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Moso

Lynda Moyo heads to Moso Moso for some Eastern cramming

Written by . Published on July 18th 2007.


Moso

It has to be said that if you want good Chinese food there’s no place like home, and by home I mean of course, Chinatown.

The general consensus is if you see Chinese people going there, then it must be reasonable. If you don’t, then it’s probably a money machine trying to encourage ignorant Westerners to spend a fortune shovelling down egg fried rice and sweet and sour chicken with an oh-so-authentic fork.

“The melt in the mouth satay chicken and spicy Thai fish cakes could be eaten as morishly as a tube of Pringles.”

Either that or its just plain old crap. So for a Chinese restaurant not just outside Chinatown but all the way over in another village; the Student Village, one has to wonder how it is ever going to be a success. We all know what students feel about food: on a heavy night out a dead rat in a bap smothered in ketchup would do.

Deciding I needed someone who knows his har gau from his char siu, I took my Mr Wong (Dom) to Moso Moso, the restaurant on Oxford Road. This is owned by another Wong, namely Raymond Wong who it seems took his Far Eastern themed idea that worked so well at Pacific on George Street, threw it into the gauntlet of choc-a-bloc curry houses and hoped for the best. His best is good enough.

Moso Moso is spacious, light and welcoming. The lobby made us stop in our tracks to look at what appeared to be a pimped out emperor’s wheelchair and some other pretty water features. The menu, typical with Asian-fusion places, is lengthy. There are plenty of staff who are very attentive, coming over three times in 15 minutes to find out if we were ready to order yet. My first assumption was that they were being rushy. However, much the opposite, the staff can’t do enough for you, and without sounding ridiculously soppy, this is because they genuinely want you to have an enjoyable experience.

Deciding to share a set dinner at the price of £19.50 per head, we went about selecting our options. The waitress quickly pointed out that we only needed to choose a starter and a main course as we get all of the in-between dishes anyway. “What? All of them?” I yelped. That includes, by the way, deep fried vegetable spring rolls, steamed beef dumplings with ginger and spring onions, Thai deep fried spicy fish cakes, Thai deep fried salt and sour spicy spare ribs, Thai barbeque skewered satay chicken, seaweed and hoisin duck wraps. And we haven’t even touched on the main courses yet.

Like competing in three up-hill ultra marathons in a row, this was a satisfying struggle. To be honest I felt full after the starter of crab meat and sweetcorn soup, which was the best soup I’ve had in a long time. The sweetcorn tasted like it had just been picked that day and when mixed with the crab meat and stock formed a creamy chowder it was scrummy.

The platter was equally satisfying. The melt in the mouth satay chicken and spicy Thai fish cakes could be eaten as morishly as a tube of Pringles. Slightly disappointing were the spring rolls which were bland and had been left in the oil a bit too long and the beef dumplings which tasted like gristle in no frills gravy, although Dom disagreed saying: “generally those dumplings aren’t a popular choice but for what they are, these ones are top notch.”

Round three, the duck wraps were impressively prepared in front of us; the waiter shredding the quarter duck at the table like a dramatic scene from a martial arts film. By the time the main courses arrived we were quite frankly ready to collapse, but not before attempting to conquer a salmon that looked like it had been on steroids for the majority of its life, smothered in sweet and sour sauce rich in colour and smell.

However it tasted drier than I’d expected; more like tough turkey than succulent salmon. Shame really, but this was probably more my error than the chefs for choosing what Dom had already advised “an odd combination of fish and flavour.” But then again this is a set menu and should be a safe selection of dishes. Dom chose the mixed seafood with dry Thai yellow curry which was much, much better. A plethora of coconutty sea treasures providing a flavoursome finish to what had been a culinary hike and a half. Oh well, it’s the taking part that counts I thought as I rolled out of Moso Moso.

My only issue with the set dinner was the fact that the portions were too big. What should have been a pyramid eating affect, whereby you get progressively fuller, was instead a ‘stuff you full to beyond the point of feeling nauseous’ experience. But rather this than leaving hungry hey. All in all good value and exceptional service, just make sure you wear your stretchy pants.

Rating: 14.5/20
Breakdown: 6/10 Food
4.5/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Moso Moso
403 - 419 Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9WL
0161 832 2245

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

mirandaJuly 18th 2007.

