Review: Moti Mahal
Mimi ON Jan 31, 2011 AT 3:56 pm
By John Gregory Smith
I love Indian food. It’s a real passion of mine and I am always delighted to find a new Indian restaurant that does justice to such an exquisite cuisine . I was recently at Moti Mahal in Covent Garden, an offshoot of the famous Delhi restaurant, which served beautifully cooked, modern North Indian food that delivered on all accounts.
We kicked off dinner with a selection of crudités served with ‘gunpowder.’ This ‘explosive’ (sorry) mix of dry spices livened up the fresh vegetables and was served in all the coolest restaurants I went to last year in Delhi. I was extremely happy that things got off to such a great start.
For our starters we had Bhalla Papadi Chat, a classic Indian snack that was a blend of crunchy fried pieces of pastry, chick peas, pomegranate seeds, sour tamarind chutney, cooling mint chutney and plain yogurt. It was crunchy, refreshing, sweet and sour all at once and really got my taste buds excited. Next was Murgh Nazakat, which was a selection of 3 different types of tandoori chicken, each more beautifully tender than the previous one and served in a very fancy copper pot.
Being so pleased with the starters I decided to let the chef pick the rest of our dinner. What a feast we had! A selection of curries, grilled lamb, vegetables and a basket of amazing freshly made Indian breads.
We had a few Punjabi classics; a creamy butter chicken and a silky smooth Dal Makhani, which had lovely thin strips of fresh ginger that cut through the richness of the Dal that tasted like it had been sent down from heaven itself. Next we had thin strips of butterflied leg of lamb that had been seasoned with cinnamon, bay leaves and green chillies. The hot pieces of lamb were served with juicy wedges of lemon and a rich strained yogurt that was the perfect cooling accompaniment. For our vegetables we had Saag Aloo, dry fried new potatoes with garlic and spinach, which had little halves of cherry tomatoes that were a delicious juicy surprise.
Indian desserts are not my favourite as they tend to be made with so much sugar that you can feel your poor teeth aching with each mouthful. The Kulfi selection was another great suggestion by the kitchen; the perfect palette cleanser that was subtly sweet and delicately flavoured.
I really enjoyed Moti Mahal and though that the food was extremely well prepared and beautifully spiced. North Indian food, and especially Punjabi food, can be a bit lardy and rich. However, at Moti Mahal this was not the case and all the food tasted wonderful.
Mothi Mahal is currently running an express lunch menu: Mon-Fri from 12-15:00, which includes 2 courses and a mocktail of the day for only £15.