I went to Mooshies Burger Bar a few months ago, and it was one of the first vegan restaurant experiences I had in London.
The restaurant has an unassuming and unbranded front in the heart of brick lane, which immediately tricks your brain into thinking this is a temporary venture. If you don’t look up the location before you go, you may find yourself wandering around the curry house streets in search of the burger treats.
Inside, the restaurant is furnished with benches and tables like you might have had back in school, which encourages a more inclusive and laid back vibe. I do quite enjoy this style of eating, on the right occasion, and why not? In this modern world of staring at smart phones, cut off from social interaction; It’s nice to immerse yourself with strangers. If your party is big enough you may get a table to yourself, otherwise be prepared to shuffle over and get elbow to elbow with your fellow diners. The only negative is that the seats are planks of wood so numb bum is certainly on the menu.
It’s set-up as a sort of fast-food dining experience. You order your food and grab your drinks at the bar and pay for it all at the start, then wait for your food to arrive at your table. This setup is great for quick, meeting friends types of meal but if you’re looking for a special occasion with slick service and ultimate comfort then this isn’t the one for you.
We ordered our two burgers of choice, a – ‘Pulled Mooshie Burger’ and a ‘Fillet-om-phish‘ – with an added side of cheesy sweet potato fries, and a couple of craft beers to wash it down with. We waited, chatting and drinking whilst a few more tables arrived and ordered.
The waiters whizzed up and down the stairs, to and from the kitchen, however we still had no food. After about 20 minutes the other tables started getting theirs but we had nothing, so I chased them up. I got smiles from the staff, but nothing arrived. Another 15 minutes went passed, another nudge to the waiters, but still nothing…
After 45 long and frustrating minutes, with several times of asking after our food, we sat in the fairly empty restaurant with numb bums, listening to the rumble of our empty bellies and considered giving up. Finally a waiter emerged from the kitchen carrying our order and plonked the plates down in front of us. They were pretty unapologetic about the delay which just soured the experience and left us feeling a bit shit to be honest.
With the food finally in front of us, I jumped straight into the ‘Pulled Mooshie‘. My first reaction was that it was okay. The flavour was a bit too much like your standard ‘Old El Paso‘ fajitas mix which got pretty boring, pretty quickly. Lucky I was sharing with my boyfriend so I only had to endure half, otherwise I might have given up on it.
The ‘Fillet-Om-Phish’ on the other hand, was excellent. It was filled with a piece of battered aubergine, perfectly complimented with Tartare Sauce and Nori Seaweed, giving it that fishy sea taste with a great crunchy texture. I could have eaten two!
The ‘Cheesy Sweet Potato Fries‘ were disappointing as the cheese hadn’t been melted so it just sat on top, cold, rigid and pathetic. This could definitely be improved upon.
I really felt like the whole Mooshies dining experience hadn’t really been thought out enough. The food was good but the baskets were just not big enough to hold the burger and fries with ease and have space for sauce. Places such as Patty & Bun, with a similar low key feel, give you a large paper sheet around the burger which you can easily unwrap and use for sauces and fries. In Mooshies I was left struggling to avoid eating directly off the table, making it an awkward food balancing affair. Causing an overuse of their paper napkins. I’m glad I wasn’t on a first date, put it that way!
I did enjoy my experience at Mooshies, despite the slow service, because that gem of a burger, the ‘Fillet-Om-Phish‘ , was just so damn good that it saved the day. I think they have managed to create an unpretentious ‘Diner’ experience, making it a great venue to take your non vegan friends to enjoy some sloppy burgers together, without them moaning about the lack of meat on offer.
I would love to give it another chance and try their whole menu but I would need to pick an evening when I wasn’t rushing off to something else, for fear that the service has not improved enough and I’d be numb-bumming there all night!