Mowgli in Nottingham has been on the cards for a while and last week it finally opened. Located in Hockley at 1 Stoney Street (The big pink building on the corner opposite Void and across the road from Ice Nine) it is a three storey building standing out from the crowd. Would Hockley, known for fantastic restaurants and quirky night life spots, be the right fit for this little piece of India….?
Described on the Mowgli website as
‘Not about the intimate, hushed dining experience. It is about the smash and grab zing or healthy, light, virtosic herbs and spices’
I had no idea what to expect. I had seen the pictures flying around twitter of the fact that they has swings… yes SWINGS… instead of some of their chairs, especially near to the window, and I made it my mission to do anything I needed to, to get one.
Myself and a friend rocked up there on Friday night at 7pm to be told that there was a 45 minute wait on a table. Mowgli don’t accept bookings, it is a first come, first served kinda basis, but if you leave your number and pop elsewhere for a drink, the staff will call you if an earlier table becomes available.
Friday was a warm (very warm) evening and the huge windows at the front of the building were open, enabling me to see the swing chairs in all their glory. My god they were cool. As we walked back up to the restaurant after popping nearby for a drink, I spied that the front table was becoming vacant. There was a definite skip in my step as I hurried the last few paces back to Mowgli, turned my smile to 100w (probably looked a bit psychotic after a few gins) and would have got down on my hands and knees for a swing seat. Thankfully the manager was more than happy to put me at the front of the restaurant and as far away as possible from her! Ha… I mean, I am joking but I bet she was happy when the chain fixing my swing to the floor came apart and I was swinging freely! I was as happy as a pig in the proverbial!
Anyhoo… we ordered drinks and perused the menu, opting for lots of little bites and sharing rather than the alternative. We were told that dishes will arrive as soon as they are ready, similar to tapas, which is great for me. I didn’t really want to wait as I was so excited… So what did we order, and what did we think?
Yoghurt Chat Bombs – Described as ‘The heart of Mowgli. Crisp bread puffs filled with chickpeas, spiced yoghurt, tamarind & coriander.’ Jesus Christ if I could marry these bad boys I would. They were amazing! They were crunchy on the outside and when you bit into them they burst in my mouth with an explosion of flavour. Delicious.
Treacle Tamarind Fries – Described as ‘The only lip smacking, spiced treacle, tamarind slicked fries on the planet. So wrong… but so right’ these super sweet, kind of BBQ flavoured fried potatoes should have been gross. They were incredible. it really shouldn’t have worked, like pouring treacle on your roast potatoes but they were amazing. Please order them, you wont regret it!
– ‘Succulent chicken thighs marinated & roasted in tandoor spices, yoghurt, ginger & garlic, served with popped mustard Mowgli Slaw’ this chicken dish was mildly spiced but it didn’t lack flavour. It was perfectly cooked and juicy. I didn’t try the slaw as I was too busy funnelling the tamarind fries into face though so I cant comment on that!
Maa’s lamb chops & turmeric chips – ‘Marinated in aromatic spiced yoghurt, ginger & garlic with tomato coriander & mint chutney’ This was the surprise of the night for me. For one good reason and one really bad one. Three decent sized lamb chops arrived and we tucked in straight away. The first two were stunning. Perfectly cooked with a hint of pink, minty and the fat was crisp and delicious. Then disaster struck. Gaz bit into the third and final one and although it was nice and charred on the outside, it was perfectly raw inside. Unfortunately he has already swallowed it by the time we realised but it kind of put me off a little to be honest. Yes it was slightly thicker than the other chops, so it would have needed more time, and this should really have been taken into account. But moving on…
At this point, we did mention to the manager that the food was raw, it was removed and taken off the bill. However at this point we then ordered another round of drinks from our waitress, which we then waited just over 25 minutes for. Also, something must have happened in the kitchen as food had been coming to the table pretty swiftly up until now, however we then waited 45 minutes for the next bits to come out.
The Hindu Kitchen
Temple Dahl – ‘The ultimate Indian home comfort food. Red lentil simmered with toasted cumin, coriander & lemon’ I loved the taste of this dahl, however it was very smooth and I do like my curries to have a bit more texture to them. No complaints about the taste though, very fresh and great for the hot weather!
The House Kitchen
Mowgli House Keema – ‘Succulent ground lamb, roast cumin, cloves, peas, cinnamon, nutmeg, tomatoes & pulses simmered for hours to create a darkly rich & heady dish’ This was sent to us accidently (we ordered the house lamb curry) and if I am honest, I wasn’t keen. I am not a fan of the texture of keema and although the spices were generous on the meat, it just was never going to tick any boxes for me.
House Lamb Curry – ‘Falling apart & long simmered with anise, plums, chickpeas, this is my Dad’s recipe. A deep, rich, home kitchen gem’ This was my favourite curry of the evening. The lamb was literally melt in your mouth fantastic, and reminded me of slow cooked lamb. I could eat this all day long.
Mother Butter Chicken – Chicken Tikka Masala does not exist in India; Butter chicken is the real, Mother’s kitchen, deal. The Tandoori chicken chunks were moist and sucked up the rich, thick tomato and yoghurt sauce. I would definitely have this again!
Overall the food was really tasty and great value. For all of this and 2 G&T and two glasses of wine, the bill came to just over £60. However unfortunately the service needed improvement. I understand that they are still finding their feet, however we waited nearly 30 minutes for drinks and the food order was a little messed up.
Another thing to consider is that although Mowgli have high chairs for children, they don’t have a changing mat for parents. This is a shame as I think it will draw the lunch time mum crowd. Also there is no disabled access.