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Restaurant review: Moso Moso, Manchester

Manchester Evening News, 30 March 2007

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For all the stimulation of flavours, aromas and textures in a restaurant, the most enjoyable sense is that of anticipation when the menu arrives. For a few moments your imagination allows you to savour a limitless range of hypothetical dining experiences. At Moso Moso, this process extends to a most agreeable dilemma.

The menu at Raymond Wong’s Oxford Road establishment contains a staggering 429 dishes, ranging from steamed whelk to goose web casserole in a fusion of Thai and Chinese specialities. (The cosmopolitan theme continues in the venue’s upstairs room: by day an all-you-can-eat buffet aimed at the budget student market, by night a salsa dance studio.)

With just seven customers in the 200 seat main room during our entire visit, there was no question of being rushed into a selection. But eventually our imaginary culinary tour of Asia had to end and, no doubt like many diners daunted by the overwhelming options, we picked a set-price banquet deal.

This began with a choice of soups, my partner’s Thai spicy hot and sour proving a safer option than my own Beijing chilli which is best left to those with a more extreme taste for the spicy. Up next was a six-item hot platter with a well-balanced blend of beef, chicken and pork dishes, highlighted by rich but tender steamed beef dumplings.

By the time the main courses arrived (chosen from 11 possibilities), it was almost a disappointment to be left with a single dish. But both my beef in Cantonese fruity sauce and my partner’s stir-fried beef with garlic and white pepper were prepared and served to high standards.

The service was generally competent and, given the slow custom, it was welcome that the staff resisted the temptation to be overbearingly attentive. At just over £40 including wine (from an excellent by-the-glass selection), the meal was reasonable value. But for a genuine bargain, you can’t beat a visit to the Moso Moso website where drooling at the menu is truly priceless.