I tried moka in Chigwell - the coffee house with impressive brunch dishes that was everything I needed

Eggs Royale at Moka in Chigwell High Road
-Credit: (Image: EssexLive)


Within seconds of crossing the road by Chigwell tube station, you’ll hit speciality coffee house Moka. On what was an unbearably hot day, I snuck in to reinvigorate myself.

And restored, I was, in this modern café with simple décor and a friendly team. It has indoor and outdoor seating, covering around 40, with tables prettily decorated with small carnations.

The choice was tough: I spent a while contemplating the cabinet teeming with an array of upmarket cool drinks and time-honoured classics, the large selection of generously stuffed sandwiches, pastries, cakes, the coffee lists on chalkboards, and the leather-bound menus. This combination offers something for every mood, every taste, every diet.

At moka, you order at the counter. The service was quick and friendly as I headed up to make my order. I chose a cold drink. The Mangajo lemon and green tea was everything I needed. Light, crisp and delicate. The flavour hit that ever-elusive sweet spot between being overpowering and overly watery.

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Actually, it turns out the cold tea wasn’t quite everything I needed. Dark orange yolks oozed from my eggs royale as I tucked into my lunch. The dish was garnished with chives and paprika, a perfect complement to the fresh-tasting salmon beneath a light hollandaise sauce.

It was so good that my envy at the couple opposite me soon subsided. Pangs of green-eyed hunger had been mounting in my stomach ever since two generous, steaming portions of the lavish moka brunch had been brought to their table. Order between 9am and 3pm to get your teeth into it. There’s avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, balsamic glaze, pumpkin, sesame and chia seeds. Or the moka breakfast meat option. Or you can create your own brunch choosing your bread and four to six toppings.

It's not just eggs benedicts and brunch plates (although the former include halloumi, mushroom, and chicken options, and the latter… well, you’ve heard about that).

There are cocktails – Pimms, Aperol spritz, Campari spritz, espresso ‘mokatini’ and Negronis. There’s coffee (of course), iced coffee, nine types of tea, as well as matcha, chai, and turmeric lattes. And don’t forget the milk alternatives, coffee syrups, and the chance to make it Dutch with dashes of Baileys, Cointreau, and Jameson whiskey.

-Credit:EssexLive
-Credit:EssexLive

You can also choose from sandwiches on sourdough, rye, bagel, challah roll, wrap or baguette breads, salads, soups and a children’s menu. That’s not forgetting porridges you didn’t know existed – Biscoff porridge, anyone? Oh, and ice creams and ‘three pancake tacos’.

Turn to the back of the menu for a quick history lesson on the moka bar and its significance to the British youth culture scene. And find out what Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida has got to do with it.

There’s ample chance to ‘smell the moka’, as they say here: the café is open every day. From Monday to Friday at 8am-5pm, 9am-5pm on Saturdays and 9am-4pm on Sundays.

Posters on the wall tell me that on ‘fizzy Fridays’ a bottle of Prosecco is £15 all day, and that during cocktail happy hour (everyday from 3pm-5pm), cocktails are two for £12.

This article is part of EssexLive's series Essex Eats where a member of our team reviews an independent food business in the county. We don't tell the business we're coming and we don't tell them who we are while we're there. Every meal for EssexEats is paid for by us and not gifted. Check back every Thursday for our top pick that week of a great food spot in Essex.