Considering we discovered them on their second day of operation, Mughals had our permission to make a few errors. Every kitchen needs time to sink its teeth into service, and here, the bouquets were still fresh. At almost 10.30 pm, we ask if they are open till 11 pm? “No, we are on till midnight,” comes a proud reply. So, we roll up our sleeves and decide to settle down for some aromatic, meaty Mughlai fare.
Done up to represent a sprawling ancient Mughal palace, the restaurant uses an ingeniously printed wallpaper depicting an image of a palace porch to create a masterful illusion of space within a 500 square feet area. The dappled light falling on the image lifts the whole atmosphere from what could have easily been mundane, to dramatic. Aesthetic art continues on the menu’s latticed cover.
Unfortunately, though, no drama unfolds on our plate throughout the meal. Of course, they have the regular vegetarian items such as paneer-this and aloo-that, but we shall stick to the meat items here like a true Mughal. Quite a few of our choices are rejected by our server as they aren’t available yet. So, we zero in on a Gosht Boti Kebab (Rs 200). It takes its own time to arrive. But when it does, it’s a wholesome portion of well marinated-until-tender but under-cooked meat. The spices are still raw and though the meat is succulent, it’s like eating a tarte tatin laden with Indian masalas.
For mains, we try a Bheja Masala (Rs 190). This one comes in a tiny plate and resembles a Bheja Fry. No masalas and none of the expected spicy red gravy here; just little chunks of brain done in a dry onion-tomato base. Our Dabba Gosht (Rs 220), on the other hand, is all about slippery gravy. Again, the meat is tender but, slightly undercooked. And the yellow base that it sits in, tastes of nothingness. Thank God for the Butter Naan (R55) and the Vegetarian Dum Biryani (Rs 170)! This is your regular biryani topped with fried onions and blended with light gravy and chunky vegetables.
Mughals sits on a prime
location in the Camp area. We could already see their midnight hours working for them with a constant trickle of guests into the restaurant. But, they need to get their food right. Mughlai food is associated with being a robust blend of taste and aroma. It can’t be waiting for Godot.