Delhi’s Moti Mahal Delux makes a grand entry on the food map of Kolkata

DELHI’S FAMOUS RESTAURANT, Moti Mahal Delux serving patrons since 1920, makes a royal entry on the gastronomic map of the city. Park Street now has a heritage fine-dining restaurant that serves not just classic North Indian cuisine but has Oriental delicacies as well on their menu.

Spread over 4,000 sq ft, the 70-seater restaurant has modern interiors and a lone bright red wall, offering an oriental touch to the month-old diner. We were welcomed with a minty and tangy Watermelon Mojito and the bartender gets full marks for making this refreshing potion with precision. Oriental cuisine, to be precise Chinese, set our gastronomic journey rolling with its strong flavors. Chilli Mountain Chicken, tossed with pahadi mirchi (large red Kashmiri chilies) tantalized our taste buds with sharp notes from the chilies. Next up from Chef Abhijit Gayen’s kitchen were carefully crafted dimsums. Accompanied by three condiments, we sampled Spicy Chicken with Coriander Dumplings, Cheese Mushroom Dumplings and Prawn Dumplings. While the first one paired well with a peanut butter dip, balancing the spicy texture of the dim sum, the creamy mushroom filling in the other dumpling made us opt for a Schezwan hot chili sauce. The tender and juicy prawn filling in the last dumpling went well with a chili garlic sauce and was the chef ’s best bet. An equally delectable option is the Stuffed Mushroom Garlic Pepper which is highly recommended for vegetarians.

From the entrée, we sampled the spicy Tom Yum Noodles with Prawns in Schezwan Sauce. This one aptly recommended for those who are fans of the spicy schezwan sauce. Cutting the long spicy trail, Thai Basil Cottage Cheese, a sweet and sour recipe made with sweet chilli sauce soothed our palate. Moving on from Chinese, we were introduced to the signature dish of Moti Mahal Delux — the famed Butter Chicken. The rich and creamy, and surprisingly not overtly buttery Punjabi delicacy stood out for its smoky flavor and we relished the bite-sized pieces of chicken paired with Butter Garlic naans. This can be ordered with bone or boneless. “Our butter chicken is the best in the world because the recipe has been passed down through generations. The chef and staff have been trained to carry on and serve authentic dishes to its patrons,” says Rachit Gupta, co-owner of the franchise. All we needed was a scoop of ice-cream and two sinful treats landed on our table instantly. While the classic Darsaan with Vanilla ice cream is an all-time winner, the bittersweet notes of Toffee Walnut made sure our cravings were satiated.

Monish Gujral

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.

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