After an amazing day filled with art galleries and West End musicals it only seemed right to top it all off with a luxurious meal. It was with this in mind that I had made a reservation at Moti Mahal Restaurant in Covent Garden, which was just a short walk from the theatre. The food at Moti Mahal isn’t your run-of-the-mill Indian takeaway or restaurant, it’s a gastronomic Indian restaurant that’s much more highly refined and sophisticated.
Covent Garden looked lovely with all its Christmas decoration and there was a real buzz about the place with people zipping into all the fantastic shops to pick up last minute Christmas presents. We made our way around the area having a little browse and quickly found the restaurant.
The Head Chef at Moti Mahal is Anirudh Arora who has been there since the opening in 2005. He has created a menu focused on the cuisine of India’s famous Grand Trunk Road. Arora has travelled the length of this famous road in the North of the Country, developing his techniques and knowledge. His menu is a journey along the Grand Trunk Road which allows you to experience traditional dishes eaten throughout Northern India.
When we entered the Restaurant we were greeted by a very nice lady who took our coats and showed us to our table. We had a great spot which was right next to the kitchen. Separating the kitchen from the dinning area is a large curved glass wall which lets you see through to the kitchen and have a gander at what’s going on inside. We were recommend the Grand Trunk Road Tasting Menu, this sounded really exciting as it would allow us to explore some of Moti Mahal’s dishes that had originated along the road from Kolkata to Kabul. What made this even better was that we were able to opt for a tasting menu which included wine to accompany each course. The wine had been carefully selected to match each dish and was nice as you had a good variety of drinks throughout the meal.
The first course was Kaleji Aur Achar: a griddled masala chicken liver with a homemade pickle and served with a naan bread. I’ve never had chicken liver that was better than this and the pickle and naan were a perfect accompaniment. This was served with a delicious Bianca Vigna Prosecco Extra Dry, which was very soft, refined and a great drink to start a meal with.
The second course was probably my favourite although it’s very hard to decide. It was three succulent, stunning pieces of meat cooked in a variety of ways. Going from left to right on the photograph below:
Macci – Tandoori grilled salmon marinated in honey, dill and cream cheese.
Barra Peshwari – Lamb chop with caraway seeds and Kashmiri Chillies.
Murghi Nazakat – Tandoori chicken supreme marinated with mint and basil.
The photo totally doesn’t do this course justice, it was divine and when my plate was clear I wish I could have eaten it all over again. It was served with a glass of Paul Jaboulet Aine, Mule Blanche Crozes Hermitage Blanc 2012 this supple and well-rounded wine complimented it brilliantly with its fresh finish.
Although the wines were fantastic I couldn’t have an Indian meal without having a glass of IPA (Indian Pale Ale), the Moti Mahal had a great selection and I decided to go for their house beer which was beautifully hoppy and everything you’d want from an IPA. The main course was a little spicier than the previous two, but just right, enough for you to really taste it but not so much that it took away from the meal or ruined your taste buds for the rest of the night! I really loved the baby aubergine and prawns from this course which were amazing and cooked to perfection.
Chemeen Nei Choru – Prawns cooked in a sealed pot with basmati rice, curry leaf and pounded spices.
Salan – Baby aubergine and chilli peppers stewed in Hyberabadi Salan sauce.
Raita – Chilled cucumber and mint yoghurt.
This part of the meal was washed down with a Paul Jaboulet Aine, Thalabert Crozes Hermitage 2007, a well balanced medium bodied wine that was firm with notes of dark berries.
The Meethai included stewed plums with cardamom custard foam, halwa cigars and shrikhand cups. After the previous courses I didn’t think I could manage another mouthful but the petit fours were too appetizing to leave. They were delightfully light yet packed full of flavour, I really loved the stickhan cups! It was this final course that really cemented the Moti Mahal as a sophisticated Indian dining experience for me.
The Chai was a cinnamon and ginger spiced Indian liqeur tea which was accompanied by sweet Nankhatai cookies. I’m a massive fan of chai tea in general but this was especially delicious. It was lovely to just be able to sit back in our seats, soak up the wonderful atmosphere, watch the chefs and talk about all the great food we had eaten that evening.
Moti Mahal is easily the best Indian restaurant I’ve ever dined in and I will certainly be eating there again the next time I visit London. The food was delectable and I loved how it was expertly crafted with traditional Indian flavours and techniques. Further to this the service and setting for our meal was brilliant; the staff were all very quick, personable and attentive. Sitting in Moti Mahal is a pleasure all of its own, with its modern design, rich atmosphere and views of the chefs at work.
After our meal we wondered happily through Covent Garden before returning to Westminster to walk along the Thames and take even more photographs of Big Ben!
London Trip – Part One – Park Plaza Westminster Hotel
London Trip – Part Two – Camden Market, The Museums & Winter Wonderland
London Trip – Part Three – Art of The Brick, National Gallery & Book Of Mormon
London Trip – Part Five – London Dungeons, London Eye & Boris Bikes