Fancy a cup of coffee… in Moira?

Guest Blog by Lynda Willis

 Fancy a cup of coffee… in Moira?

A few miles from the south‐east shores of Lough Neagh lies the bustling village of Moira. Famous for its award‐winning sausages and beautiful floral displays, Moira today has a vibrant coffee culture with six independently owned coffee shops dotted up and down its Main Street. Three of the coffee shops (McCartney’s, The Quirky Bird and The Fat Gherkin) are coming under the Lough Neagh eagle eye today and the other three (Pimento, Cairo’s and Kitty’s) will feature in one of our future blogs.

McCartney’s Café Bistro

Famous for its sausages across Northern Ireland, George McCartney opened up a coffee shop a few years ago to complement the busy butcher’s shop and deli. There are two coffee areas – one on the ground floor just beside the deli with the main seating area on the first floor which overlooks the Main Street. Not surprisingly McCartney’s sausages feature on the menu and you can even select your own sausages for your breakfast. So if you fancy trying out a “Pork and Marmalade” banger or a “Beef and Guinness” one, this is the place for you. As well as breakfasts, there is a huge choice of options for lunch plus the coffee shop staples of scones, cakes and tray bakes. And if you have a food allergy, the McCartney’s menu details the allergens within each item.
 Where is it? Above the McCartney’s Butchers Shop on the Main Street.
 McCartney's Cafe Bistro
Ideal for:
  • Family breakfasts
  • A little afternoon treat before picking something up from the butcher’s counter or deli for the tea – make sure you say hello to Barry the butcher.
  • A temporary workspace to catch up with a work colleague or reply to a few emails using the excellent wifi
Customer service verdict: Very good – staff are friendly and food is excellent.
Coffee supplier: Green Bean
Cost of an Americano with a Raspberry/White Chocolate Scone: £3.60

The Quirky Bird

Owned by Diane Bird (aka the original Quirky Bird herself), the Quirky Bird is a quaint tearoom with something on the menu for everyone and it’s all home-made on the premises. It is bright and cheerful with a range of seating options including sofas, benches and a few external tables on the street too. There is a mouth‐watering display of yummy cakes, tarts, scones and tray bakes to tempt you along with an extensive breakfast and lunch menu.
This is a great place to come for afternoon tea but at the Quirky Bird, it is afternoon tea with a twist. Not only is there an impressive array of sandwiches, scones, tray bakes and as much tea or coffee as you can drink, there is an afternoon tea starter of a little cup of soup, quiche and goat’s cheese bruschetta – and all for just £12.50 per person.
Where is it? At the traffic lights, head towards Dromore and you will spot the Quirky Bird Tea Room
on the left – the sign is turquoise so you can’t miss it.
 The Quirky Bird
Ideal for:
  • Lycra‐clad cyclists who can park their bikes at the door
  • Catching up with a friend especially at the private window seat for two
  • Afternoon tea to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or a baby shower.
Customer service verdict: Very good – the owner Diane is very personable and will make a point of talking to all customers herself. Food is served quickly and it is of a very high standard.
Coffee supplier: Johnsons
Cost of an Americano with a Rhubarb and Ginger Scone: £3.95

The Fat Gherkin

This is where Moira meets Belfast’s Lisburn Road and where the best Flat White is served in the village, according to the resident coffee expert in our house. Previously the village off‐license, the Fat Gherkin has seating on the ground floor plus a little balcony area upstairs which overlooks the Main Street. Owned by Michael and Olwyn Ferguson who are also part of the team organizing the first Moira Calling Music Festival on 10th September, the food is a little different here such as the Roast Sweet Potato which is lemon, chilli and parmesan wedges served with chorizo, Hollah chilli jam and crisp baby gem. Everything is made in house and the food both looks and tastes amazing. The atmosphere is busy but chilled, if that make sense. Staff are busy looking after customer orders while customers relax on old school chairs while listening to blues music and reading a choice of daily newspapers or catching up with friends.
 Where is it? On the Main Street, just past the Four Trees Inn and next door to the Wine & Brine Restaurant.
 The Fat Gherkin
Ideal for:
  • Morning coffee with a scone, pancake or a Fat Gherkin Everything Bun.
  • Business meetings – there is privacy, good wifi and good coffee.
  • Ladies who lunch and like to try something a little different.
Customer service verdict: I love it here! I am always welcomed with a cheery smile by the manager Jenny. They have a loyalty card as well as electric sockets conveniently located to plug in the dying laptop.
Coffee Supplier: Bailies
Price of an Americano with a Raspberry and White Chocolate Scone: £3.65
Website: The Fat Gherkin
So the next time you are driving down the MI, take a pit stop in Moira where you will be spoiled for choice with its unique blend of coffee shops for breakfast, morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea.
Customer service trainer Lynda Willis from Customer Sense Training and Consultancy based in nearby Aghalee is a regular in these coffee shops and we would like to thank her for taking time to share her thoughts on the Moira coffee scene. Be sure to take a look at her fantastic website:

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