Review: Moti Mahal Delux [Gulf Road]
We dropped by today to check out the recently opened Moti Mahal, which is next to Carrinos on the Gulf Road. This is the first Indian joint that has the upper hand over all other Indian joints in terms of having a fantastic location, with sweeping views over the Gulf Road seaside, ample parking, and ofcourse a huge customer base driving through. So why is this information important here? Well this has to be re-conveyed to the management in case they have forgotten. Do I sound a bit a grudgy, well maybe, so read along.
Lets begin with the overall ambiance of the the place. Its a well appointed place with open kitchen format that opens up in the dining space. The place is not huge, which is good as it prevents overcrowding, I guess a seating space for around 50 diners. This makes it a perfect place for hosting a small exclusive parties.
In terms of food, they offer a good selection of both veg and non-veg, although purely Indian delicacies, nothing of fusion cuisines. They are famous for their Tandoori dishes and have a wide variety of options to choose from. Reasonably priced and well prepared. We ordered for a mix platter of Tandoori meats and Shahi Paneer [cottage cheese prepared in thick creamy gravy]. Now this is where my grudge begins. Whenever I dine in a good restaurant, and especially one that promotes itself as regional [Indian in this case], I like it if the food is served in traditional pots and plates. This is a marketing gimmick, yet a good one. It enhances the overall experience of dining in. In our case we were served in plain vanilla ceramic plate and bowls. And although the food was good, it lacked the basic ingredient, presentation. It looked like I was sitting in at home and serving myself from the pots in my own kitchen. Food business is a juggling game where one has to balance many things perfectly from taste, to price, to presentation, to service. And if one of these fails, well the act itself fails miserably.
The next grudge for me was service, not the one that I was given, but the one that was around the place. Although the staff was very friendly, prompt and courteous, there are two things that shocked [read awkwardly funny] me. And believe me this is the first time I had a chance to experience what was happening around me. First I could see that one of the service staff was actually ironing [yep like laundry], from the looks of it, table cloths and/or towels right inside the joint, in plain sight. This went on from the time I was in till I was about to finish off. I almost burst out laughing but then held back as it would have been really awkward for all present. I am sure given the amount of space in the joint, there would be some corner room where this can be done out of the sight of patrons. I actually felt pity for the staff for doing this along with the regular job.
Another thing that made me uncomfortable was that after the check arrived , and while I was seated and about to pay, one of the staff came in with a hand held vacuum cleaner and started cleaning my table. Excuse me but out of common courtesy please wait for me to get up and leave before you buzz the vacuum cleaner all around. And also if you are vacuuming the table cloth I had just had my food on, what it means is that you dont put a fresh one after the guest leaves?! Did I just eat on the table cloth which was just slightly vacuumed, where someone else had eaten previously? You can get away with this if you are a small joint somewhere in the middle of no where, but this is a prime joint and this really baffled me.
Overall the experience for me was not a favorable one. I really feel that given the prestigious positioning, and the history of the joint, lot more needs to be done in terms of giving patrons a memorable [good one] dining experience. And if they work these out I am sure Moti Mahal can compete with the best the town has to offer. Like I said its a delicate business, an act of juggling between few but important things, and if one fails, the entire act collapses. In my case couple of things failed. I would give them 2/5
p.s. Loose the ‘Delux’ from the name if you can, it sounds like a hotel room