"As far as Rusholme goes, Mughli's classy facade is very understated. However once inside, the fantastic authentic Mughlai cuisine and excellent service shines brighter than the flashing neon lights that surround it.
Having first opened its doors on the Curry Mile in 1991 by Mohammad 'Uncle Peter' Arshad, Mughli specialises in the karahi cooking style used in Delhi and Punjab, the region straddling the border between India and Pakistan. Sadly Uncle Peter passed away shortly before the restaurant's 20th anniversary, leaving the company in the capable hands of his sons Sax, Haz, Was and Shaz.
The brothers have modernised the concept, giving the Rusholme restaurant a very stylish refurbishment and redesigning the menu to showcase the most popular dishes from their father. adding a modern slant in the process.
The new decor is very tasteful, and in stark contrast to many of the 1980's style curry houses that still surround it. The huge carved wood wall display alone is worthy of note; we witnessed two customers leave their tables to admire it close-up. Another wall boasts billboard style flyposters advertising Bollywood movies.
the lads and their team have put into Mughli
would really make their father proud. In
a recent conversation with Ian Matfin, the
former Executive Chef at Michael Caines,
the 'Best Restaurant in Manchester 2009
& 2010', listed the Rusholme establishment
as one of his favourite restaurants in Manchester.
High praise indeed from somebody who has
worked at Gordon Ramsay’s Claridge’s
and Aubergine, Raymond Blanc’s Le
Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Michael Caines’
Gidleigh Park and Terry Laybourne's 21 Queen
Street, some eight Michelin stars between
them. Celebrity chef Matt Tebbutt also recently
described Mughli as "the best Indian
restaurant he has ever been to".
As part of their 20th Anniversary celebrations, Mughli are offering an Exclusive Taster Menu to Pride Of Manchester members for just £20 per couple, Amazing value for money but, as we found out, not for the light eater.
Following some crispy papadums with fresh dips for starters (usually £3), we were presented with 10 dishes per couple, showcasing 12 Mughlai specialties. As we were a table of 4 and had ordered the two additional options, a further 4 specialties, of Seafood Platter (£5) and Tikka Meat Bowl (£5), our 22 plates seriously filled the large table and reinforced the feeling that the offer was a steal.
We were advised to try the Samosa Chaat first, as the crispy Aloo Bhujia, with which they are served, is better fresh from the kitchen before it hardens. Typically served from road-side carts in North India and Pakistan, these vegetable samosas topped with chickpeas, potato, cucumber and onions were absolutely delicious and are well worth ordering as a starter if dining from the a la carte menu (£3).
With three of the other dishes beng sauces, it was possible to combine with the Steamed or Browned Basmati Rice, Garlic & Coriander Naan, Special Keema Naan, Bombay Aloo potatoes, or even mix and match with the other 4 specialities and 4 optional dishes. Whilst all three sauces were differing in spice, each was mild enough for everybody to enjoy regardless of your usual curry strength.
Each sauce was a winner from the four of us that dined but the darker of the three, the Bombay Spinach, was the favourite. An aromatic onion, tomato, coriander and sweet spinach sauce, the mildest of the three, it went particularly well with the browned rice, Bombay Aloo potatoes, naan breads and the optional tikka lamb. If you order from the a la carte, you can enjoy Bombay Spinach with chicken breast, mixed vegetables or lamb off the bone (£7.90).
The lighter coloured, spicier Karahi Crushed Garlic & Chilli sauce was also exceptional and worked well with the same dishes. This traditional Pakistani sauce is made using fresh tomato, onion, ginger and coriander, before being infused with the crushed garlic and chilli. It went especially well with the lamb tikka (£7.90 on the a la carte).
The red creamier Makhanwala sauce, matched the steamed rice, naan bread, chicken fillets and optional chicken tikka perfectly. This deliciously rich, traditional butter and cream based sauce with crushed cloves and cardamom seeds is one of the most popular Indian curries, usually found in Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani. It's available on the a la carte menu with chicken tikka or paneer (£8.50).
The stand out dish from the standard £20 Taster Menu was the Seikh Kebab, which was basted in a chilli and mango sauce and wrapped in a tava roti strip. Available on the a la carte menu as a starter (£4), we could easily order two or three of these as a main course on our next visit. The cool cucumber and mint raita sauce it was served with was fantastic.
If you can find room for one of the optional dishes, the Seafood Platter is well worth the extra £5 for the Masala Fish alone (£5 on the a la carte menu). Certainly the highlight of the meal for us all, it's made using Mummy Arshad's recipe, with the haddock fillets so perfectly cooked they literally flake on touch. Our friends from The Faroe Islands, possibly where the fish was caught, enthused about the dish's excellence so much they even ordered an extra portion.
We're not sure how they found room for another dish, which also comes with the most tender King Prawn Butterfly (normally £5), as we were completely over faced by the delicious offerings. The Chicken Pakora fillets (normally £3) and char grilled boneless chicken cutlets were more than enough to eat in their own spices or mix with the sauces, however we also ordered the additional Meat Tikka Bowl for good measure (£5 extra). Whilst not necessarily required, the tikka lamb and chicken were perfectly cooked and ideal for mixing with the sauces.
Throughout the night, the service had been top notch, friendly and largely informative - especially considering the Taster Offer was new. It would help to have a menu with you throughout the meal as a guide to what's in front of you. Although, that said, they hadn't arrived back from the printers by the time we visited so it may actually be planned.
We finished the meal with a Mint Tea, which was ideal for the digestion but maybe a little too sugary for our liking. Oh, and then of course there was the famous Vimto lollies with the bill. Perfect for the 20 minute walk back to the city centre which we certainly needed following this mega feast.
Whether you're dining from the a la carte or the ridiculously cheap exclusive Taster Menu, it's safe to say that Mughli will redefine your opinions of Rusholme.
This is a quality restaurant that we'll certainly be returning too again and again, and it's a safe bet that we'll be ordering the same Mughlai dishes we've now been introduced to."- restaurants of manchester 23/2/11 (visited late on a wednesday evening)