Moti Mahal is a modern Indian restaurant in Covent Garden's Great Queen Street. The restuarant started in India and has now expanded globally, the chef used to cook for the Indian Prime Minister apparently. The decor, with it's white interior, linen table cloths, fine table ware and wooden floors, is far removed from the more traditional Indian restaurants in the area, and the staff are smartly dressed and attentive, if a little formal and unsmiling. The clientele, on a thursday night when we visited, are mostly business types who look well fed and used to fine dining and the whole atmosphere seems, well, flashy.
Flashy is not necessarily a bad thing and we found ourselves ordering a glass of champagne and a Manhattan cocktail, not our usual drinks order for dinner. The service wa a little slow to start with but warmed up quickly, the drinks were good, although the Manhattan wasn't laced with quite enough Bourbon for Joff.
The food was very good indeed, we ordered two starters and both were fresh tasty and unusual, the Bhuney Aloo aur Mutter ki Tikki being the best, a stack of little potato cakes, stuffed with vegetables and served with a yoghurt and tamarind sauce. It was full of flavour, delicately cooked and beautifully presented. The main courses were of the same quality and although they looked small the food here is rich so we found ourselves very full at the end, I could only manage one out of four of the chocolates that came with the bill and I love chocolate (also my husband really dislikes it so I face no competition in the eating of it). Joff's main course was full of wonderful looking mushrooms and the other dishes used ingredients not often used in Indian cooking, well not in the restaurants I have visited anyway, for example wild boar and lamb chops. There are excellent vegetarian choices which means we cna both visit again without having to have the same thing, a peril of vegetarian dining.
we left full, happy and agreeing we would come again. It isn't cheap, the bill was £62 for two starters, two main courses, a side order of dal, a glass of champagne and a Manhattan. However, if you are looking for something different with smart surroundings and beautifully cooked food, this is the place to come. And if anyone ever suggests that you go on a blowout to The Red Fort suggest this instead.