Not that I'd want to impinge on comrade Mingus's territory, but I do make an effort of publicising outstanding businesses when I encounter them in Estonia. At the moment, I'm quite impressed by the Moka cafe.
The location is most known for its thin-crust pizza, and back when I was in university, I'd spend many a free period in the Pronto Pizzeria that was Moka's previous iteration. The cafe was renovated a few years ago, getting a better decor and some vital additions, such as an easily accessible bathroom. They kept their mainstays of pizza and a soup/salad bar, adding a pretty good selection of baked goods.
I'm not sure when exactly they got their current chef, but Mingus had good things to say about Moka back in October. Recently, they also got a new PR person, because Moka now has a pretty aggressive consolidated presence across Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. They continuously post beautiful shots of really well-presented dishes. Normally I'm not necessarily a fan of zealous advertising, but Moka manages to not be annoying or overbearing about it.
I went in the other day, and ordered something off the menu - the seafood bisque. It was outstanding. A delicious, creamy broth served over a half-dozen scallops, backed by a side dish of a fishcake and potato mash, all garnished with sundry seafood and served beautifully. If they're using pedestrian ingredients, they're hiding it well through both preparation and presentation, and seafood is a very difficult thing to get right in Tartu - the very posh and self-important La Dolce Vita served me diced surimi sticks on a frutti di mare pasta not so long ago. Were I to criticise, the biggest downsides of my Moka experience were the single napkin that my knife and fork came wrapped in (I don't have the dexterity to operate scallops without resorting to my fingers), and the fact that the bread served was a store-bought roll with the sort of cheap cheese topping that Mingus hates with a passion. But this really is the biggest gripe I can think of, and I am being terribly petty: they wouldn't have denied me more napkins had I asked, and the roll was at least warmed up. Competitors such as Truffe or Pierre have better bread, but Moka's food was miles ahead of anything I'd had in either recently. Most importantly, the bisque was a laughable 72 kroons! It may be expensive for a soup, but this was a hearty enough dish to satisfy an adult, and at less than five Euro, it is scandalous value.
Moka Bravo indeed. I just hope they can keep it up.
A tale of two countries
5 weeks ago