On entering this gaff on Moseley Street I was greeted by a tall bear; not the usual hairy homosexual wandering across from (C)anal Street but an ursine figure fashioned out of wood. This place is supposedly North American though it doesn’t state it anywhere. The caff’s name does sound like a speciality beer bar of that ilk but one clue on the menu is the Canadian dish poutine which I shoved my head in it’s gravy and cheesy ambrosia previously on various jaunts to the homeland of Captain Kirk.

We were greeted by friendly standard beard waiters and despite all the tables being ‘reserved’ , they ‘found’ us one by the back wall. What is it with these places that pretend all their tables are booked? I suppose at the height of the Cornavirus outbreak, they will still be open as usual, completely empty but with free tables, perpetuating the illusion that this place is in high-demand.

As we perused the offerings, we noticed the music was well-selected at times and gave it a cool vibe but the volume was turned up to 11. Every table should have come with a set of ear-deflectors.

A number of trees dangle suspended from the ceiling to reinforce its outdoor credentials. A red-sprayed brick wall with poster prints on one side with a comfy sofas ranged along the wall gives it a smart look to one side at least. Wooden-metallic tables are solid and on-trend but chairs are uncomfy metallic and often too tall. Flowers on tables in Slingsby Gin bottles which is not that original but you don’t get it at Cafe Nero I suppose.

I ordered the poutine which is, of course, just chips, gravy and cheese. You can have vegan gravy if you fancy though and we tried the vegan cheeseburger taco – made with Impossible Burger. It was a sort of splat really and I wish I hadn’t bothered expecting better from the meat-free revolution. We also ordered fried cauliflower (which was a bit fried and cauliflowery šŸ™‚ ) and chicken wings were made from cheap cluckers so that was a bit gash really.

My food came cold so I sent it back expecting a long wait. However, the beards managed to return it very quickly claiming they recooked it but I swear I heard a ping….

The cafe was compact but there a smattering of autres; a few hipster young-guns in graphic t-shirts gabbling about user interfaces of websites and micro-breweries and a couple of bloated forty-somethings (other than us) that spent more time in the toilets than at their table. Maybe it was the food? I bumped into an old work-mate that had retired and bought a local flower shop with his wife so it was good to catch-up. After he walked away, I lost sight of him.Ā  I couldn’t see the florist for the trees. Geddit? Never mind. I will give myself a yellow card for that one…

I was told there was no wifi and had visions of turning green and turning into the Hulk and trashing the joint. But instead I asked for the bill. Not Bixby by the way.

Verdict: 3/5

Good: Coolish. Chips and gravy on offer.

Bad: Food was cool – maybe it had been outdoors.