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Moti Mahal reviews

By Maggie M.

Serving exquisite Indian food in smart surroundings, Moti Mahal is a class act.

The Venue
With London’s buzziest restaurant, Balthazar, and firm favourites like Opera Tavern and The Delaunay established just around the corner from Moti Mahal, Covent Garden’s fast becoming one of the best places to dine in the capital. Moti Mahal been around longer than most and sits in the shadow of the architectural splendour of the Freemasons Hall, on Great Queen Street.

As much as there are plenty of great places to eat in Covent Garden these days there are still plenty of tourist-baiting dives. Moti Mahal puts any notions of having made a bad choice pretty much instantly to the sword. A smart, compact, ground floor dining room allows views into the kitchen via a huge glass window. Here, chefs beaver away, in order to dispatch impressive plates of food to a room of no more than 50 covers. Downstairs, there’s an additional room with leather booths and a bit more privacy for any punters who value this sort of thing.

The Atmosphere
There’s plenty of money in the room, with well-to-do diners arriving in couples and small and large groups to feast over several courses of impeccably presented food. Visitors to London are also in attendance, although these are more likely to have been booked a table by the concierge at a plush hotel rather than ones who stumble in off the street. Service is excellent throughout.

The Food
Huge leather-backed menus contain a la carte and tasting menus, with a whole section dedicated to the back story of the chef’s inspiration – he travelled across the Grand Trunk Road in the north of India in order to research and compile the food.

Moti Mahal is very much pitched at a fine dining audience and their meat and vegetarian tasting menus are a great showcase of the kitchen’s skills. Priced at £45 for several courses, with matched wines bumping the price to £60, it’s very much saved for a special occasion but the food is absolutely amazing from the get-go.

Highlights from the starter section include the fennel paneer, a green-flecked slab of cheese that's delicate in texture and delicious in flavour, and the katli, a chunky wedge of aubergine that’s been excavated and refilled with a fiery mix of diced vegetables. A tart pear and clove chutney on the side is a beautiful bedfellow.

The mains continue to excel in terms of presentation and flavour: a colcossia and jackfruit curry combines a yam-like stodginess (colcossia) with the sweet, fleshy jackfruit. Served in a viscous, intense tomato and onion-based sauce, it lingers pleasantly on the palate long after you’ve swallowed it. Other dishes, like the exceptional dal makhani (a black lentil dish that tastes like it’s been slow cooked for an eternity) and mushrooms in a light batter, all work perfectly together, the only problem being where to fit all the food, such is the sheer volume of it all.

Looking around the room, other diners order skewers of chicken off the grill, served theatrically in gold lamp-shaped vessels, in their dozens. And the clip-clop sound of the chefs preparing the roti bread before putting it in the kiln is an absolute joy to behold.

The Drink
Choosing the tasting menu means your wines are matched to each course. Served in 100ml servings they’re just about the right size for you not to have to glug them down to keep up. The quality is, again, very commendable. The main wine menu offers plenty of action by the glass, half or full bottle. Prices start from north of £20 and peak at the staggering several hundred pounds mark, with plenty of champagne also on offer for big spenders.

The Last Word
In a part of town where picking an Indian restaurant is loaded with risk, Moti Mahal is a bastion of quality. You might have to splash out to experience the full works but you won’t leave disappointed. Not just the best Indian restaurant in the area, it’s one of the best in London.

By Eva A.

Great food. Lovely ambience and amazing service. When they served the salad in the beginning, i realised this is one place which takes serving good food as its priority. The starters, main course were all medium sized portions and not too small or huge. They are just the right amount which had a rich flavour than being cooked in cheap spices. The rice portions seemed small to me however the flavour of the curry makes you overlook that bit :-) In case you are a fan of Indian curry this is a MUST TRY place.

By N W.

In summary: Good location; good food; VERY expensive, hence the Average score. If the price had been more reasonable then I would have given Moti Mahal an Excellent rating. I ate at this restaurant with 2 work colleagues last week, after looking on the internet for a nice Indian, as I had not eaten in this part of London before. The location is great, right in the heart of theatre land, so expect a rush when the shows finish! The setting inside is very nice, with a very long and well stocked bar, and although it was busy when we went the tables are not too close together, so we didn't really notice others. The choice of food is not what you would find in your local Indian takeaway. No Madras/Vindaloo/Korma etc. The menu is however very varied and caters for all tastes. We had 3 main courses, rice and a bread selection. All of the dishes we ordered were very nice indeed and the selection of breads was a nice idea, although you don't get very much. There are quite a few other Indian restaurants in the same area, so you do have a bit of choice. If you are looking for good food in nice surroundings and don't mind paying, what in my opinion,over the odds, then this is the place to go. If you want more traditional fare, at familiar prices, then go to another near by. Overall, the one thing which spoiled it for me was the price. We paid £150 for 3 people, which did not include a starter, but did include a few beers and glass of wine. I appreciate nice food and good surroundings, but this was over the odds for what was, after all, a curry.

By A.

3 of us came here via a Top Table offer - a 3 course meal for £20 per head.

Choice was limited to vegetarian or meat, 3 mains in each section, but only one starter on offer.

Dessert was a kulfi "lolly," and a small glass of prosecca was also included. We topped up with papadums & chutney and some pulao rice.

The restaurant itself is nice with the kitchen in full view behind a glass wall. Service was excellent, but on the edge of being over-attentive, with a different waiter asking if everything was alright every 2 minutes.

Food was very good but not spectacular, and very badly let down by the papadums, which were clearly from a packet, and not even a good packet!

Buckets of decent chutneys notwithstanding, £8.00 was a borderline rip-off (likewise the £5.00 for the rice), but I guess that's where they make their money on these deals.

If the menu was to be believed, we saved 50% on the meal, so I'd have to say that their standard prices are way too high (I'm prepared to admit I'm tight!), but if you can get a similar deal to us, go for it (but careful with the extras...)

By Elizabeth M.

What an amazing place Moti Mahal is! The food is fantastic - a contemporary take on Indian food that was absolutely delicious. The interior of the restaurant is sophisticated and the service impeccable. A truly special experience.

By Ellie H.

I run out of superlatives when describing Moti Mahal to my friends. The decor, service and ambiance simply cannot be faulted. The food is out of this world. A kind of mix of modern cuisine and Indian cooking and the menu is so varied that there is something for everyone. I would thoroughly recommend Moti Mahal - simply the best!

By S.

Moti Mahal is marvelous! Seriously, if you get the chance I urge you to try this place. The food is exceptional but the staff make it taste even better with their exceptional service. Moti Mahal, I salute you!