Moor & Hitch – Queensway
From the outside, Moor & Hitch may, at first appearance, look like just another cafe, albeit one that serves a variety of coffees and full English breakfasts served with Marguez sausages; but it’s far more than that.
The name, for instance, gives away one such inspiration: Moorish. And a quick glance at the menu only confirms this with dishes that include a Pulled Duck Burger with hoisin sauce (Chinese); another containing chorizo topped with a marguez Turkish sausage; smoked ribs and steaks served with a chimichurri sauce (Argentinian); and the all too familiar American-inspired flavours and ingredients.
With a straightforward theme and decor that comprises of simple furniture, including comfortable blood-orange leather seating that matches up well with the bare-brick walls and wooden panelling, Moor & Hitch is clean, spaciously airy (being able to accommodate 58) and very well lit.
But, with such a variety of apparent cuisines on show, would this two-month old eatery turn out to be a Jack-of-all-trades?
Both the Mojito and the Sangria flattered to deceive. Despite their decent presentation, the mint in the former was so strong that it left an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste, while in contrast, the latter barely delivered on any flavour at all.
Thankfully though, the lemon Sherbet – which wasn’t on the menu at the time, but desperately needs to be – was perfectly balanced and packed one hell of a punch. Sharp and tangy, and beautifully offset by just the right level of sweetness, this drink’s eye-squinting kick pleasantly hit the back of the throat, and had you slurping for more. Undeniably delicious!
Certainly the show-stopper of the night. This Smokey Joe was presented in a large glass-bell jar that was filled with smoke, and which certainly needed that thick lifting rope given its surprising weight.
Ultimately though, this uniform-looking burger lacked all-round flavour. Had the turkey bacon, for instance, been more crispier, then not only would this have intensified its smokiness, but would have provided that much needed textural contrast to a burger whose consistency was, on the whole, much the the same.
Not only did it smell of a combination of BBQ and hoisin sauce, but also delivered on the smokiness too.
Taste-wise, however, it was mildly BBQ in flavour with the gentle sweetness of the hoisin sauce running through the background.
Coupled with the crunchy onions and the firm wetness of the cucumber, this was a lovely burger.
The patty, finely textured and holding up well, was flavourful and covered in an amalgam of strong chorizo strips and Monterey Jack cheese.
The salsa sauce provided a touch of sweet tanginess that went well with the heat generated by the jalapenos therein.
And to top things off, quite literally, was this delicious Marguez Turkish sausage which, with its strong spicy peppery taste, ended things quite superbly.
The flavours going on in this veggie burger were quite something.
And what made this essentially was the grilled halloumi. With its salty undertone, not only did it properly compliment the mixed vegetable patty with its fresh tasting peas, but also the mild sweetness of the chipotle sauce.
But it was the addition of the mint that really set this apart. Every now and again, that refreshingly sharp, icy hit of mint would cut right through the salty-sweetness of the burger to act as a kind of palate cleanser. Very clever indeed, and a burger definitely worth going back for.
STEAKS & GRILL
Easily flaking to the touch, they were glazed in a mildly sweet BBQ marination and sprinkled in what we were told were Chinese peppercorns, the taste of which we’ll defer to the following dish.
In all, pretty decent ribs these.
But what really brought this steak alive were its two accompanying elements: 1) those aforementioned and distinctly red Chinese peppercorns, and 2) the chimichurri sauce – both were equally memorable.
The burst of flavours had when biting on just a single one of these peppercorns was such that the first thing to hit you is a saltiness that’s spectacularly superceded by a flowery fragrant and sweet, almost anaseedy, aftertaste.
And it was these delightfully potent peppercorns that brought such balance and incredible depth of flavour to a strong peppery-vinegar-based fresh chimichurri sauce. Hence, all that was required was a smidgen of this to set the taste buds alight.
More sauce was needed to properly coat the well cooked, though mildly flavoured, pasta resting neath the flavourful cheese and herb crunchy topping.
These Messey Fries definitely need improvement in our considered opinion.
Despite its dryness, the mince required the sharp tanginess and heat of the jalapenos to lift it somewhat.
But what really let this dish down, and one which the frugal addition of an insipid white sauce didn’t come close to rectifying, was far more sauce mixed perhaps with a soft cheese to bring all the disparate ingredients together into a truly messy and coherent whole.
The skin on these relatively small wings were beautifully crunchy and crisp.
And though the familiar smell of Buffalo was quite discernible, it was strangely lost in translation when it came to its tasting.
As for the sweet potato fries, then these were very well cooked.
Soft on the inside and very crunchy on the out, these rustic fries were addictive as hell.
Drizzling nachos in a white sauce, and that too one that tasted like yoghurt, is neither attractive nor effective.
Consequently, the dish, as a whole, was a bit of a let down.
The nachos were crunchy, and the tomato salsa fresh tasting. That’s all she wrote!
Meanwhile, the in-house sauces were impressive.
Thick in texture, the stand outs were the Truffle Mayo with its deliciously pungent sweet flavour, and Smoked Chipotle – thick and creamy with a slight tang and heat to it.
As to the Aioli, then it was more mayonnaise than anything else, and the BBQ Mayo more sweet than BBQ.
COFFEE & DESSERTS
The coffee was a lovely finale to a very interesting evening.
As to the two tarts, then although not in-house, they were decent, with the pastry holding up well.
The soft Apple Custard was relatively sweet without being overpowering, while the Lemon Meringue easily the best.
The meringue was, as you’d expect of a non-fresh meringue, very soft. Nonetheless, the lemon filling was tart without being overly sharp. Quite tasty.
- CHILD SEATING
And though they've only been going for just over two months now, we believe that they have, to a large extent, succeeded, with a number of inventive and well conceived dishes.
Nonetheless, there are some others that certainly require tweaking.
On the whole, Moor & Hitch is an impressive new addition to Queensway which, with its all-day breakfasts served every day from 07:00-14:00, certainly warrants a visit.
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