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Mar 30, 2010 10:52 AM

Moti Mahal - any recent reports?

Has anyone eaten there recently - and, in particular eaten from the "Great Trunk Road" a la carte menu?

Looks good and I'm interested by the fact that it is not set out in western style courses, although that might make it a bit, erm "interesting" deciding what to order to get the full experience.

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  1. harters - you've not paid ANY attention to my rantings have you? (grin)

    there's this on moti mahals website
    "True to Indian custom, there is no distinction between starters and main; instead, dishes are delivered in fluid succession as they are prepared. "

    and then theres this on chowhound

    if you want help ordering, i'd say you should do it like this: for two people, i'd get one kebab dish, one chaat dish, one meat dish, 2 vegetarian dishes, some daal, roti (naan is for sissys) and finish off with kulfi. if you like, try out a selection from the menu using this formula and i'll tell you it sounds to a desi.


    3 Replies
    1. re: howler

      Evening H

      Of course, I always pay strict attention to your rants :-)

      Which is why the menu particularly appeals - as you know most "Indian" places set out in the usual three course western format.

      My wife ate there a couple of years back (when it was a starter/main/dessert menu layout, she recalls) and has been wanting to take me since then. I'm visiting "The Smoke" in a few weeks and she hopes to be well enough to come as well. If so, we'll definitely be visiting - and, therefore, many thanks for the ordering tips (you didnt let me down last time I asked you a similar question).


      (PS: I'm always a roti man)

      1. re: Harters

        i hope your wife gets well fast - she needs to in order to do moti mahal justice once again!

        in all seriousness, do try and choose stuff of the menu using the formula i wrote - we can discuss why certain things might work and others might not; of course, no right/wrong, just different perspectives.

        it's all about putting an interesting combination of paints in your palette, if you'll allow me the bad pun and the stretched metaphor.

        and of course you're a roti man - one glance at your posts suffices.

        finally, if you're going solo (i really hope not) then one veg starter, one meat course, one veg, one daal, roti and skip dessert.

        1. re: howler

          I suspect, if I'm solo, orders will be issued that Moti Mahal is off-limits till another trip - so I'd be trying one of the more casual places, likes of Tayyabs, etc

    2. And just to prove I always take notice of howler's advice (thanks again, h), we ate:

      Chapli kebab - excellent
      Nihari - better than excellent
      Subz-e-bashist - OK (Mrs H didnt like)
      Kararee bhyein - Oooooh, this was good
      Bhalla papdi chaat - Oooooh, this was even better
      Dal makhani - was dal makhani

      More here :

      7 Replies
        1. re: Harters

          hey - you ate like an indian! well done, and i'm glad you liked the place.

          1. re: howler

            I wish we had somewhere of that elegance near home.

            One of my favourite local places offers a Kolapuri Lamb , which it says is Mahararastrian style. Sound authentic to you? Place claims to cook to Ayuveda "codes" - and whilst I have a vague understanding of that, I don't know how it impacts on the cuisine.

            Link to the menu page:

            1. re: Harters

              i looked at the menu - ambitious! certainly indian (ie, not bangla or paki- no misspellings anywhere) - but impossible to judge whether they are putting out the real thing from afar. you'll have to go try it and tell us whether it chimes your bell, won't you? (grin)

              1. re: howler

                As you know, I'm less fussed about authentic over tasty. And Dilli is damn tasty!

                1. re: howler

                  If it helps to place it, quality wise, a bit of Googling tells me that it's owned by the folk who own Chowki and Mela in London (which means nowt to me, but might to you)


            2. re: Harters

              This is the second reference to nihari I've seen today. What is it? Have never seen it on US Indian menus.
              We had a very good Western-format dinner there in July 2008. Most memorable.

            3. Headed here for the last meal of 2011 so maybe not an ideal test. I thought it was OK and pretty good for London. Very nice staff who looked after us well and far too much food. I generally though the flavours were a little muted and there could have been a bit more complexity to the dishes especially the vegetable dishes. Here is the menu (the bits I recall anyway - it was a big (set) meal):

              Malai Saunfia Paneer - Tandoor glazed homemade fennel paneer

              Bharwan Mircha - Griddled jumbo peppers stuffed with cauliflower and garden peas, served with two chutneys – sesame seed and tamarind, tomato and coriander

              Saunthia Jhinga - Tandoor roasted jumbo prawns marinated in tamarind, chilli and curry leaf

              Baigun Dea Maccher Jhol - Sea bass and aubergine simmered in a coriander and cumin sauce

              Chilli Fry - Beef stir fried with shallots, dried chilies and coconut

              Chandini Korma - Morels simmered in creamy yoghurt and cashew nut sauce with apricots and almonds

              Palak Ke Rikowche - Spinach ‘Kofta’ dumpling stuffed with prunes simmered in a creamy tomato sauce with dried fenugreek leaves

              Dal Makhani - Black lentils slow cooked overnight on charcoal

              Kararee Bhyein - Crisp fried lotus stem with peanut and coriander


              Kulfi Selection

              It is definitely worth a visit if looking for good Indian food in central London. I would try more of the kebabs and tandoori dishes on another visit.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PhilD

                I was going to make a reservation here for my upcoming trip to London as I love Indian food, but I wonder now if I should given that it is obviously pretty expensive and I only have a limited amount of time in the city (9 full days). The expense isn't necessarily a turn off, but I wonder if there are better options for Indian food? Food is really the most important thing to me - decor means little and service, as long as it's not rude, doesn't mean much either (at Indian restaurants or other types). There's so much information on this board about Indian restaurants it's almost overwhelming. I do plan to try Rasa Samudra for lunch - possibly that is sufficient for my Indian fix? I'll post my itinerary in another thread to see if there's anything I can do to "improve" it.

                1. re: Betsypaige

                  Part of the answer will depend on what type of Indian food you prefer, since the difference between regional cuisines can be vast. On the whole, I've enjoyed East Ham the most, despite only scratching the surface, which makes me think that there's even better stuff, many of which Jfores has been uncovering. Some things I like, if not the most up-to-date, are Hyderabadi Spice for biryani (Hyderabadi), Suvai Chettinad for the idilli in sambhar (Tamil/Sri Lankan), paratha, egg appam at Thattukada (Keralan) etc... Obviously very different from the Moti Mahal where the centre of gravity is Punjabi.

                  Incidentally, I've been loving Truly Indian on Borough High Street for their fairly Punjabi-centric menu and the occasional desi chinese dish. Very balanced and harmonious spicing, nuanced but eloquent.