Moonrakers was my first pub. It was the first place that I became a “regular”. This visit was a reminder of how much has my life changed, and how terribly old I’ve become. And just like me, Moonrakers has come a long way since its neighbourhood dive days.
When I was just a young lad of 19, Moonrakers was a seedy little joint near where I worked. A good friend of mine lived above it. So it wasn’t long before it became our after work, after school, and after workout hangout. It was dark, shady, and often had questionable people. We loved it dearly.
The food was cheap, the portions were generous, and it had the BEST wings in town. They were crispy and moist pieces of heaven, served with sauce on the side. Rest of the menu was amazing too, I could go on and on.
Fast forward to the present, few things remain the same.
While still a neighbourhood pub, Moonrakers has been cleaned up. The inside feels clean, there’s plenty of light, and the softcore porn in the bathroom has been taken down. The menu and the food have had a big makeover. The portion sizes, while big, are no longer insane. The food is presented more delicately, more restaurant like. The menu is now simple and straightforward (went for 8 pages to 2). And the wings are now tossed in their sauces…
Everything in life changes. As much as I miss how charming Moonrakers used to be, I realize it was a relic from another time, and couldn’t compete with other more modern, more polished pubs.
So here I was, years since I last visited, sitting at my usual table, feeling so familiar yet so strange at the same time. I took the menu in my hand and nothing looked right to me. I settled on the ranch burger with poutine substitution, and expected the worst.
Then it arrived: a big steaming bowl of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. The poutine was seasoned just right, with the right amount of richness from the cheese curds. The fries were the star of the dish; so fresh and crispy, without excess grease, they were even better than what the old Moonrakers had.
This was followed by a thick 8oz burger. Instead of a large patty, it was the same width as the bun, but hella thick. This made the patty meaty and moist. It was topped with crispy onion rings, freshly cut veggies, and a bit of ranch sauce adding just the right amount of tang. I could barely fit the whole thing in my mouth. It tasted as good as it looks now.
I think if I wasn’t so manly, I would’ve cried out a tear. This is no longer the Moonrakers I remembered, it’s better. I miss the way it used to be. I miss how I felt hanging out with my friends, having drinks, and chowing down greasy pub food. But like me, it grew up. It has gotten older, wiser, and more delicious. I’d be happy to go back again.
(Max Score: 10; Base Score: 5)
What went in (-2 to +2) = 1.5
What came out (-1 to +1) = 0 .5
Service (-1 to +1)) = 0
Mr’s Bonus (-1 to +1) = 1
Total Score – 8/10
Moonrakers Neighbourhood Pub
525 7th Street, New Westminster