Paul Stenson of The White Moose Café talks to us about the café’s origins, the secrets of a great brunch and new innovations spawned by dealing with the challenges of Covid-19.
You describe The White Moose Café as “Ireland’s most quirky brunch and breakfast style café”. Tell us about what first sparked the idea and where the name came from.
The White Moose Café was born on 31st July 2015, founded by my partner Jason and I. Before then, it was the breakfast room of my parent’s Charleville Lodge, a dark, gloomy room with mahogany tables, burgundy linen napkins and bottle green place mats. Yes, it was like something out of the movie ‘The Shining’.
We redecorated it so it no longer looked like something out of your granny’s house and created a feature wall with pieces of art scattered unevenly. At the top of the wall we placed a White Moose Head. We had several names in mind for the café, but once the White Moose head was in place, Jason and I looked at each other and, almost in unison, said the words “White Moose Café”.
You carry an extensive brekkie and brunch menu. What’s the secret to a great brunch?
There are two secrets to a great brunch (a) a great taste and (b) a nice treat. You might have done the dog on it the night before and you seek comfort in food. That’s what our food will do to you. It will cure your body and bring your mind back to normality.
How did you adapt to meet the challenges presented by Covid 19?
We effectively reinvented our way of doing business by moving online. We started delivery service with Just Eat and since then we have been supplying delivery and click & collect. Our Moose Box, which is a converted horse box in our front garden, really threw us a lifeline during Covid as it acted as a ‘shop front’ where people could order food and coffee. We bought this box with a view to bringing it on the road as a mobile coffee trailer. Little did we know how useful it would be for us!
In June we launched the ‘Moose Cream Lab’ which sells amazing ice creams through a window in the otherwise empty café. We also created a new position called SDO (Social Distancing Officer) who tells customers where to stand so that you are kept at safe distance while on our premises. In the meantime, we are having the back of the hotel redeveloped into the ‘Moose Yard’ where we’ll fit another 12 – 15 outdoor tables.
If a person were to choose to order takeaway food from The White Moose Café on Just Eat for the first time what would you recommend for them?
Everybody loves our Silver Dollar Pancakes. The most popular pancakes by far are the Silver Dollar Pancakes with Crumbled Brownie Pieces, Caramel Sauce and Crème Fraiche. Our Breakfast Bap is also a best-seller. The Bap contains Bacon, Sausage, Fried Egg, Dubliner Cheddar and Country Relish and is served on a Brioche Bun. My own favourite item is the Silver Dollar Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Crispy Bacon. Simple but delicious!
Talk to us about ‘The Moose Card’.
‘The Moose Card’ is a loyalty/gift card that rewards customers with a 20% bonus whenever they load money. For example, if you load €50, we will give you an extra €10 which can be redeemed once the café reopens fully.
As a way of thanking our Healthcare workers for all the stellar work they have been doing, we are giving a Moose Card with €20 preloaded to the card as a little gift to any Healthcare Worker who comes into the café and shows us their ID. These people have risked their lives to protect ours and I think it’s the very least we can do.
What areas do you deliver to?
We deliver within a 4km radius of our café in Phibsborough. On some days we will spontaneously bring that out to 5km for one hour only, but once the hour is up, it reverts back to 4km. I usually announce this ‘impromptu radius extension’ on my Instagram channels (@whitemoosecafe & @paulvstenson) so you need to be following us to know when it happens!
You can now order from The White Moose Café for delivery to your door on the Just Eat app.