When a friend asked me for some recommendations about where to go for a nice meal out for her birthday, I suggested a handful of places and she decided on Mowgli. I’d visited the restaurant a couple of times before (despite never getting round to reviewing it) and loved everything about it, so was definitely on board with her decision! Arriving at the restaurant in the evening, the atmosphere was gorgeous, as we were seated on little wooden swing seats surrounded by fairy lights. The food, while great quality, is very reasonably priced, and Mowgli have put customer experience at front of mind, with an allergen menu provided on a clipboard with the menu as standard – handy for the birthday girl, who is currently on a low-FODMAP diet.
Between us there were a couple of items ordered from the street food section of the menu, which came out first. My friend Amy’s Bhel Puri was a rather large pot of puffed rice, with a hint of peanut. It was topped with gram threads, adding another interesting texture and a slight curried flavour. The dish had a sprinkling of coriander and small chilli slices on top but sadly it was a bit of an uninspiring start to the meal, with the flavours just lacking something. We felt it could’ve had something added so it was less dry, as it was kind of like a crunchy, savoury cereal without any milk.
Amy also ordered the tamarind fries, which did not come out how I expected! Cubes of potato in a thick and sticky sauce. I probably wouldn’t call them fries as the potato didn’t have much crispness to them, but they were very tasty. With the sweet treacle flavour of the sauce and the ample portion it felt like quite an indulgent dish.
I’d ordered the vegan Indian School Tiffin for myself. This is an ideal option for someone like me who isn’t a fussy eater but is very bad at making decisions – they decide for you what mixture of veggie curries and carbs you’re going to get. Confident that everything would be delicious, I don’t mind that at all, as it’s also a great value option compared to ordering four tapas style dishes separately at £14. The presentation is fun with the traditional stack of metal bowls, placed down in front of you to reveal each menu item you’ve been served one by one. The first curry I scooped onto my plate was the tea-steeped chickpeas. Stewed in a Darjeeling tomato sauce, this curry had a real kick to it, but not so much that you couldn’t taste the interesting flavours coming through. I liked the bite from the chickpeas adding a bit more texture to my plate too.
I also had the red lentil temple dahl, definitely my favourite thing I ate at Mowgli. It had that deliciously comforting creamy texture, a mild heat, and I could eat bowls of the stuff. The lentils were simmered with aromatic cumin and coriander and it seems like a simple, staple dish, but it is executed wonderfully.
The last of my curries was the picnic potato curry. It had a slightly bitter tang to it, again tomatoey, but with fenugreek and Bengali Five Spice. The potato was soft to bite into but now over-cooked into a mush. Potato isn’t my favourite thing to eat and I felt I would’ve liked a bit more veg or greens in my meal as it was very starchy carb heavy, but that’s the luck of the draw with ordering a meal like this, and it was all very tasty none the less. As you’d expect, everything was served with a perfectly fluffy, comforting bowl of ample basmati rice. I just wish I could cook rice like this at home! It soaked up all the sauces and was a delight to eat.
We were so full after the abundance we’d eaten, so we didn’t look at the dessert menu. I note there’s only one vegan option, a watermelon sorbet, and frankly I wouldn’t waste the calories on that if you have the room to enjoy another bowl of savoury goodness instead! I would definitely recommend Mowgli Street Food to anyone who hasn’t yet been able to visit. They have separate vegan and gluten free menus, making it an easy place to go if your party has a mixture of dietary requirements. Everything is very reasonably priced, and the service we received was excellent. On the whole a great evening enjoyed by all and I hope to go back many more times and enjoy some of the other options on the menu!