Conveniently placed in Covent Garden, Moti Mahal Restaurant, as well as being a possible choice for lunchtime meet-ups, is also an ideal option for a theatre supper.
This smart, modern restaurant is five years old and the London outpost of its big older brother established in Delhi in 1959.
I like restaurants with open kitchens. There is something rather reassuring about not hiding away; it’s the culinary equivalent of being knocked down wearing your clean underwear. It’s saying we have nothing to hide; we are proud of what we do.
Rather than those dayglo-coloured chutneys favoured by downmarket places, Moti serves fresh salad – tomato, lettuce, and radish – with the poppadums, which themselves are light and crisp. Expertly executed bhel, exceptionally good breads and rice, tasty dal and well-spiced mushroom masala persuaded me that this was one of the best meals I’ve had outside India.
Head chef Anirudh Arora takes his inspiration from the old Grand Trunk Road reviving long-forgotten recipes of rural India dating back to the 16th century.
A bargain, two course lunch is available weekdays for £15, but in the evenings it will cost much more. Quality doesn’t come cheap but eating here I do feel I’m getting value for money. Service and cover charge extra. Closed on Sunday.
Great Queen Street 45, London, UK
Contact tel: +44 (0)20 7240 9329, fax: +44 (0)20 7836 0790
Cost 2 course set menu: £10 – £25 per person, 2 course a la carte: £35 – £50 per person