While we’re on a roll of cafe reviews local to my gaff in Essex, it would seem churlish not to review Mo’s Cafe here in Tiptree. Mo’s is an institution, formerly run by Maureen Hogg, whose death was reported by the Daily Gazette in Maldon this last week (Oct 2013):
A community is mourning the loss of a woman who ran a popular café for more than 30 years. The family of Maureen Hogg, who ran Mo’s Café at The Centre in Tiptree, said they were “heartbroken” by their loss when paying tribute to her.
Maureen, known to everyone as Mo, founded the café and had worked there tirelessly, six days a week. She died suddenly at home aged 66 after working a 12-hour shift.
Daughter Hayley Kirkman said: “We have had grown men in here crying their eyes out – everyone liked her. We were lucky to have her. Her life was her grandchildren and the whole family is heartbroken.”
RIP Mo, but her cafe lives on as a focal point of the community, popular with locals of all ages, sizes and shapes, from the workmen in yellow jackets to OAPs with zimmer frames. It’s an unpretentious establishment, warm and friendly, even if the refurbed decor in red and white plastic is a tad garish for my tastes. It’s clean and functional, offers standard cafe fare but stays above the greasy spoon by making an effort – fresh flowers are a nice touch, for example.
Food and drink are nothing special, but do deliver what the locals expect – cheap and plentiful, plus a smile from the manageress, whose orangey hair clashes with the red plastic but certainly acts as a talking point.
Did I say plentiful? For £6.50 I got their full breakfast including a mug of decent instant coffee. It was a plateful, including a sausage but stacks of back bacon. I mean I lost count of how many rashers there were, hiding among the beans and mound of sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. A fried egg reclined cheerfully on a thick slice of buttered toast, cooked to order. The ingredients were not the finest on the market but they did what was asked of them – they filled a hole and helped the day start with a bang and with a smallish hole carved from the wallet.
Don’t expect Mo’s to hit the culinary heights of other cafes, but what you see is very firmly what you get, and none the worse for that.