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Food At The Moose Bar

Sarah Tierney discovers some serious cooking going on behind the Spinningfields Ice Rink

Published on December 7th 2011.


Food At The Moose Bar

 FOOD tastes better when you've done some exercise, particularly if its bracing outdoors exercise. I might have been tempted onto the ice rink outside Moose Bar but Body Confidential Editor Lynda Moyo said she 'doesn't do extreme sports', and Helen Ramsbottom wasn't going to hang around in the cold when there was the promise of cheese fondu and hot chocolate indoors.

Indoors they're just as picky about their produce and production, making the stocks for their casseroles and soups from scratch.

Moose Bar is the pop-up place overlooking Spinningfields Ice Rink but food-wise it's a world away from the vinegary chips in cones you used to get at Alty ice rink. It's run by the Street Food Collective, a seriously passionate bunch determined to bring good quality street food to Manchester. By that they mean food that's hot, freshly-made, and cheap enough to eat on your lunch hour.

SFC's Peter Sheppard took us outside to demonstrate. Here there's a stand selling 'hand-held' food such as bacon butties (£3), home-made soup (£3) and sausage sandwiches (£4). So far so German markets, and haven't we got street-loads of them already?

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Except there was a big difference in quality here. Rather than Aldi bratwursts in your bun, we got Mancunian sausages from Styal Butchers. (It's like a Cumberland but finer and not so strong on pepper). Street Food Collective give the butcher their own sausage specifications, such as a Toulouse sausage in a twirl, and are fussy about the size and shape of their bangers. They've got to be easy-eats as well as taste good.

Indoors they're just as picky about their produce and production, making the stocks for their casseroles and soups from scratch. Bouillon is banned – we could tell when we tucked in. Their stroganoff with wild rice (£8.50) was beautifully rich thanks to that sauce. Flavoursome and rustic, it was really good stuff.

They also do cassoulet, goulash, and Tuscan bean stew (all £8.50). Plus sharing platters (£12) and sizzling plates of chicken, sirloin steaks and wild boar, all served with accompaniments (£11.95-£16.95). It's Alpine mountain food – warming, carb-heavy, and as comforting for a windswept office worker as for a slope-weary skier.

The décor has been chosen to match the mountain theme. Moose (plural) peer down on the wooden bar, the seating is at long chalet-style tables, and there's a cosy corner with leather sofas.

The outdoor stand is only open at weekends when the ice rink is very busy but you can get similar fare inside during the week. Moose Bar's Off-Piste Menu features quick food and takeaway options such as the Mancunian sausage served with mushy peas and crusty bread (£5), and roasted tomato soup finished with croutons and dices of chorizo (£4.50).
There's also an extensive kids menu for £3.50.

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Next we tried the cheese fondu (£7 per head), a gooey delight made from emmental, gruyere and a soft white wine. You can choose what dippers you want. (In the interest of research, we had them all). Courgette, sausages, toasted focaccia, steak, carrot, Applewood cheddar. Cheese dipped in cheese. What's wrong with that?

For lesser eaters, this would have been more than enough food but we're professionals. We finished on a bubbling cauldron of chocolate fondue (£4.50 per head) served with brioche, chocolate brownies, banana and marshmallows. It was smooth and creamy and I wanted to take it home with me.

Sadly, this wasn't practical. But with Moose Bar only a pirouette away from our office building, return trips are planned. We're not going on the ice though – this food tastes good enough without the fresh air and exercise beforehand.

Moose Bar is open daily until 2 January. Skaters get 10% off food and Confidential  Heroes get 25% off food (not in conjunction with any other offer).

For more information, including details of Christmas Party packages, visit www.themoosebar.com

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