Moti Mahal Review

Here I introduce my first ‘guest’ post.

‘Guest’ meaning my boyfriend.

Occasionally I get to enjoy some perks of his job. (He is a journalist.) Usually they are reserved for him, and him only, such as golfing trips to 5 star Portuguese hotels, and wine tasting trips to France. So far, I have partaken in a trip to Prague, a night in a London hotel with dinner and drink included, and a free meal at a fancy London restaurant. We are about to have another free meal this week coming but that will not compare to the last one, the one you will read about in this post, because it’s at a buffet restaurant. In fancy St. John’s Wood, but still, an eat-all-you-can scenario.

On to the fancier one. Of course, I am proud of my boyfriend’s writing abilities and I think he is acetings at it. This review was published on on 22nd March 2013. Five whisky drinks was a lot for me to handle. All of them were considerably strong! I hope you enjoy the review.

Comedy legend Ronnie Corbett once eulogised, “It is true that whisky improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.”

I’m inclined to agree but in my advancing years I’d never thought to have paired the golden liquor with anything but another glass of the same please barkeep. So thank small mercies that Moti Mahal has, with their five-course curry and whisky pairing menu.

It has long been said that curry has overtaken the likes of fish and chips as our national dish and theirs is a fusion that draws from exotic sub continent cooking, but steeped largely in Britishness. It’s so obvious, it should be the norm. It’s not so the secret, for now, it has been marinated and cooked up in the traditional Thatee Grill of an establishment that already claims the invention of the Murg Makhani.

That’s the new part, while partaking in a wee dram is a tradition as old as the Highlands themselves, give or take a few billion years of evolution, but who’s counting? I’m not. I’ve been on a whisky diet since my evening at the Covent Garden restaurant and I’ve lost three days already!

Fear not, those who shy away from the fermented grain, it’s a union that takes the ‘the water of life’ as its star but combines it, to increasing effect, with flavours from the length and breadth of this Sceptred Isle.

This reaches a peak midway through the feast with a Lagavulian distiller’s edition-led tipple that ruts, richly and riotously against the Roe deer tikka with grape chutney, served with a mint parantha.

It’s a subtle build to begin, mind you. A Cheddar naan as a first course might sound unspectacular, but then Perigord black winter truffle shavings and Lucknowi gold leaf signal this is all about decadence. Never mind an experience to make you feel a million dollars; after this course alone I’ve never been worth so much. In this austerity age I’d have gladly posted the gurgling organ off to Cash 4 Gold, and made a few quid on the side, had it been as expendable as, say, a second kidney, an appendix or my frontal lobe.

But it is attention to detail that makes Moti Mahal’s cuisine the Maharajah of Indian eating experiences – a world away from a post-pub, Saturday night serving of spicy slop and rice.

But there’s an element of playfulness that goes with each of the five dishes, none more so than a desert – a kulfi, cardamom ‘n’ saffron bread pudding with a 10-year-old Laphroaig atomised spray – which will get you giggling, as much as those glugs of grog.

This light-hearted and, perhaps, light-headed approach runs through their libation labels and the Sweet Valley Highball, in particular, refutes the assumption that the only good whisky is concocted north of Hadrian’s Wall. The West Country wild red mullet with Welsh mussels in a warm roasted tomato and garlic masala is met with a smoky seal of approval by a Penderyn spirit that very much takes its inspiration from the principality west of the Severn.

But the penultimate offering is where the real multicultural extravagance reaches a crescendo, beginning with an old-fashion New Yorker, underpinned with a Paul John single cask Indian whisky. There’s little hiding away from it, it’s a forceful blend, but when you’ve made it that far dive in because rewards come thick, fast and deeply full of flavour with the warm game pickle complement to the wild mushroom biriyani, served with pomegranate and date raita.

Great American author Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” And as accompaniments go, that is dish that will leave you feeling exactly the same.

45 Great Queen Street

Covent Garden



Tube: Covent Garden

Tel: 020 7240 9329



The five-course pairing menu: £120.

Individual prices: £11 to £25

Moti Mahal has 4 star ratings on Tripadvisor, Time Out and Toptable.

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