The Grand Trunk Road – An Indian Food Expedition at Moti Mahal Covent Garden:
Colonial India has glamorous, romantic and intriguing connotations for me – the last days of the Raj, the Spice Routes – all things exotic. So, an invitation to a ‘Grand Trunk Road’ dinner at Moti Mahal in Covent Garden was just too good to miss. Despite the fact that I had other prior engagements that evening and subsequently missed the starters…arriving just in time for main courses. The background to this particular dinner is that the Head Chef at Moti Mahal took time out to travel the Grand Trunk Road in India and learn more about the food and culture of the route. And this menu and a book about his trip evolved with input from journalist Hardeep Singh Kohli – a travelogue and a collection of dishes. Of course you can buy the book ‘Food of the Trunk Road’ and learn more about what must have been a fascinating journey. Or just head for Moti Mahal and enjoy the food.
A dish of King prawns were a fine example of the food served – cooked in tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil to create a fresh, simple dish without the heaviness sometimes associated with Indian food.
Or Paneer aur akrot Ka Salan – a home made Indian cheese cooked with walnuts and sweet peppers in a yoghurt and saffron sauce
If you are lucky along the Grand Trunk Road, you might just find your pot of gold, or something similar in the form of Murgh Kundan Kaliyan I , a chicken cooked in a sealed pot with saffron and yellow chillies and topped with gold leaf. A real wow factor on the table, the chicken was tender and beautifully flavoured by the saffron.
But for sheer comfort, the Raank ki Biriyani I, a lamb biriyani, cooked the traditional way with raw lamb slow cooked with rice, chillies, saffron and spices, will take some beating. For me it is the sort of food I’d like to eat curled up on the sofa in front of the fire. For now, I’ll settle for eating out at Moti Mahal until I can learn how to make a classic biriyani.
Having missed the starters I was determined to make the most of the desserts. All three were pretty and very delicious. Annanas Ra Meetha was a kind of luscious rice pudding with pineapple and pistachio adding sweetness to the rice..
These golden balls were ‘Gulab jamun’ – a sweet dumpling traditionally eaten at major celebrations. Everyone’s favourite they disappeared quickly. I think I did only eat one…honest!
And finally these rather pretty Kulfi – little indian ice-cream lollipops!
Our Passport to the Grand Trunk Road Dinner was fun and entertained. And the food was wonderful. At the end of the dinner we met the chefs who had been cooking for us
And, there was a certain amount of ‘if the hat fits’
I have to say I do think we all know who was the rightful owner…despite the propriatorial look of model number one!
This was my first visit to Moti Mahal in Covent Garden. I loved the food and the ambience…and was intrigued by their latest promotion in conjunction with Abercrombie & Kent. They have a special offer for regular visitors to enter a competition for a wonderful gourmet eight day tour of Northern India, staying at the Taj hotels in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. So, if you love GREAT Indian food and want the chance to visit, pop into Moti Mahal and collect your ‘Passport to the Grand Trunk Road’ now…then feast on Indian food till the end of March 2014 and you might just get lucky!