Many years ago, when I was 8 years old, my mum and dad took us out of school for 3 months to see the majestic sights of India. It was mostly amazing, all that colour and history, with some boring bits thrown in (like seeing the Taj Mahal….”it’s so boring, can we go now?”. I really must go back there!). One of the best things I recall about it is the amazing street food. There is just so much of it out there, and if you want to see the sheer variety they have, you should sit on YouTube and watch the Food Rangers series on street food. You will probably lose about two hours of your life just drooling over it all. Alas, my parents wouldn’t let us try ALL the street food for fear of making us ill. These days, my eyes light up when I find a restaurant authentic Indian street food. Mowgli is one of those places I’ve wanted to go for ages but kept putting off because “well, it’s street food and I’m really hungry”.
We finally made it to the Manchester one in the Corn exchange on Mothers Day, looking all confused and fresh faced about what to do and how to order.
The staff are really friendly and guide you through the various menus. There is street food chat, Street meats, the Hindu kitchen, and the House kitchen. It dawned on me as she was going through it that I really didn’t need to worry about being hungry by the end of it! Our host suggested picking two or three dishes each and sharing it all and it’s all brought out in whatever order its ready so you have a steady stream of food coming your way. We decided to go for the Chaat bombs, Gunpowder chicken, Himalayan cheese toastie, Maa’s lamp chops and the Bunny chow.
I love the way all the food was served in little silver tiffin boxes and Indian silver platters. The couple next to us opted for the stacked tiffin box where you get 4 tiers of meat and veg. You get chef’s choice so its pot luck what arrives in front of you but it looks very nice. I really wanted to lean over and ask if I could take a picture, but obviously that would have been a bit rude, and I was really hungry so I had to stop staring.
Our own starters were delicious. The chaat bombs were little pastry balls, filled with chickpeas, spiced yoghurt and tamarind sauce. The right mix of tangy tamarind with the cool yoghurt is always what makes these so moreish and you could just keep eating them for quite some time. You get 5, which means you have to politely offer the last one to your partner in the hope they say no, ha!
The gunpowder chicken was an interesting recipe and I wasn’t expecting the hint of tamarind in it but it does work really well and it’s something my mum would have scrutinised to see if she could make it at home. The lamp chops are served on top of diced and spiced potatoes and they were cooked just right.
I think I was a bit disappointed with the Himalayan cheese toastie as I think it was overdone and I dimly didn’t think to ask for another. It didn’t matter too much as we had so much other food but I would have liked to have tried it properly.
The Bunny chow is something I’ve read about over the years and wanted to try. It’s a famous South African curry served in a hollow out bread loaf that the Indian plantation workers would take as a packed lunch. We had a tomato based hot chicken curry but there is a vegetarian option too if don’t fancy the meat. This dish is huge and big enough to share. I was really tempted to get one more house dish but then was glad I didn’t when I saw how the curry was spilling out of the loaf. Definitely worth a try!
Overall I was really impressed with the quality of the food. It’s all very well made and tastes really good. There is a huge burst of flavour in everything and I would describe it as “proper Indian food”. So many places aren’t and its hard to find good wholesome indian food sometimes that isn’t swimming in ghee or oil. I’m definitely going to go back and try the other things on the menu. They have plenty of vegetarian, vegan free and halal options so it’s a well catered menu and the atmosphere is a relaxed and kid friendly one. The flagship restaurant is in Liverpool and they are going to open one in Leeds in the Autumn (which my other half will be very pleased about) and one in Cardiff next year.