A classic, aishapaedia-styled review was necessary on this place to determine whether the hype was real or really overrated. My verdict is a bit of both, and to be honest I think there are a variety of reasons for this which doesn’t leave this situation entirely hopeless. Having opened up two years ago, I was able to test out the food and its colourfully decorated coffee in my last visit to England. People of Leicester – be sure to read on and tell me whether you think this place was worth it or not!
Starting with location, this cafe is tucked away in the corner of Evington Road. As a student, I walked past this area countless of times and it was always a place that seemed too dead to attract anyone. Having only recently opened two years ago, I have to commend the idea and location. It is situated behind the bus stop and it is not so far away from the food hustle of London Road. When you walk inside there is an urban hipster vibe that instantly captures your eye. Polaroids, vintage tables, wooden counter tops, everything is as antique and as classic as it gets in this cafe – and I’m loving it! It may be small but the attention to details speaks volumes.
As a cosy cafe, you can’t expect too many people and in fact you can expect a maximum of 3 servers. After my friend gave me a bit of background information about this place, I realised it is a family-run cafe so everything is prepared heartily. The owner is usually behind the till and the coffee machine. Feel free to ask him about your dietary requirements because they’re more than willing to accommodate. Oh, and their attention to presentation leaves you questioning as to whether this place really could be from the Midlands.
Now here is where it gets tricky for me especially since good food is the main reason why I would go out for my coffee and quick bite. I ordered the “Mokha” since it seemed to be relevant and somewhat their signature drink. I accompanied this with their peri-peri chicken panini and salad. The cat art was quirky and I am not sure if my personality exudes that I am meant to be a cat lady but that certainly added some brownie points. Having worked at Starbucks, I have always had high expectations for good coffee and knowing what it is meant to taste like. Unfortunately, there was a fly in my coffee but even a few sips before that I would say that the coffee itself wasn’t so great. In fact, it tasted like a lukewarm latte. Where was the “Mokha” in Saints of Mokha? This made me question my order and thought that maybe next time I should go full hipster and order matcha tea to really gain that hype, but after I saw the fly I instantly stopped thinking of coffee. Well, you may ask – was the panini as good as it looked? It was tasty and the salad was light and refreshing. The only downside before I could get to the eating was a massive hair on my panini – gross right?!
Although they changed my panini straight away, I began to question the health and safety standards because a fly and a hair can’t be good luck, right? Maybe I just went on a bad day? I’m desperately trying to review the place without being too harsh but I always seek to give honest reviews. After a couple of hours, I came back with my dad where he ordered a rose iced coffee and I took this as my opportunity to test out more of the menu. Despite its variety and detail to presentation that is pretty much as good as it gets for me. The rose iced coffee lacked flavour and its overall taste was unsatisfactory. In fact, the only tasty dish was the salad that accompanied the panini.
Was it worth it? Yes and no. Leicester has only a handful of good coffee shops and those that have artisan coffee tend to be a little pricier. This coffee shop tends to charge the same prices as those elite coffee shops but fails to live up to the same standards, based on their disappointing food and coffee. The only things which could compel me to come back would have to be the atmosphere and service. The staff are friendly, warm and willing to help which makes the fly and hair mishap seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Overall, I would say that a coffee shop like this in Leicester is great for its halal–eating Muslim market and I think the presentation of the shop is worth the hype. The food on the other hand? There is definitely more to improve on and I would love to give it another chance if I ever do decide to visit again. Would I come back? Probably, since its location is not far from where I live in England, but I do not think I would be in a rush. Hopefully next time there is less hair and flies!
Till next post!