Name: Moti Mahal
Area: Covent Garden
Address: 22 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RH
Phone: 020 7836 1628

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 27 Oct 2016

Who needs food when you've got a wooden duck to keep you entertained?

Visit Report

Visit Number: 198 (visit 1 of 1 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 27 Oct 2016
Cost per head: £27.00 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 1.6 4.4 3.5 4.0 5.9 5.6 6.3 6.0 3.4 4.63
Alex 1 2 3 5 4 6 5 3 3.9 See Alex's comments
Graeme 1 3 4 1 3 8 6 2 3.9 See Graeme's comments
Richard 3 8 4 5 7 7 5 5 5 5.4 See Richard's comments
Jon 1 2 5 2 6 7 7 7 1 4.4 See Jon's comments
Neil 1 7 1 3 5 8 8 7 6 5.3 See Neil's comments
Dominic 3 5 3 5 4 5 5 3 4.2 See Dominic's comments
Jeff 1 4 4 4 8 6 9 7 5 5.6 See Jeff's comments
Mark 2 4 4 10 4 4 4 4.8 See Mark's comments
Tim 1 5 3 3 6 6 5 6 2 4.1 See Tim's comments

All Comments

Alex - Place was physically a bit scuzzy and service was abysmally slow and incompetent but not actually rude. First conversation was 'what booking?' and it went downhill from there. I was lucky, my starter was OK. But almost everything arrived so late we could have done with a microwave by the table. Flavour of the main was reasonable but somewhat unbalanced. Expensive for what it was too. And the beer would have been short measures if there hadn't been immediate loud complaints.

Graeme - Things got off to a bad start when the restaurant said they did not have any record of our booking. We should have just walked away - this turned out to be an awful experience. I have given "1" for service as they did eventually bring our food to the table (not necessarily at the right time ...) but it had nothing else going for it. The shared Tandoori Mixed Platter starter was so over-cooked it was laughable - the onion bhaji was so hard, we could not cut it open. There was something funny going on with the beers which they agreed to reduce the price of when we challenged them. Strangely, my main course (can't remember what it was called!) was really nice so I have to mark it honestly but it was the only saving grace of the meal. Overall, it was dreadful. Thanks to El Pres for taking us somewhere new. I do like to go to different areas of London but it was unfortunate that this place was so dire.

Richard - It all started so well. Nice ambience, good location, top pub next door which was not rammed with tourists. A decent menu, although most dishes seemed to be marked with 2 chillies (I rashly assumed this did not mean hot but was to warn off American tourists, but my Lamb Bhuna was seriously spicy). Things started going down hill when we were told there were no plain poppadums and the (already expensive) beer looked to be overcharged along with very slow service and a lack of waiters. The mixed grill starter was pretty good except for the worst onion bhaji ever - dry, solid and similar to cardboard. Overall a mixed result. I'm looking forward to an old favourite for my century visit!

Jon - The fact that they weren't ready for us when we arrived, despite having booked and the restaurant being less than busy, should have been a warning sign, as should the plastic sheet draped across the name sign above the window.   So the place has obviously recently changed names and the menu bore no resemblance to the one I had checked out online.  The first shock was that they were unable to offer any plain poppadums - that's certainly a first. It took the one waiter an age to take any sort of order from us.  We ordered large bottles of Cobra as they had none of the other extensive beer selection available.  At £7 a bottle, it was somewhat disconcerting that the beer then turned up as pints - we all know that large bottles of Indian beer are more than a pint, so having raised this issue, we were told that that they had no large bottles either, and they were pouring from small bottles.  They promised to reduce the cost accordingly but I've no idea whether they did having left before the bill arrived.  Having arrived at 7:30pm, the starters (or some of them) arrived at about 8:45pm and the mixed kebab starter I shared was severely over-cooked and incredibly disappointing given I'd had no poppadums and was consequently somewhat peckish.  We then settled in for another long wait for the main courses which arrived in dribs and drabs between about 9.30 and 9.45.   So much so that I had all but finished my main course when my rice arrived.  The dishes that came out first were tepid at best, while the ones at the end had obviously just been cooked - maybe they had just one chef to help the one waiter.  The main course, mine was an imaginatively titled "Lamb and Potato", was actually quite tasty but ruined by the incompetence with which is was accompanied.  I had to rush off to get my train before the bill arrived, and given that we had 50% off the food thanks to Mark's TasteCard, I'm staggered by the cost.

Neil - A trip to the West End is often divisive amongst the group but I look forward to the change, and this looked to be a good night having met in a friendly pub with reasonable prices given the location. The curry house looked 'ambient' and was able to put us up quite quickly even though they'd lost our booking (groan). Next, however, followed some pretty poor service. Starters appeared mostly over or under cooked after over an hour of waiting (!) resulting in some stern words from Jon. Also, lots of confusion over beer prices and I suspect we would have been ripped off if it wasn't for some more observant members of our group. Main course was pretty good, probably because they had by that time an empty restaurant and weren't rushed. A bit of a shame overall as a good 'West End price' with TasteCard discount.