What with Mark Garner threatening to sue himself for libel and Sleuth simultaneously libelling channel m, today is a good day for Manchester lawyers.

DomJuly 18th 2007.

To "Anonymous" where is this Kwak Man you speak so highly of?

AnonymousJuly 18th 2007.

Not been in a few months (maybe even a year) but when I've been I've found the food superb but the service very rushed. I think the last time we were in and out in 40 minutes. Did enjoy the Thai salads though. Also liked being able to order 'proper' Thai and 'proper' Chinese off the same menu. Oh, and the worst food (of any nationality) I've had was at Kwok Man which is a couple of doors down from Yang Sing. Truly shocking.

peter ridleyJuly 18th 2007.

Scott, The fabulous thunderbird are a American 70,s RnB band fronted by the best harmonica player in the world, goes by the name of Kim

Mark Garner The PublisherJuly 18th 2007.

To the first anonymous I find your comment about my food critics wanting a backhander libelous. I allow an awful lot of licence to free speech on my rant pages and have not yet banned anyone's email address from them, but you are pretty close. Grow up. Or I will. If you don't agree with a critics score we are unique in allowing the readers to redress the balance themselves, on the same page as the review. That, I think, is honourable and adequate.

WayneJuly 18th 2007.

Miranda, that would be very Confidential

peter ridleyJuly 18th 2007.

Three of us ate there before going to the Fabulous Thunderbirds gig on Tuesday. The food and service were excellent10/10

scottJuly 18th 2007.

who on earth are the fabulous thunderbirds peter?

AnonymousJuly 18th 2007.

I agree! the food is amazing. the only problems i've encountered eating here is the staff often don't understand that people in a group may all want to eat at once - even if some of them only order starters and some only mains and some only dim sum... and will bring in it's normal order therefore leaving people waiting for food...can't fault the food for that though!

VictoriaJuly 18th 2007.

Does this place do many Vegetarian dishes?

AnonymousJuly 18th 2007.

Best chinese food inside & outside Chinatown.14.5/20 is a disgrace or your critic wanted a backhander as usual!21/20 is more like it and I been eating chinese since before the late Tony Lai open the Kwak Man!!!

Mary ClareJuly 18th 2007.

I was disappointed with the score of 14.5/20. I have eaten many times at Moso Moso and I have never been less than extremely satisfied with everything including the food, the service and the ambiance. I brought a group of friends there last year and they absolutely loved it too. 20/20 for me. In particular the Thai food is excellent - especially the Thai salads. Another recommendation is the Chilli Scallops - mmmmh!! We had our works Christmas do there last Christmas and they served an excellent and very varied buffet with a disco upstairs afterwards - so if you are all thinking of somewhere to have your next do think no further!!!

AnonymousJuly 18th 2007.

I know its a food guide but the 'salsa' at Moso is good too!! There are Authentic Cuban Salsa dance classes with Juan & Susan every Thursday evening, and their monthly party nights there are great as well. Go for Salsa and the food too!

TimJuly 18th 2007.

HORRIBLE! I ordered chicken and my friend ordered duck, I forgot which sauces they were soaked in but it's all academic really. The texture of both meats was truly revolting, very rubbery, very processed, and absolutely tasteless. When we complained to the manager, he actually argued with us and stated in no uncertain terms it was "premium chicken" and "premium duck" and, this is the best bit, they serve it in exactly the same way 7 days a week... surely not a case for the defence! He made us pay for the rice. Don't eat here, we certainly won't be again.

mirandaJuly 18th 2007.

that's interesting, can a publisher sue his own site for libel?genuinely, I'm curious.

CMJuly 18th 2007.

Mosu Mosu is great (the more unusual menu items usually proving to be the stand out stufff)... I think it (as well as the brilliant Tai Pan on Upper Brook St) puts most of Chinatown to shame!

w murphyJuly 18th 2007.

they obviously knew who you were and that you was coming! My wife and i visited this place , we were seated upstair in what could only be described as an overspill area "normally reserved for buffet lunch". the surroundings were not as they are on the lower floor which is enticing form the roadside, and the staff service was non existant. we would have been better off and more appreciated at the kebab shop across the way.

Mary ClareJuly 18th 2007.

Moso Moso have a vegetarian section in their menu. The menu is available on line at http://www.mosomoso.co.uk/menu.htmWe often eat vegetarian there and it's second to none.

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