Bringing authentic American and Canadian style of dining to Manchester’s bustling city centre, Moose Coffee on York Street just off Piccadilly Gardens celebrates the large portions and good quality of traditional American breakfast cuisine. TNT arrived on Tuesday 11 May to capture the Moose experience firsthand.
The wooden interior with its chandeliers formed from moose antlers, and moose heads decorating the walls, is beautifully in-keeping with the American-Canadian theme. Intimate booths line the walls offering their inhabitants a little privacy from the hustle and bustle of the cafe. There is a constant stream of customers, and Jess, the manager, informed TNT that on weekends especially, there is often “at least an hour’s wait for tables”. This should not deter you, however, but reassure you that the quality of the food and service establishes customers that will return time and time again.
A little off the beaten track, Moose Coffee remains accessible to the crowds of people spilling out over Manchester’s teeming city centre, whilst retaining a little privacy and intimacy. There is a lovely, spacious outside dining area that in the increasing sunshine will certainly become a popular choice. Whilst TNT was there, we noticed that most of the tables were occupied by professionals and business people, presumably from the offices of the local area on a quick lunch break. Somehow, Moose is able to attract this calibre of customer whilst remaining unpretentious and thus is appealing to a vast number of people.
The menu boasts dishes with names that are reminiscent of the Western theme; the ‘One-eyed Moose’ and the ‘Bronx Brunch’ to name just two from the extensive list. TNT ordered a Moose hot chocolate, which was served as a luxury handmade chocolate stick to be swirled into a steaming mug of hot milk. This allows the drinker to choose their own degree of rich chocolatey flavour and adds a lovely American touch. The caramel macchiato, topped with delicious whipped cream was a delight, and both drinks were served in large white mugs with the Moose Coffee logo – a coffee bean with antlers – printed on the side.
The music was audible on arrival but as the cafe began to fill up it was surpassed by the buzz of happy chatter. TNT’s waitress, Kayla was charming and attentive, and only too happy to comply with our every request.
Predominantly a breakfast eatery, Moose caters for lunch with a variety of sandwiches, salads and burgers, but TNT thought we would sample dishes from the varied breakfast menu they are so renowned for. The Phoenix comprised two enormous slices of soft brioche French toast, one smothered in strawberry jam and the other dripping with melting peanut butter. It was accompanied by a jug of sweet maple syrup and a dusting of icing sugar. The flavours were sublime, with a drizzle of maple syrup setting of the saltiness of the peanut butter perfectly. The Smoked Moose provided a perfectly prepared smoked salmon and a generous portion of creamy scrambled eggs atop a thick slice of brown wholemeal toast. Both breakfasts were wonderful; there are no elaborate decorations or garnishes, but the food simply doesn’t require it. The quality and quantity speaks for itself.
The Phoenix and The Smoked Moose cost £6.50 and £7.00 respectively, which TNT agreed was very fair pricing especially considering the sheer amounts of food on each plate. Main meals from the rest of the menu vary between £5.30 and £9.00, with drinks averaging at £3.00 for a shake, £2.80 for a hot drink, and £1.80 for a cold drink. At the front counter, an array of succulent cakes and other little treats are on display, but by the time you’ve made your way through your meal, it is hard to believe that anyone would have room for anything more. These would make a perfect indulgent snack to accompany one of their delicious coffees though if you were passing through quickly.
TNT caught up with manager Jess at the end of our breakfast to ask her a few questions about Moose Coffee. She explained to us how this particular branch has been open since 1 August 2013, but that it is part of a wider chain. The first opened its doors in Crosby around 8 years ago and has enjoyed enormous success ever since. We asked her what she thought to be the most unique aspect of Moose, and what it provides that no other cafe in the plethora of Manchester’s dining scene is able to. Jess responded that not only is it the quantity and quality of the food served, the arrangement and decor of the interior, but the “relaxed”atmosphere and “nice vibe”created by the friendly rapport between staff. “All our staff are very close with each other,” Jess explained to us, which she feels helps keep things running smoothly. We had to agree; we had been made to feel incredibly at home, and thoroughly enjoyed our American-Canadian dining experience.