Tandoori Nights-Times of Oman

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August 23, 2013 , 4 : 32 pm

Along-with the Indian Independence Day, the 15th of August offered more to celebrate in Muscat. Expectations ran high and taste buds tempted, as people waited impatiently for the ‘show’ to get on the road. Like many others, Mohd Rizwan Azad, an Indian expatriate in Muscat, was impatient to explore the place, going to and fro with excitement, catechizing about every other detail of the place. It was an ambrosial and aromatic affair at the grand opening ceremony of Moti Mahal Delux restaurant, at MBD.

Brought in by the ‘Golden Fort Gate LLC’, the restaurant is a hub of authentic north Indian cuisine, and the undisputed inventor of the ‘Tandoori Cuisine’. Ambassador of India, J.S. Mukul, inaugurated the restaurant by cutting a ribbon and releasing a culinary book on the occasion.

Having more than 150 outlets world-wide, around 5 in the Gulf region, the restaurant plans to open up at least one more branch in Muscat. “Moti Mahal is driven by the imperative mission of preserving the authenticity of true North Indian cuisine, with its trademark substratum of Punjabi-Pathani flavours. Through our expansion plans we intend not only to expand our empire, but extend the reach of the original north Indian flavors” said Monish Gujral, celebrated culinary author, chef, and MD of Moti Mahal Delux, and also the grandson of Kundan Lal Gujral, the founder of Moti Mahal. Monish released his third cookbook, ‘On the Kebab Trail’ during the event.
Convivial ambience
Wafting aromas intermingle with your senses as soon as you step inside the restaurant. The ambience is chic and contemporary with a serene and sophisticated fine-dining experience. Dimly lit in blues and yellows, and decorated in European style with tones of dark brown and other earthy colors, the restaurant offers a cool and minimalist environment.

The wooden furniture adds to the charm and mystique of the French décor. Photos and souvenirs mounted on walls, showcasing the restaurant’s culinary journey over the past century further add a touch of exclusivity to the place. The restaurant also has two banquet halls.

Syed Rashid Ali, CEO, Golden Fort Gate LLC, said, “The idea is to present a sublime dining experience of Indian cuisine cooked authentically.” According to him, Muscat has the potential “to host non-stop multiple cuisine restaurants that cater to discerning food lovers who have experienced some of the best from across the globe.”

Moti Mahal offers a quick and crisp service amidst a stylish ambience. The restaurant has 80 covers and throwing up an extensive menu, has over a hundred dishes to offer. The well thought-out items create a balance of tastes and flavors that pique the palette and add on new interpretations.
Wide assortment to choose from

To start with, the eclectic menu offers a large variety of appetisers in both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian categories like the lush Tandoori Chicken Tikka; white meat chicken, spiced marinated and grilled, savory Chicken Pakoda, Chicken Kastoori Kebab; boneless chicken seasoned and grilled with egg coating, or the Tandoori Jheenga; carom seed treated prawns cooked in tandoor, or Veg. Haryali Kebab; an exotic medley of spinach and vegetable rolls with delicate flavour cooked to perfection. A large variety of soups are also offered in addition, like the Tamatar Dhaniya, and Murgh Kali Mirch soup, among others.

The main section also offers a plethora of choices. One could opt for the irresistible Kadhai Chicken (tender marinated chicken, roasted with fresh herbs special spices and cooked in a deep pan), or Murgh Bemisal (roasted chicken in tandoor cooked with minced lamb and egg in thick gravy), not to forget the signature dish – the famous Chicken Tikka Masala, a scrumptious dish comprising of roasted chicken served with creamy curry.

The vegetarian section includes Vegetable Dewani Handi, Methi Aloo, Vegetable Jalferezi, Baigan Bharta, Bhindi do Piyazza, and much more. The trademark makhani section comprises of dishes cooked in thick butter gravy like Butter Chicken, Daal Makhani, and Paneer Makhani. In addition to this, the menu also offers delectable varieties of exclusive Indian salads, breads, exclusive rice dishes and desserts.

Moti Mahal’s greatest claims to fame — the tandoori chicken, dal makhani and butter chicken said to be invented by Kundan Lal Gujral — make up the signature dish triumvirate at the restaurant. The special menu for the event included a wide range of tempting kebabs in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties. The charming waiting staff ferried plate after plate of things to fight over.

The vegetarian section included delicacies like Afghani mushroom, vegetable galauti kebab and vegetable Shah Jahani kebabs, whereas the non-vegetarian spread offered varieties in chicken, mutton, fish and prawns, like succulent prawns, tandoori chicken kebabs, mutton galauti and spicy fish Lahori tikka.

To Oman with love
From songs to food, seems like the fusion trend seems to be on a high! A lot of experimentation goes on with different dishes at ‘Moti Mahal’. According to Monish, “Through the blending of two different recipes coming from varied backgrounds, and creating something new, we attempt at bringing the two cultures to a common platform”.

For the Omani people, the restaurant has many first of its kind fusion dishes, especially in the dessert section, created by mixing traditional Omani recipes with Indian preparations. Some of the delicacies to look out for are the Pizza Naan with Arabic pickles, Date Kulfi, Date and Sooji Halwa, Phirni Bunnofy Pie, Date Phirni etc. The restaurant also plans to organise food festivals to promote the brand and Indian cuisine in the city.
Authentic Indian cuisine

Motimahal OmanMahmood Chohan
Chairman, Golden Fort Gate LLC
We intend to open up one more branch (of Moti Mahal) in Muscat. It is a fantastic place with lots of opportunities. The people here are the best in the entire Gulf region. We see a lot of potential here in comparison to other gulf countries.

2Monish Gujral
Managing Director, Moti Mahal Delux Tandoori Trail
With a world hungry for Indian curries and tandoori preparations, it is increasingly important that these dishes should cross cultures and borders without losing their distinctive nuances and sub-notes. Standardisation, quality and consistency are the hallmark of every Moti Mahal across the world. This cuisine is a tradition to follow, a culture to preserve and a legacy to inherit.

3Sheikh Hamood
Sponsor, Moti Mahal Delux
We expect a hugh influx of customers, given the large Indian expat community, and the fusion cuisines that the restaurant has on offer. We have high hopes from the venture. The response has been overwhelming right from the beginning.

4Mohd Rizwan Azad
Indian expatriate
It is exciting to see a restaurant like Moti Mahal opening up here in Muscat, delivering authentic taste and a wholesome Indian dining experience. Feels like home is not that far away now.

Glorious memoirs
Recipient of many culinary awards worldwide, Moti Mahal is an iconic name in modern Indian culinary history. It was established by Kundan Lal in 1920 as a small eatery in Peshawar, then part of undivided India. He migrated from Peshawar to Delhi during the Partition of the sub-continent and set up the Moti Mahal restaurant at Daryaganj in 1947. Its matchless signature recipes and smoky frontier flavors soon made it a name synonymous with authentic North Indian cuisine.

The restaurant soon acquired landmark status with illustrious visitors – Heads of States, foreign dignitaries, Hollywood stars, including the likes of Late Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, and Jacqueline Kennedy. Kundan Lal is also credited to be the chef who conceived, created and gave the world one of its most beloved cuisines –Tandoori Food.

Moti Mahal has remained true to the signature dishes that made it a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities. “My grandfather invented these dishes, and they are still the main offering of the restaurant. We have also blended many different recipes to create entirely new dishes. Our aim is to provide our customers a unique dining experience through fusion,” says Monish. From the conservative to the adventurous, every palate is likely to find something tempting at Moti Mahal.

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.


  1. sameer

    August 27, 2013 at 5:44 am

    what is the phone number of Moti Mahal Muscat as I could not find anywhere, please let me know earliest as I have to take some guest at the MM. Thanks. sameer

    • Monish Gujral

      August 27, 2013 at 7:00 am

      Please visir motimahal.in/oman and you can get all the information on that website. Thanks :)

  2. Salah khalil

    October 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Wish you all best with the new branch keep on the good work..,

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