January Date Night Feat. Mowgli Restaurant Review

Hello, hello, hellooo!!

I hope you’re all doing well and looking forward to the week ahead! How, just HOW, is it February already?? Where did January go?! Crazy!

So you may remember that the other weekend my bestie came to stay and we had a girly evening followed by Afternoon Tea at Neighbourhood.

Well, Caz had to jet off after our lovely afternoon because she had a date back in Leeds – yeah you’re thinking whit whooo right?! Don’t get excited, it turns about he’s got a girlfriend – the f****r!! We spent most of Sunday social media stalking and doing standard girl detective work (Phil even got involved too, I swear he can be such a girl sometimes!) in between calls and screenshots sent to each other – you know the drill ladies!

Butttttt the night before girlfriend-gate, Saturday night, Phil and I had an impromptu date night (remember my relationship-based New Year’s resolution!!?)  and decided to head out in to Manchester for some dinner at this cool little restaurant he had seen online followed by some drinks. I thought I’d give you all a little review of the restaurant as it isn’t somewhere I had been before but I really enjoyed it and think it’s somewhere a lot of people would enjoy too! Also it might give some of you some Valentine’s dinner inspo.

So Mowgli (yes, named the same as the kid out of the Jungle Book!) is an Indian restaurant with a difference; they call it “Indian Street Food”. I haven’t been to India but I have heard that apparently the “Indian” cuisine we have in England and the curries we associate with India are not actually the norm within Indian culture. Now, I’m a massive fan of “Indian” food (English-Indian is probably more accurate), curries and spicy dishes and I’m always up for trying new things – so when Phil emailed me the link to the Mowgli website on Friday afternoon I was pretty intrigued.

Part of the Mowgli mantra is “Indian food, unplugged”. The idea behind the restaurant is to demonstrate the types of food that Indian people eat at home and on the streets – hence “street food”. So, whereas in the UK when we order an Indian takeaway we might get a curry each, some rice and naan bread (and if you’re a fatty like me then some onion bahjis and Sag Aloo too!), in Indian culture they have a big variety of small curry dishes and some sides (breads, potatoes, chicken pieces etc) and each person has a little bit of everything rather than a mountain of curry.

In our house, our Chinese takeaway order is so big it feeds us for a few days purely because I can’t settle for one thing so we order everything! I am the WORST at making decisions or choosing something, especially when it comes to food so I LOVE a buffet or any place where I can have a bit of everything! Wahaca, which is Mexican street food, is one of my fave restaurants because of the wide range of options we can get without breaking the bank – street food/tapas style food is perfect for me. Enter Mowgli – Indian food heaven!

There is a wide range of curries on the menu, including plenty of veggie options, and they all come in friendly sized portions meaning that you can have a good selection of them between two of you and not walk out of the restaurant with a doggy bag the size of your suitcase! There’s also a good range of starters/sides which, unless you are familiar with traditional Indian cuisine, you may not generally associate with Indian food. I could hear one of the girls in the booth behind me talking about her experience travelling in India and that Mowgli is the only restaurant brand in England that she has found that offers such traditional, un-westernised, Indian food!

To start we had the Gunpowder Chicken (which wasn’t as spicy as it sounds don’t worry) and the Treacle Tamarind Fries which were potentially the sexiest thing I have ever eaten!! The chicken was really delicious, lots of flavour and the perfect amount of spice – really got our palettes ready for the curries. The potatoes were the perfect mix of sweet and savoury and the flavours were just out of this world insane – this is a recipe I NEED to find!!

Next we ordered the Mowgli Paneer (left dish, soft cheese), Mowgli Lamb Keema (top dish), House Chicken Curry (bottom dish) and the Agra Ginger Chicken (right dish).  We also ordered basmati rice each, the Rooti bread (basically a wrap) and Puri bread (a fried flatbread).

The spices and flavours in all of the curries were so strong without being overpowering – no bland milky curries here – and the variety of flavours made the meal really enjoyable as your taste buds were constantly being entertained with different things. Phil didn’t really like the Paneer as he wasn’t a fan of the cheese element in the curry but I loved it, so different to anything I have ever eaten. I wasn’t a massive fan of the Agra Ginger Chicken as the meat was pretty dry, almost like it had been slow cooked in the sauce and had gotten that dry texture to it that chicken gets when it’s overcooked. But the Lamb Keema and House Curry were AMAZNG!! The Lamb was pretty spicy so having the House Curry to accompany it made the combo perfect together. The rice and different breads also added another element to the meal as the Rooti (wrap) was very smooth and not too filling whereas the Puri was fried and full of texture so a mouthful of the same curry was different depending on the companion it was with.

The décor of the restaurant was really cool and hip – the seats were wooden benches and they had fairy lights, rope partitioning between the booths, copper lighting cages, rope stairs and a mirror effect arch. The waiting staff were really friendly, the guy we had serving us offered us advice on each dish, how much we should order in total which was really helpful as it was our first time at the restaurant and we didn’t completely know what to expect.

After dinner we went to Banyan Bar and Kitchen for some cocktails which were really yummy – they have such a good range of cocktails and plenty of gin options (my fave!). I actually had a vodka based cocktail for once as I fancied the Berry Collins which was really tasty and the fruity taste of the berries completely covered the taste of vodka which I’m not a big fan of so that was great for me! Phil had a Gin Garden – I’ve definitely converted him to the gin fan club lately! – which was also yummy but not as sweet as my berry one. Banyan is a really cool bar, they offer food too and the menu looked pretty awesome, definitely have to add it to the list of restaurants I want to try!

All in all is was a fab night with amazing food, yummy cocktails and, of course, awesome company!

What’s your favourite restaurant/date night spot – any recommendations for me?

Lots of love

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