vinegar mixture, had pizazz. A fabulous start.

We shared three orders of dumplings around the table, so I wasn't able to photograph each plate. The first two were fried - Pork and Leek, and Pork and Shrimp:

We ordered the third dumpling, Pork and Cabbage, steamed.

They were a little overly generous with the steam, as you can see. However, the wrapper was clearly house-made (harder to tell that for sure with the fried ones, because, well, fried) and the filling tasty. 

Rounding out the dumpling parade was this order of Fish Dumpling in Soup. Again, every component had house-made taste and texture. The fish flavor in the dumplings was strong, but not unpleasant. The consomme was delightful and mini bok choy had enough crunch for a contrasting texture.

Steamed buns came next. The BBQ Pork version had happy faces painted on them!

The Chicken and Vegetable Bun wasn't so fancily adorned.

We liked the pork filling a bit better better than the chicken, but I'd happily consume either. They were larger than the typical Dim Sum bun, and the dough smelled so fresh and melted in the mouth.

Bob and I were determined to balance out the dumplings, buns and noodles with vegetation, and the Stir Fried Pea Pod Leaves With Garlic Sauce did not disappoint.

As tasty as this dish was, it lacked the ethereal melt-in-the-mouth goodness we'd experienced in the same dish last week at Aristo Bistro. Still, it was a worthy accompaniment to the Dim Sum. 

Two of our group ordered noodle dishes that I tasted. The Singapore Noodles (called that everywhere in the world except for Singapore, I am told) packed a greater than usual spicy punch that was most enjoyable. Sorry, no photo. We also enjoyed the Cantonese Pan-Fried Noodle with Pork, below.

The topping was a little salty, but the crispy noodle pancake was perfectly cooked and soaked up the goodness on top. 

There are desserts listed on the Cafe menu, and one may also get anything available at the Bakery in the Cafe. We were too stuffed by our dumpling fest to indulge.

Overall, Koko Cafe offered a fun variety of dumplings, buns, noodles and other Cantonese goodies that were mostly house-made and well worth the trek downtown. Accompanied by their signature Bubble Tea (Taro, please!), it made for a very satisfying meal. We are looking forward to playing there again sometime soon!

As with Koko Bakery, online presence and info is minimal. The primary menu items can be seen at, but there are an additional two pages of entrees that weren't there as of this writing, so they are reproduced below:

Koko Cafe
3710 Payne Avenue
Suite #104
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Open 7 Days

A fun new Cleveland option to play with dumplings!

1 comment:

  1. Also worth mentioning are the "cucumbers in garlic sauce," which are served in a delicious chili-peanut sauce.