I had never heard of Mughal Sarai and was quite curious as to what it would be like. As I entered the building, I stepped into the lift that zoomed up to the rooftop level. A passageway opened out to a beautiful terrace.
I took in the ambiance and walked towards the air-conditioned section of the restaurant which happened to be just as lovely. The vibe of the place was positive and vibrant, and I was ever so glad that I had accepted the invite for the tasting at Mughal Sarai; extended to me via Team #FoodProwl.
We were offered mocktails to quench our thirst and we chose Fresh Lime Sodas, Khus Sherbet and Blue Lagoon mocktails. While I found the Blue Lagoon a tad too sweet, the Khus Sherbet was cool and very refreshing! The lime sodas, too, were perfectly balanced in flavour.
We began our meal with shorbas (soup) and appetizers. We tried two shorbas; the Chicken Yakhnee and Gosht Paya Ka Shorba. At the first sip of the Chicken Yakhnee we went, ‘wowww!’, the soup was hot, hearty and lip-smackingly good. We then turned our attention to the Gosht Paya Ka Shorba. If the Chicken Yakhnee was ‘wowww’ then this soup had us saying, ‘Oh my God! This beats the Chicken Yakhnee.' The paya shorba was simply superb! Each and every one at the table loved it!
Before I voice my opinion about the food, I need to mention that the idea of writing the name of the restaurant on some of the platters actually marred the look of the dish instead of enhancing it. The platter would look way classier without the ‘Mughal Sarai’ scrawl. (Please take this suggestion in a positive way because my intention is not to demean the person who thought of it)
For appetizers we were served; Karari Roti, Dahi Ke Kebab, Paneer Shahjani, Murg Ki Raseed and Keftey Kebab. The Karari Roti was the best I have ever had. Paper thin, crisp, brushed with ghee and sprinkled with spices; this one was perfect in every sense of the word!
The Dahi Ke Kebabs and the Murg Ki Raseed were also delish. The Paneer Shahjani was a dish of sautéed mushrooms sandwiched between soft slices of paneer and was nicely done! What stole my heart, though, was their signature dish, Keftey Kebab. These were mutton mince kebabs! Beautifully seasoned and cooked to a perfect succulent texture; these babies were stellar! A must try!
For the main course we tried Nalli Nihari, Murg Makhani, Paneer Lababdar and Dal Bukhara. The Murg Makhani was creamy and rich, just as it should be. However, the vegetarian Paneer Lababdar and Dal Bukhara gave the Murg Makhani a run for its money. The paneer was soft and that decadent lababdar gravy was luscious; together, they played a 'dhinchak' tune on my palate.
The Dal Bukhara was velvety, buttery and finger-lickin’ good! I couldn’t have asked for a better one. My carnivorous mind was a bit dubious about these vegetarian dishes but after tasting them, I believed they were tied with the Murg Makhani at the finishing line.
The Nalli Nihari was mutton braised in sensational gravy to fall-off-the-bone-soft-melt-in-the-mouth texture. The gravy, without a doubt, was exactly how Nihari gravy should be. It had that light sticky texture which clearly indicated that the mutton had been slow cooked for hours; all the flavours from that mutton and those shanks had slowly infused into the gravy, giving it that superb robustness. Sigh!
The mains were served with various naan and parathas. I only ate half a piece of the Peshawari Naan as I was quite stuffed. The naan was yummy even when had by itself. It was buttered and sprinkled with finely chopped almonds. There were absolutely no complaints around the table in regard to the other flat breads (naan/parathas) so I’m guessing they were all just as good as the one I ate.
I truly did believe I was stuffed (snickering greedily) until the servers brought out a bowl of Kachhe Gosht Ki Biryani. It was lightly spiced and fragrant. The meat was well marinated and juicy and this came across as soon as I had the first morsel. Yes, I could not resist the biryani and did eat it. (Sheepish grin)
While we sat content and satiated they brought in desserts: Firni and Kulfi-Rabdi. The firni was different in texture and that is precisely why I loved it. I’m not fond the thick, pasty firni and this one was kept to a light semi-set consistency. For me, this consistency was perfect! The malai kulfi was served with a heavenly rabdi and a sprinkling of chopped almonds and pistachios. What a fantastic end to a marvelous meal.
Having tried their food all I can say is, their food is excellent; don’t miss out on the deliciousness that they so generously serve. I’m definitely going back for more!
I have been saying this to restaurateurs and chefs for years but from now on, I plan to add a paragraph to all my ‘tasting event’ reviews. It will seem a tad repetitive but I’m going to write it, anyway, because I very strongly believe in it. As a person who loves good food (my bane and boon, sigh!), as a food blogger and a restaurant critic, what I love the most, and what I want to see, is a restaurant do well. I believe every passionate restaurateur deserves to succeed in their food ventures. Hence the paragraph!
“Please don’t cook excellent food merely for bloggers and restaurant critics. Every time guests sit at a table, order food and pay money to eat at your establishment, serve them the same fabulous quality of food as you would to bloggers and food critics. Give each guest the same attention you give to bloggers and critics. Rest assured, those guests will come back and they’re sure to recommend and bring more people with them. The day each restaurateur understands this simple concept and follows it, their revenue and ratings are sure to soar.”
Address: C-1, 3rd Floor, The Brahma, Kondhwa Road, Kondhwa, Pune
Tel: +91 9130084817 / +91 9130084819 / 020 30163579
Some more photographs: