The vibe Be honest: it’s rare to have a truly memorable meal at an Indian restaurant. When you go for a curry you generally end up compromising on either taste or ambiance, the two rarely going hand in hand. Well forget these preconceived ideas: that certainly isn’t the case at award-winning Moti Mahal. This award winning Covent Garden restaurant offers a rare combination of authentically Indian dishes, stunning flavours and a bustling glossy setting. The décor is slick, modern and welcoming, dimly lit and dominated to the back of the room by a huge glass window into the kitchen. The food? Simply faultless. Everything you expect - but don’t often get - from Indian cuisine. Spicy (but not overly so), deliciously fragrant dishes, impeccable presentation and a menu that doesn’t read like that of your average curry house. You don’t often find Indian restaurants with decent bar menus, which is another example of Moti Mahal going - happily for me and my girlfriends - against the grain. They boast a drinks list (cocktails, mocktails and alcoholic lassi) to rival those of London’s top bars, making this an ideal choice for a night out with the girls. You’ll be left extolling the virtues of a frozen watermelon margarita at cooling down an overheated tongue after a few too many mouthfuls of vindaloo!
The menu Moti Mahal’s first claim to fame was inventing the Murgh Makhani: but there is SO much more to their menu than that famous chicken curry. The menu itself is presented as a journey, trailing along the Great Trunk Road (a highway that snakes through India), with dishes from various pitstops, and inspired by areas, along the way. Our first taster was a dish nicknamed ‘green lamb’, the most deliciously flavoured lamb, spiked with garlic, coriander and chillies. Dishes are always served alongside complimentary salad boards - chopping boards laden with whole veggies, for you to create your own salad side dish. We followed the lamb with various chef-recommended dishes: crisp fried okra, tandoor roasted jumbo prawns, slow cooked black lentils and roasted beetroot and peanut salad. All were such standout dishes that whittling it down to a favourite would be a disservice. Desert is so much more than an afterthought here - we enjoyed lollipops of mango kulfi, alongside pots of stewed pineapple with pistachio rice pudding.
The details Moti Mahal, 45 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA. To book, email email@example.com or call 020 7240 9329
By Sarah Statman