No peas, all peace!

Food Spot As Moti Mahal reaches East Delhi, Rahul Verma makes no bones about his delicious relationship with the restaurant chain

When I was a young lad, I had a meaningful relationship going with a restaurant called Moti Mahal South-End. This was in the Greater Kailash-I Market, and I had to go there every time my Mumbai-based friend, Sainath, was in town. Those days he was obsessed with pea pulaos and boneless butter chicken. So we would go there, and order these two dishes on each and every occasion — till I had peas coming out of my ears. But I still have a soft spot for Moti Mahal, because those, indeed, were the days of innocence. Well, almost.

And that’s why I was very happy when I heard that Moti Mahal Delux had opened up a branch in East Delhi. It’s on the second floor of the Rishabh Ipex Mall in Indraprastha Extension, or Patparganj — right opposite the Max Balaji hospital. There is ample parking space there, and the restaurant does home deliveries too.

I went there one evening, and eagerly looked at the menu card. It didn’t have pea pulao — hurrah — but did include the ubiquitous boneless butter chicken. I asked for the boned variety, a plate of dal gosht, half a tandoori chicken and some rotis and lachha parathas. It’s a nice place to sit and eat, but I had decided to carry the food home. The décor is pleasant, with a busy aquarium separating the restaurant from an outside gallery.

Thick and creamy

The place reminded me of the Pandara Road Market restaurants we used to haunt in our youth. The restaurant is run by Monish Gujral’s family, the grandson of the founder of the Moti Mahal in Darya Ganj. An escalator has been put in place, but it is still to start functioning. The restaurant is also still waiting for a bar licence. But the food is good. I particularly liked the butter chicken. The gravy was thick and creamy, and the chicken pieces were soft, and had been well infused with spices. The gravy was mildly sweet, but not seriously ketchupy as some butter chicken dishes can be.

The tandoori chicken was as you’d expect — spicy and nicely moist. The dal gosht was a bit of a disappointment. I thought it had too much masala, which detracted from the taste of the dal, and of the mutton. The menu includes everything from chicken pakoras and kalmi kababs to tandoori fish tikka, rogan josh, brain curry and rarha meat. It’s certainly more expensive than a take-away — and that worries me, for I don’t see too many people happily spending Rs.19 on a roti and Rs.249 for a plate of butter chicken. Half a tandoori chicken is for Rs.169, and the dal gosht is for Rs.259.

The good news, however, is that the restaurant is offering a promotional 20 per cent discount on all that you eat. So that brings the rates down considerably. The restaurant proclaims that there are no VAT charges right now — but they do add a 10 per cent service charge to the bill. All in all, it was a good experience worth repeating. I think I shall take Sainath there one of these days. And this time, I’ll do the ordering.

Recommended for you