Restaurant Review: Moti Mahal
MOTI Mahal is one of the frontrunners of London’s higher-end Indian restaurants, adding a needed touch of class to a cuisine that has been sorely mistreated over the years.
It is also one of the oldest, with roots stretching back to its original location in Delhi in the 50s, now well settled close to Covent Garden theatreland attracting wealthier tourists and opera-goers with its elegant stone facade.
The main dining room is a welcoming modern space of wood, leather and chandeliers, with a stylish bar and accompanying lounge near the entrance, while a spacious dining area downstairs may be privately hired for any occasion, complete with whisky and cocktail bar.
A copper-backed open kitchen affords a great view of the expert chefs at work over their tandoor ovens – an authentic cooking method that Moti Mahal itself pioneered in the modern-day commercial kitchen.
Its fare is traditional Indian food with a contemporary twist, predicated on the head chef’s life-long obsession with the cuisines of the 16th-century Grand Trunk Road – a 2,500km trade route snaking from India into Pakistan.
The result is a range of exotic regional dishes from Calcutta to Kerala, all strikingly presented, with highlights including the jackfruit in a roasted onion and coconut masala, and impeccably grilled tandoor meats from the northwest frontier.
À la carte prices are accordingly higher-end, but for this classy venue with its open kitchen and the unique food that emerges from it, they’re worth paying every time.
45 Great Queen St, WC2B 5AA. www.motimahal-uk.com
By Kris Griffiths