When it comes to dining out on a rainy London evening, there’s nothing that encourages me to hit record on my favourite mid-week program more than a hearty Indian feast. So when I was invited to experience Moti Mahal in Covent Garden earlier this month, I was keen to spice up my Tuesday evening.
Located in the culinary heart of bustling Covent Garden, Phoebe and I wandered down the strip of Indian restaurants, our tummies rumbling, eager to try (what we’d already heard) was delicious Indian food.The restaurant has a dark ambience, accented with flashes of traditional red and rich gold which makes it a perfect evening hideaway. Having the chefs and busy kitchen behind glass within the seating area adds a modern twist and focal point for the restaurant, which I thought was a nice addition.On arrival to our table we were presented with an extensive cocktail menu, and I was quick to choose one that included a hint of ginger and mint. It was just as refreshing as its mouth-watering description led me to believe. The food menu was also rather refined for an Indian restaurant, with the chef choosing to focus on signature dishes rather than offering the usually endless ‘choice of curry sauce with your option of meat’, which I was slightly guilty of expecting.As we trailed our eyes down the list of intriguing starters and mains, our waiter presented us with a plate so we could ‘make our own salad’. Sceptical that I could create anything as delicious as what I assumed the chef could, we set about dicing our vegetables and experimenting with various spices and oil until we both had created our own fresh salad appetisers, which were delightful and a great conversation maker (take note for anyone on first dates!)After selecting a crisp white wine to pair with our feast, we prepared ourselves for the first course. Deciding to share, we tried the Pan fried sweet potato cake with charoli nut, sprouted lentil and gooseberry chutney salad and delicious Crisp fried pastry and lentil dumplings with creamy yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney.Whilst it was presented beautifully and had lots of flavour, I wasn’t that keen on the dumplings as they weren’t what I imagined and I hadn’t anticipated them being served chilled. The potato cake on the other hand was a delicious combination of textures and flavour, with the gooseberry chutney adding a hit of sweetness.Unsure of what to order for a main, I took a recommendation from the waitress and settled on the braised steaks of lamb with bay leaf and black cardamon, whilst Phoebe chose chicken tikka simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. The waitress also managed to convince us (quite easily may I add) to try the pounded spinach with paneer as a side to our dishes.Because no curry is complete without a hefty side of carbs, we ordered a steaming side of rice and cheese and honey naan, a stunning mix of savoury and sweet flavours. The bread was definitely my favourite part of the meal as I had never tried anything like it before, and I would return for this alone.As is always the case, we decided there was space left for dessert, despite being full to brim. As I find indian food quite heavy I opted for the mango mousse which was so deliciously light yet very sweet, and the perfect palette cleanser. Being a total chocoholic, Phoebe was drawn to the chocolate slices which also proved too tempting for me not to try.Warm inside from our delicious Indian Feast, we left Moti Mahal, stepping out into the rainy London air to dash for the last tube home and sleep off our food comas.
Motil Mahal, 45 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AA Visit the website here >