When I was planning my trip to Malta I had not expected to be reviewing a Kiwi run coffee bar like those populating the streets of London, Mebourne and Auckland. I discovered Mint thanks to a recommendation on Twitter to try out a Maltese restaurant in Sliema; a fortuitous decision to take the ferry from Sliema to Valetta rather than brave the traffic on the approaches to Malta’s capital; and a mention in Time Out’s Malta and Gozo publication that Mint was a great place for a coffee.
Sliema is an up market resort full of top end shops and a number of boutique hotels. It has just had a facelift with an improved promenade that curves round Marsamxett Harbour.
The lime green and chocolate brown signature colours are not easy to miss. Outside there is a small but not crowded terrace. Inside the decor is all dark wood which makes for a very dark interior. On our first visit the weather was decidedly windy so we had our coffee and cake inside. It was crowded, a testament to its popularity.
The bar is run by a New Zealand couple and there is at least one other Kiwi serving. Several Maltese are also learning the skills of these antipodean baristas. Each time I visited, and I have to admit going back three times, it was full each time. Despite this the wait was not inordinately long, just long enough to log onto the free wifi offered.
All the usual espresso based coffee drinks were on offer plus a couple of variations of iced coffees. In addition there were homemade smoothies and lemonade along with a variety of teas and hot chocolate. I ordered a flat white to see how it compared with those back home. It came with a dense foam and some fairly standard latte art on top. Maltese coffee draws heavily on the Italian cafe culture but has less of a kick. I fully expected a gentle and perhaps a little weak flat white. I was most surprised to discover it was full bodied and had a deep nutty taste with overtones of dark chocolate. Perfectly brewed it would give my favourite flat white from Grind in Putney a run for its money.
On my second visit, a much warmer day, I went for an iced coffee which was equally as good.
There are plenty of snacks on offer and like elsewhere in Malta these were a generous size. They maybe called snacks but the are easily a full meal. The cakes were also generous in size. Mint’s signature cake is a New Zealand carrot cake with a Maltese twist. Others offerings were chocolate brownie cake, several variations on raspberry flavoured cakes and several more variations on the ubiquituos chocolate.
It’s always good to try out a signature dish or cake as it is the showcase of the cafe and is what they are all about. The carrot cake certainly did not let them down. Moist and with plenty of fruit, candied peel and nuts with a cream cheese topping it was pure delight. My wife sampled the choclate brownie cheese cake which, as a chocoholic, she said was so full of flavour. I just had to try some. I totally agree with her assessment.
Even if the coffee was bad, which it isn’t, I would go back for the cake. It really is a case of having your cake and eating it.
If you love your coffee the third wave way and are missing your fix while on holiday then heading to Sliema while on Malta is the thing to do. Of course there is more to do on Malta, but every time we headed to Valetta we stopped at Mint. I wasn’t disappointed the second or third time either.
Where to find Mint
30/39 Luzio Junction,
Stella Maris Street, Sliema
SLM 1741 – Malta
T: (+356) 2133 7117, E: firstname.lastname@example.org