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4/5

Moti Mahal Colombo

No - 8 Flower Rd, Colombo 07


Moti Mahal Colombo is a member of the giant Indian food franchise of the same name.



With a history that runs deep into an abandoned corner of the city of Daryaganj in the 1940s, Moti Mahal is a giant, well-known Indian food franchise. The newest branch of this chain lies down Flower Road in Colombo 07, occupying the same location where Mainland China once stood. 

Food & Drinks

Indian food is their speciality, but like many Indian restaurants in Colombo, they have a Chinese menu too. We decided to stick to their speciality because, from what we gathered, it's what they do best and they've got a huge range of food for you to choose from. 

Our starter was this plate of Paneer Tikka Shashik (Rs. 590). Five big cubes of grill-kissed paneer wrapped in a chockfull of spices to boot, it was garnished with chunks of bell pepper, tomato and onions. With a tad firm exterior, but rightly so as it had been grilled to perfection, while the inside is all soft and not at all rubbery, it was incredible. The spices didn't interrupt its milky flavours, so all in all, it's one superb starter to kick start your meal at Moti Mahal. The Gosht Hyderabadi Biriyani (Rs. 940), is essentially the Mutton Biriyani at Moti Mahal. Aromatic and fluffy, the basmati here was cooked well and had around four pieces of mutton hidden underneath. The seasoning here landed on the mild side, but we could taste the subtle kicks of the signature Hyderabadi biriyani flavour. A little more of that would have made it heaps better. 

Three out of the four pieces of mutton were a little boney but beautifully cooked. Tender and not overly chewy, the meat easily fell off the bone while complementing the dish. 
Featuring a creamy, hearty and oniony gravy, the Tawa Chicken (Rs. 790) is a good choice to scoop and mop up your rotis. There were lots and lots of onions in this one, which slightly bothered me, but my lunch partner didn't seem to mind it. 

The gravy was delicately orangey, thick and was boasting with rich masala notes. Absorbing that colour and flavour, the pieces of boneless chicken swimming about were a treat too. 

We paired it up with a couple of rotis - Garlic Naan (Rs. 190) and Stuffed Kulcha (Rs. 240).
The Garlic Naan at Moti Mahal is one of the best there is. Buttery and edged with burnt bits, it had just the right touch from the tandoor and we enjoyed catching a gentle whiff of garlic in this one. The Stuffed Kulcha was well executed too. Tucked between those thin layers of roti lied a delicious mixture of potato, some milky element and a few other things that we cannot really put our finger on. It shared the same excellent texture of the garlic naan. Served warm, this portion of Gulab Jamun (Rs. 190) was freshly made upon our order as they had already run out of it. Chunky and soft, it was sweet as it should be. 

To wash everything down, we got ourselves a glass of Sweet Lassi (Rs. 290). Sweet, yoghurt-y and refreshing, it was a delightful drink.

Ambience & Service

It has the same interior that Mainland China had - nothing really has changed in this aspect. They've got a fancy seating arrangement with cosy chairs and tables along with the red, black and ash colour theme. With nice Hindi songs playing in the background, the atmosphere is ideal for a dinner/lunch out with your family, friends or the significant other. 

The food arrived within around 20 minutes and the staff was helpful. It might be a problem to get their attention when the house is full, which is most of the times. But luckily, we didn't run into any problems.

Conclusion

Moti Mahal does good Indian fare, and they're quite generous with their portions too. Our total bill was around Rs. 4000, which is quite good as this could have easily fed three hungry adults. They seem to be very keen on keeping the authenticity in check too. Make sure you try their tandoori - they're the popular stuff. 

*Photographs courtesy of: @raveen.re

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