With one outlet in Islamabad and three in Lahore, Mocca Coffee is the latest entrant in the sea of coffee shops in Karachi. Their outlet is located at Khayaban-e-Shahbaz right next to Gymboree. Here is the Google maps link for reference.
My husband and I, being avid foodies, decided to check the place out a few days ago. The minimalistic interior of the café is inspired from Scandinavian architecture. The walls are painted off-white with wooden accents around and food inspired frames on the walls adding a pop of color. The menu is extensive, with soups, starters, sandwiches, desserts and, of course, two full pages devoted to drinks and of course, coffee. There is also a selection of low calorie, gluten as well as paleo entrées; options that are sorely missing in local restaurants.
We ordered soup, two different sandwiches, drinks and desserts. My husband’s soup arrived 10 minutes after the order was placed. Ash soup is a traditional Persian soup made with spinach, leeks, chickpeas, pulses, tahini and noodles topped with yoghurt and onions. On the side were two pieces of bread topped with what is known as Mocca’s signature remoulade sauce. The soup was hot and comforting while the piquant remoulade added a burst of flavor. Just as my husband was starting to enjoy the soup, our mains arrived. This can be called quick service but if the customer decides to order a starter, he/she should be allowed to enjoy it before the main arrives. We told the waiter that the mains will get cold, but as they were already prepared he placed them on the table and left.
My husband had ordered a crespelle or, more precisely, a crepe style wrap stuffed with shredded beef and mushrooms, doused with a creamy paprika sauce. The portion was generous, but needed more seasoning. I had ordered a pulled chicken sandwich in a soft tortilla bread with potato wedges. What I received was a dry tortilla stuffed with chicken, wilted coleslaw and a green salad with remoulade. I was expecting the chicken to be lackluster but it was delicious – the barbeque flavor came through with a subtle smokiness. I wish the rest of the plate had been better.
From the drinks section I had ordered the caramel coffee frappe. It was like a standard milkshake, nothing special to justify the price. Due to a service error, my husband’s mint lemonade never came and we just cancelled it at the end.
For desserts, we decided to walk upto the counter and order from what’s available. The counter guy was quite helpful in telling us about the dessert and mentioned how they also had a variety of sugar-free desserts made from Splenda. Hubby ordered the Scandinavian lemon pie while I ordered the blackcurrant macarons. Both were served about 2-3 minutes later at our table. The lemon pie came with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and lemon sauce drizzled on top. My husband enjoyed his lemon pie, mentioning that the ice-cream was necessary to balance the strong tart citrusy flavor. I personally found it too lemony for my taste. On the other hand, my macaron was scrumptious. Crispy and crunchy with a lovely vanilla filling inside. It was generous in size, unlike the tiny macarons available at Lals.
We did have a talk with the manager and communicated our concerns. Overall, Mocca Coffee has potential but faces tough competition from established brands like Espresso, Lals, Xander’s and even Gloria Jeans. Plus the premium (higher than Espresso), and gratuitously fancy sounding menu may be a turn-off for potential customers. The year ahead will surely decide whether the chain would be a success in Karachi or will it be laid to rest in the coffee house graveyard.
Contact Details – Mocca Coffee: