After a number of weeks hearing about the new and upcoming Indian street-food restaurant, ‘Mowgli’, I thought it was time to check what all the fuss was about, particularly as it was only around the corner from where I live.
I had originally visited a few Saturdays earlier with my girlfriend, but as it was the evening and the centre of Liverpool, we were asked to wait an hour before being seated, and based on the hunger we both felt at the time, this was certainly not an option!
We said we’d return on a ‘random Tuesday’, perhaps when it would be less busy, and that’s exactly what we did. Thankfully we were seated right away, although it was busier than I anticipated.
The atmosphere was sublime for a Tuesday evening around town, it was not too loud but far from silent, so we could hear one another without having to raise our voices.
We were sat not far from the entrance and one thing I kept noticing was that people just kept on coming in, the demand to eat here was high and it made me even more excited to find out what all the fuss was about.
Our drinks order was taken right away and shortly followed by our mains. We were informed that the plates come ‘as and when’ they are ready, which gave us mixed feelings because I wouldn’t want the Daal that I ordered to come without any flatbread or rice, for instance.
The menu had plenty of interesting dishes to choose from and as they were small plates, we were told many people order 3-4 each. We went for 5 main dishes in total, which were:
– Tamarind Treacle Ribs
– Temple Daal
– Angry Bird
– Mother Butter Chicken
– Gunpowder Chicken
Plus Basmati Rice and one of the flatbreads.
Despite my earlier reservations regarding the order in which the dishes would arrive, the ribs came first and were melt-in-your-mouth perfect. The meat just fell of the bone and the treacle flavour was heavenly. We were off to a good start.
Almost as soon as we’d finished the ribs, the rest of the dishes arrived together, much to my relief. We both felt they mentioned the plates arrive ‘as and when’ to relieve some of the pressure on themselves and the kitchen, which was fair enough.
– “Temple Daal” – the dish was rather ordinary and perhaps a little under-seasoned
– “Angry Bird” – no wonder the bird was angry, it was overcooked and very chewy, which for chicken thighs, in a professional kitchen, was really disappointing.
– “Mother Butter Chicken” – again it was rather an ordinary dish, when you come out for food you expect something better than what you can make at home and this wasn’t. Perhaps swap the chicken breast for chicken thighs.
– “Gunpowder Chicken” – this was by far the best dish and very refreshing to the palette, the chicken was crispy and cooked right.
The mains were therefore a mixed bag, but with plenty of choice on the menu, at least some of the dishes were of a high standard. One other element I noticed was that almost every dish had chopped red chillies on top. This must have been for garnish but it was out of place on a number of the dishes. For instance, it was on the butter chicken and the Daal, both of which are very mild dishes so why add chillies?! They were out of place and there purely to add colour.
For dessert, we ordered the ‘Mowgli Brownie’ which was cardamom-infused, with Vanilla Ice Cream. The Ice Cream was flavourful but the brownie was more like a cake and not gooey in the middle (as you can probably tell in the photograph below). Again, for a professional kitchen, no matter how short a time you’ve been open for, these really are the basics and they got it wrong.
The Service was spot on. Every single member of staff was friendly, approachable and willing to help. The maitre’d took our order and memorised all 7 elements and nothing was forgotten (although when they do this with no notepad it always makes me feel a bit uneasy!).
In summary, there were some positive points, such as the exciting atmosphere, the beautiful decor, the quality of service and the wide-choice of interesting street food dishes to choose from.
Unfortunately many of these dishes were average at best, one being very poor and two being very good. I’m also disappointed that they don’t take bookings. Yes they probably don’t need to as demand is high, but it’s more convenient for customers to know where they are going to eat, at what time and not be left disappointed.
I guess (and hope!) that there will be more consistency across the menu over time once they find their feet, because if they can make these adjustments and get all the basics right, they are onto a winner.
For more information on the restaurant, visit their website here