Dominic - A first for me: an alcohol-free curry marks outing due to a well disciplined "dry'tober"!! ... which meant everything and everyone was observed ... hmmmm, are some of us really that argumentative about beer!!! Despite being an "El Prez" selection, which normally means a pretty good establishment, this was a disaster almost from the beginning. The service was mediocre at best with slow starters and a failed main (more on this to come) ... and not knowing exactly what the place was called between menu, website and no signage was also a bad omen. I shared the mixed starter (said to be for 3 people) and must suggest that the onion bhaji be sent to the British Museum for carbon dating ... it was inedible and a filling dislodger!! And I always get suspicious when a dish is brought out and said to be one thing ... then another ... and in this case another!! Unfortunately, when the dust settled we were missing some bread, rice and my lamb chilli main!!! ... I ended up almost eating it on my own! The rest were mediocre at best. If you added back the taste card discount of £12 per head this was in fact a £39 per head evening which is right up there with the old Mehek ... an absolute shambles!!! The one saving grace was that El Prez is also human when it comes to suggested venues ... I feel a tad better given a couple of dodgy suggestions of my own!!!

Jeff - Well, the night started well in the Sun towards the northern end of Drury Lane, but went downhill faster than Franz Klammer when we entered the restaurant, who had 'lost' our booking, and then proceeded to give us service that would have made Manuel from Fawlty Towers blench with embarrassment. I'm sure others will list examples. A shame because, actually, apart from the horrendous crispy onion bhajis, the food was quite good especially the main of chicken shatkora (which I found out is an Indian citrus fruit) which had a delicious lemon-y flavour.

Mark - Oh dear! I can only apologize for taking the esteemed Currymarks to such a poor place and yet I still ended up awarding a 10. My starter of lamb chops, which arrived as the last dish, was freshly cooked and superb. Unfortunately, everything else was poor and the service was even worse. I dread to think what west end tourists would think as this was even worse than the last trip in this direction. Lovely pub to start, Tastecard discount agreed, after that downhill (apart from the brisk walk to Kings Cross). We will not return even if they change the name again.

Tim - This was the most shambolic currymarks I've ever been to. The confusion started with the name of the restaurant - the website says "Takari", the menu says "Majestic Indian", the booking system (Tastecard) says "Moti Mahal" ... no wonder they were confused about our booking and didn't have a table ready. After ten minutes they had prepared a table, although they'd only set cutlery for one person. Beer in an Indian restaurant should not be terribly complicated, but even this was a shambles. According to the menu, there were about 6 beers on offer: large (660ml) Cobras for an outrageous £6.95, Kingfisher, Tiger, Estrella etc. However when we came to order, they apparently only had Cobra and Carling or Carlsberg, so we ordered large Cobras. However when these (eventually) arrived, they were delivered in not-quite-full pint glasses; it turned out that they had only small bottles of Cobra, and they were trying to save money by hoping no one would notice we were getting approx. 500ml of beer for the price of 660ml. The next failure was with poppadoms - apparently they had no plain poppadoms available. Four of us ordered spicy ones, but seven were delivered (eventually). The condiments arrived separately, and the poppadoms were cold and not very crispy, and the weird, rectangular plates were too small for the poppadoms. After numerous requests they finally delivered some cutlery to the table, and at 9:00pm, over an hour after we arrived, the starters were served. I shared a Sultani meat platter; usually when there is a sharing platter, there is one of each item per person, but in this case there was only one onion bhaji and one samosa, although there was 3 of each meat item. I tried to split the onion bhaji, but it turned out to be rock hard - after viciously stabbing it with my fork a few times, I managed to break off some splinters - perhaps it had been deep-fried for the whole hour that we were waiting, or more likely it was left over from earlier in the week. All the food, and the plate, were cold or luke-warm, and a lot of the meat was rather dry and tough, although the taste wasn't too bad. For the main course, I ordered Sultani Karahi Murgh (chicken). What I actually received was lamb. I've no idea if it was Sultani Karahi Gosht (also on the menu), or something completely different, as the descriptions on the menu weren't very useful (e.g. "blended with herbs and spices" or "prepared traditionally with a wealth of ingredients"). Also, almost everything on the menu had a strength of "two chillies", including Naga Madrass, so I wonder if the menu actually correlates with the food at all. The main course did actually turn out to be quite tasty, although I could have done with a better ratio of meat to onion. The accompaniments all seemed fine, although there was some confusion with their delivery - quite a lot of the rice didn't turn up until re-requested, and I didn't see the brinjal bhaji at all. Apparently this restaurant has been on the site for three months, which should have been long enough to sort out teething troubles, but it was still undergoing refurbishment. The new decor is quite nice, but there was a hole in the ceiling above our end of the table which was letting in cold air from outside. The waiter seemed nice enough, but I wasn't sure if anyone was actually in charge - there's no excuse for not having the right beer or poppadoms, or not having cutlery and plates on the table. Overall, the whole experience felt like an episode of Ramsay's Kitchen nightmares, and if we hadn't had the 50% off food from Tastecard, it would have been an expensive nightmare too.

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