Anthony from Little Theo’s opened his latest venture, Mokka cafe in Erindale in September. Have you been yet?
Situated smack in the middle of Erindale Shopping Centre, sans walls, a coffee at Mokka feels like a big warm hug from Nonna.
The team at Mokka work hard to make their regulars feel known and have a sense of ownership when they pull up a chair.
“I’m a child of the 80s, so I grew up watching Cheers. I wanted to make this place like Cheers – the place you go where everyone knows you. I’m on a first-name basis with about 90 per cent of our clientele.”
Anthony has been part of the food scene since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Some of his earliest food memories involve his godfather, who owned one of the first Italian bakeries on Norton Street in Leichhardt, Sydney.
“I remember being behind the counter. The counter seemed to go on for miles and it was just full of all these beautiful sweet cannolis and Italian pastries. I think I fell in love with it all then; that was what started it all for me.”
While Mokka’s counter doesn’t go on for miles, its quality makes up for quantity. A selection of scrumptious items fills their glass display case. My eyes go to the oversized muffins topped with drizzle and cream cheese icing.
As Anthony chats with me, I can’t help thinking that if a man loves cannoli so much that he has one tattooed on his arm, those he serves up in his cafe are going to be amazing. I make a mental note to order one.
I start my lunch with coffee. And it is good coffee, smooth and velvety. Comforting, robust, yet not overly bitter! It is the best coffee I have had in a while.
Speaking of coffee … Anthony’s goal in this first year of trade is to give away 100,000 free coffees!
“I believe I have the best loyalty program for coffee in Australia,” he enthuses, “because you buy three coffees here and get your fourth one free. A medium coffee is about $5 – if you buy three, that’s $15. You get your fourth one free, which works out to $3.75. I think we have the best prices and the best program.
“Coffee shouldn’t be a luxury. Everyone should be able to buy a coffee every day and escape from their normal life for five minutes.”
All sorts of gorgeous-looking sandwiches are ready to be grilled. I have seen their Reuben on their social media and I need to have one.
The bread is a small batch of artisan sourdough with a 77-hour ferment, rendering it light and spongy with a beautiful crust. Cheese, pickles, meat, and house-made sauerkraut – the Reuben panini is sublime. A must-try for Canberra’s foodie bucket list with its perfect crunch-to-sour-to-tangy-to-melted-cheese-to-pungent-meat ratio.
I declare Mokka to be Canberra’s “pressed panini emporium!” Sandwich lovers, get there now.
The arancino is a real surprise. I have to confess that I have never enjoyed arancino.
The size and shape of a duck egg, Mokka’s arancino is gorgeously crunchy, and the rice is not compacted inside. Inside, I find molten cheese, meat and veggies.
The cannoli does not disappoint. Stuffed with house-made ricotta studded with pistachios, that rich filling is citrus-scented with maybe a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg and not overly sweet. I really enjoy the flavours and contrast of smooth filling to crunchy fried pastry dough.
My lunch finishes with the affogato. And oh, my goodness!
First of all, this is a fun piece of food theatre.
Pour a gorgeous double shot into the recess of the coffee moka that holds a secret trove of vanilla ice cream and watch them blend together in russet swirls where each mouthful tastes delightfully different if you don’t overmix it.
What is better than coffee + ice cream? Not a lot, friends, not a lot.
Treat yourself, impress your foodie friends, surprise your colleagues – visit Mokka!
Original Article published by Michelle Taylor on Riotact.