This is one of London’s growing number of up-market Indian eateries (see also Benares and Tamarind Mayfair) that’s about as far from a traditional curry house as you could get.
The setting is light and airy, with white table cloths, and a large glass window allowing diners to view the workings of the kitchen. There is also a smaller room in the basement for use by larger parties.
There are two tasting menus — regular and vegetarian — but we decided to go for the a-la-carte menu, somewhat pretentiously called “On The Grand Trunk Road”.
The quality of the food is undoubtedly extremely high. Our starters included the Murghi Nazakat, a trio of different types of chicken tikka that was probably one of the most succulent dishes I have ever encountered. We also enjoyed Konju Vada (crisp fried crab with prawn dumplings) and Sagar Rattan (seared scallops with sesame seeds). Our main courses included Murgh Makhani (a creamy butter chicken curry which they spiced up at my request), Bharwan Mircha (stuffed peppers) and Chingri Dea Maccher Jhol (“tiger prawn and seabass simmered in a coriander and cumin sauce”). To finish we had two portions of their Kulfi Selection, taking the form of five differently flavoured kulfi lollies — excellent.
I have two reservations about the Moti Mahal. First, although the menu goes on for several pages (with florid descriptions of each dish), there are actually not that many choices. For example there is only one chicken main course (the Murgh Makhani). So I think if you planned to visit this restaurant on a regular basis you’d soon bet bored.
Secondly, the place is not cheap; our meal came to well over £100 a head. Items such as a £1.50 “cover charge” and £8,00 for a small side-order of spinach soon mount up.
But I would recommend it as a place to go for a special occasion.