Transport To Grand Trunk Road With The Culinary Wonders Of Moti Mahal

Transport to Grand Trunk Road with the Culinary Wonders of Moti Mahal

Moti Mahal

While the arrival of the New Year typically means drearily reaching for your jogging bottoms, swallowing down lumpy porridge and tightening the lock on the liquor cabinet, there has to be a better way to battle through the “January Blues”. Although taking care of yourself should always be a priority, that doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from all of life’s little pleasures. Follow Your Coffee Break along Grand Trunk Road for a culinary delight which is sure to pull you out of that New Year slump.

We recently visited Moti Mahal on Great Queen Street and were treated to an Indian gastronomic delight which enticed all of the senses. Defined as ‘Pearl Palace’ in Urdu, the first Moti Mahal restaurant was established in Delhi in 1959. The establishment became world famous for commercializing the tandoor, with their alleged invention of the Murg Makali (or Chicken Tikka Masala) which attracted famous faces such as Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and the Kennedy’s. The Covent Garden based restaurant opened in 2005, in close proximity to the bustling West End and London’s Theatre Hub, offering authentic Indian cuisine in a contemporary yet chic environment.

Head-chef Anirudh Arora is a revolutionary of the curry community, as one of the first to begin cooking on a Thatee grill, traditionally used in rural India. He then introduced the Grand Trunk Road Menu to Moti Mahal, christened after one of South Asia’s oldest and longest major roads. Having visited the ancient route with his father a few years ago, he sought out the most rustic recipes and intertwined them within a sophisticated dining experience, located in the heart of London.

While the ambience may reflect more of a business dinner than a romantic rendezvous – with a mass of sharp suits, A-Line dresses and pencil skirts – the impeccable service and elegant décor make Moti Mahal the ideal place to unwind after a hectic day in the office. The calming cream colours, weighty linen tablecloths and glistening chandeliers each add to the stylish furnishings, alongside the immaculate open kitchen which can be viewed from behind a curvaceous glass partition. The basement level offers more of an intimate appeal, with enveloping scarlet banquettes opposing a majestic bar filled with an assortment of liqueurs and an abundance of delicious wine selections. Their exclusive whiskey selection has also been awarded the Silver Medal by the Scotch Whiskey Society.

When it comes to the food, Moti Mahal lives up to all expectations. We enjoyed a delectable glass of sparkling champagne while perusing the menu which offers a wide range of both meat and vegetarian options. We chose to sample the Tasting Menu, boasting nine authentic dishes. Upon ordering, we were greeted with a large wooden block containing a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lettuce and other assorted salads, and DIY spicing including pestle and mortar, which were accompanied by a sharp knife for our self-serving needs; perfect for those still opting for a New Year detox.

We began our journey with a selection of Achari Bhuna Paneer, (tandoor glazed, homemade paneer with pickling spice), Chooza, (clamp grilled coriander and garlic marinated poussin), and Polichatu, (baby red mullet baked with masala spiced crab meat in a fragrant banana leaf parcel), each of which left us ravenous for more. My starter was accompanied by a glass of 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, while my guest opted to cleanse his pallet with a glass of Indian Cobra Beer.

After a much needed pause, we were prepared for the alluring main course. We chose from Laal Maans, (succulent cuts of venison enthused in a spicy curry sauce and scented with cloves), Mappas, (prawns simmered in a tangy coconut and curry leaf sauce) Kurkurey Baigan, (crispy aubergine with red onions, chillies and kumquats and a tamarind dressing), and Dal Makhani (impossibly creamy and buttery black lentils, slow-cooked overnight on charcoal). This was all complimented with a glass of 2011 “Crimson” Pinot Noir.

If your New Year’s resolution was to squeeze into your favourite skinny jeans by spring, then this probably isn’t the destination for you, but if you enjoy delicious food, exceptional service and great wine, all within an easily accessible location, then Moti Mahal should be next on your dining hit-list.

For more information or to book a table, visit their website at

Natasha Matthewman

Natasha Matthewman is the Lifestyle Editor for Your Coffee Break. Self-confessed tea addict, lover of literature, the seaside, sunshine and blogging, she aspires to put her English Literature and Creative Writing degree towards a career in publishing. When she isn’t writing, she is visiting the theatre, reading a good novel and planning to travel the world.