Decked out in neon and bringing American diner vibes to the table, MOJO Manchester is an effortlessly cool bar just off Deansgate. Vegan food was the name of the game this particular evening, with our invitation alluding to a brand new menu – and as a keen vegetarian trying to incorporate even more plant-based treats into my favourites, who was I to refuse? Taking a die-hard carnivore along for the ride, I was desperate to prove that plant-based food could be JUST as good as meat dishes, without any compromise on taste or flavour.
Climbing the stairs to MOJO is like automatically waving goodbye to any stress from your day; it’s the ideal venue for an after-work beverage to unwind. Inside you're welcomed by the sign 'music for the people', and boy, are they true to their word. A selection of carefully-curated tunes gently sounded, from Hungry Eyes and Brown Eyed Girl to gentle indie harmonies. You can easily imagine a livelier atmosphere thrumming at the weekend.
My choice of poison was a trusty pornstar martini (£8.50), while my guest found himself gravitating towards a rum-centred zombie (£10) (brave, for a Thursday night); both of which arrive lit with flaming passionfruit. My cocktail perfected that sweet taste blended with sour and a sip of the zombie proved to be a masterclass in mixology.
With most US-style diners accustomed to serving failsafe dishes like chicken wings and beef patties, it's refreshing to see MOJO going against the grain and venturing into new territory. The lovely chef took her time talking us through every dish, which really helped. First up, we sampled the Can't Believe It's Not Chicken (£4.50), and reader, I really couldn't. Breaded and served with a side of Louisiana hot sauce, it certainly packed a punch. For any naysayers who think that vegan food is dull, it's time to try this truly magnificent feat.
Next up were the flavoursome quesadillas (£4.90) served with what I can only describe as the best guacamole I've ever tried – it even warranted asking for a second serving, and then a shameless third. The black beans, vegetables and vegan cheese encased in corn tortillas were a dream, and the only thing wrong with them was going to grab another and being disappointed that we'd already devoured them all.
Marinated and deep-fried, cauli wings (£4.50) arrived with a homemade umami mayo for a more exotic twist to tingle the taste buds. Considering the vegan menu is brand new, I don’t think there’s any need for honing and perfecting... trial and error have clearly created the perfect flavours. MOJO just need to keep doing what they’re doing; creating epicurean treats.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Put simply, MOJO is a place that envelops you in a warm hug and then entices you with quaffable concoctions and vegan comfort food to soak it all up. It will charm you and leave you curious for more and I’d definitely recommend taking a trip into this Manchester haunt.