Review of 'Mughli Charcoal Pit'

Being in the area I looked at several web sites about the best place to eat in Manchester's “Curry Mile”. Time and time again “Mughli Charcoal Pit” came up so we decided to give it a go. Parking, as always, was a bit of a challenge in the area but we found a spot a few streets away on the pavement outside of someone's house…

Interior

Cooking Area

The restaurant interior is divided into several sections around the central cooking area with each having a different décor. The vibe here is “street food” so the emphasis is on fun and excitement. The tables are basic with simple but vibrant plastic coverings that are more utilitarian than chic. We visited early on a Saturday night but had no problems getting table. There is a reservation service requiring a cash deposit but they always hold back a percentage of the tables for walk-ins.

The menu was a bit tricky to read in the somewhat dim interior (there are no windows) but after being seated near the front door we started our squinting at the menu but meanwhile we went for the old standby of “papadum & chutneys” (£2 for a basket of papadums plus £2.50 for the chutneys). The delicious papadum were cooked in a fun, crinkly way rather than the traditional flat fashion with the chutneys, though nice, a bit on the boring side, perhaps a bit too traditional?

Papadum and Chutneys

Unhelpfully, the waiter insisted that everything was amazing on the menu so offered no suggestions (though this was a bit tricky to hear as it was a bit noisy). The double-sided menu has food on the one side divided into “Snacks + Dips”, “Pakora Fried”, “Street Chaat”, “Charcoal Pit”, “Curry” and “Sides” while the drink side is divided into “Soda & Softs”, “Beers & Co.”, “Wines”, “Cocktails”, “Spirits” and “Sweet Treats” (deserts). The menu helpfully suggests ordering “one or more dishes from each section to share between two guests” and indicates that curries arrive with ordered sides but all other dishes arrive when they are ready. There are the traditional dishes like “Butter Chicken”, “Bhaji” and “Chicken Tikka Masala” on the menu but all seem to have been given a bit of a twist. There are also a good number of more unusual dishes that really stand out such as the “Bun Kebabs” (chicken kebab burgers with fresh Indian salad toppings) and the chaat (which is rarely seen in the UK). We took the menu's advice and ordered a few different items that, true to their promise, arrived at different points during our visit.

Mango Lassi

For drinks we settled on “Mango Lassi” (£3) which was absolutely delicious - Not too yoghurt-y but quite a lot of mango flavour which meant it was great as a calming force with some of the heat of the dishes that were to come. Tap water is served chilled in large pitchers as well.

Gol Gappay

Sadly the “Tikki tikki chaat” (£6.50) was not available so we made do with the “Gol Gappay” (“Pani Puri” on the bill, this is “crisp puri shells served w. a masala beets chaat drenched in imli pani w. pomegranate 7 sev”). These were delightful with the delicate puri globes pierced then filled with the spicy (hot) vegetarian filling. A bit messy to eat, but very tasty indeed.

Bun Kebab

The “Bun Kebab” (£3.30 each, minimum of two per order, “flame-grilled, chilli-glazed minced chicken burger, toasted brioche bun, spinach, tomato, mint yoghurt & pickled salad”) were also delicious with the meat juicy and flavoursome accompanied by the wonderfully fresh salad topping. Basically, an Indian “slider”. These were gone in no time.

Okra Fries

The “Okra Fries” (£5, from the “Pakora Fry” section of the menu, “crispy lady fingers coated in a light 'amchoor' batter) were cooked to perfection with a thick and crispy batter bathing the still crispy okra though this was all a bit tasteless despite the addition of fresh herbs.

Biryani and Sides

For our main we went with a more traditional “desi lamb and potato” “Biryani” (£14, from the “Curry” section, “an indian 'paella' - aromatic basmati rice sealed & steamed under a dough crust” plus £1 for an additional “cumin raita”) which took quite some time to arrive but it was worth the wait. The filling was deliciously flavoursome - The meat perfectly tender and deliciously spiced, with the rice fluffy and filling. Even the crust topping used for cooking had cumin it in it so was quite good to eat as well.

Peshwari Naan

On the side we had one of my favourites: “Peshwari Naan” (£3.80, from the “Sides” section) which was perfectly cooked - Not soggy - But also not over-filled with only a small amount of sweet nuts inside. It was a large portion that we easily shared between the two of us.

At the end of our meal we had no room for desserts though this menu section is a bit meagre with only “Honeycombe Ice Cream” and the ultra-sweet honey drenched “Gulab Jamun” on offer (they also offer a red velvet cookie with ice cream).

The entire bill came to £48.90 without tip (we were not asked to add either) which we felt was a good deal considering not only the wonderful quality of the food but also the sheer quantity. Sadly, the service was a bit off-hand with our noticing that the staff were much friendlier to larger groups than to ourselves tucked away in the corner. Though abrupt, the service was efficient.

Mural

So, generally, a really good meal on the curry mile that departs somewhat from the traditional and delivers great-tasting, reasonably priced, food. Our service was not great and the fun, vibrant interior was often quite noisy but the food really speaks for itself.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-08-07


Cuisine: Indian

Address: 30 Wilmslow Rd, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5TQ ENGLAND

Location: Manchester (England) - Curry Mile

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 161 248 0900

URL: https://www.mughli.com/