The original Moti Mahal
by Annalisa Merelli
19 February 2010
3703, Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryaganj, Delhi
Ph.: +91.11.2327.3011, +91.11.2327.3661
The first rule of Moti Mahal is - Moti Mahal has no other branch. Which means distrust the inviting Moti Mahal Delux signs in South Delhi: the only way to get authentic Moti Mahal's food is going all the way to Darya Ganj.
Which is just fine: they serve the best butter chicken (they invented it, if you go by the legend), and that alone is well worth the drive. But the wonders of Moti Mahal don't end there: you can practically pick anything from the menu and it will be delicious. The tandoori dishes are tender and tasty, but not too spicy, and if meat is definitely Moti Mahal's speciality, even their daal and gobhi will be polished off the table just ask quickly as the chicken.
To the incredible food, add the atmosphere: a fountain in the neon-lit courtyard, plastic chairs but flowers on each table, precarious toilets but a stage for live music, which is normally bad to the point that it's entertaining.
The service is quick and oh, so attentive: the waiters will push you to have more and more food ("a little bit, take a little bit more"), just like your Indian grandma would do, and demand that you take pictures of them holding the giant family-size naan - which is priceless.
All in all - butter chicken, tandoori delights, family naan and atmosphere - Moti Mahal is one of those places that cannot disappoint you. And in fact, it never does.