Situated in a small island in the midst of the permanent road rebuilding programme that is Leeds is a genuine American diner, which sports the fannishly irresistible name of "The Loose Moose". Entering the establishment on a swelteringly hot August evening, your intrepid reporter was greeted in rapid succession with a welcoming breeze from the air-conditioning, Buddy Holly and the Crickets from the loudspeakers, and "Hello-my-name-is-XXXX-and-I'm-your-waitress-this-evening" from somebody short, dark, and cute. One swift guided tour to a table later, a traditional American menu was placed before me.
Throwing my diet plan away, I ordered a MooseBurger (rare) and fries with a side helping of "onion lassoos", with a coke on the side. In deference to the current BSE scare, the burger was barely pink in the middle, but tasted decently of beef and certainly had the consistency of meat. The "fries" were crisp, gold and actually British chips; no problem there as I prefer chips. Alas, the "lassoos" were courtesy of Messrs. McCain -- I saw them being shaken out of the bag -- and not worth finishing. However, I felt sufficiently confident to try for dessert, and ordered a hot fudge sundae. Bliss. Real vanilla ice, plenty of fruit, and the fudge was hot. If it weren't for my waistline, the "Moose's" sundaes would form a regular part of my diet. The bill came to a whisker over a tenner, which given the quality of the food puts the "Moose" in the "reasonable" category.
It's notably better than any of the main burger franchises, but falls short of TGI Friday standards. Overall, it's definitely worth considering if you're in the Leeds area. Tell them Harry sent you -- they'll say "who?" And quite rightly too!
Finally, for anyone with things left over from Confabulation they want to get rid of, they give free desserts for anyone providing Moose memorabilia.
The Loose Moose Diner, 250 North St., Leeds. 8am-11pm, seven days a week.
Tel. 0113 245 9445.
-- Harry Payne
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