FAST FOOD PART TWO: MOOLI
Let me think of all the reasons why I should have disliked Mooli
1) I was still digesting the slightly depressing Byron burger I had eaten just ten minutes before and was not in the best of moods.
2) It is obviously a place, which has been created with the words “Roll Out” stamped all over it. Always something which makes me wary.
3) It just served wraps. They may been getting all Indian on our arses with talk of Bengali Panch Phoron, tamarind chutney and homemade roti, but they were still going to serve me a wrap and one of them, I shuddered as I noticed, contained lettuce and apple.
4) Their menu carries the words “Zesty Salsa” two words, which should only ever be used together on American infomercials for hand blenders and not when making my lunch.
And yet, when I squeezed past a young man offering samples of lassi to passers by, the smells coming from the kitchen made me think that it might just be OK after all. The menu is short and to the point. It contains a handful of wraps, I mean Mooli, some puddings including Kulfi, soft drinks and a list of alcoholic drinks, which I imagine are more to slake the thirst of the late night clubbing crowd than the lunchtime take away queue already forming when I arrived. Service is efficient and very friendly and judging by the conversations one of the owners (?) was having with a customer in front of me, they are already gathering a loyal lunchtime crowd.
Not being able to face more red meat after my hamburger, I turned down the opportunity to try the Keralan Beef or Goan Pork options in favour one containing chicken, which came as part of a meal deal. For £5 I was presented with roasted popadums (which I declined) a small beaker of Mango Lassi and a large Mooli.
The lassi was excellent stuff, creamy, thick and delicious tasting fresh and full of fruit. The foil twist containing the Mooli was of impressive proportions and opened to release a pleasing whiff of spices. The warm roti needed more colour for eye appeal, but was well made, light enough not to sit like stone in your stomach later, but doughy enough to soak up the juices from the filling.
The Mooli was a bit sparsely populated by the main ingredient, but what chicken there was, was moist and its spicing subtle. Perhaps a little too subtle and the killer was lost beneath the filler of a slightly incongruous salad containing lettuce and apple. Fortunately, they also offer complimentary tubs of sauces to spice up your meal and mine was much improved by the removal of some of the excess lettuce and apple (lettuce and apple, really?) and the liberal addition of a fiery chill coriander chutney.
Although the room is not unpleasant this is not really somewhere to linger over a meal and five minutes later I was back on Frith St a feeling a whole lot happier than when I left Byron. It is not going to change the world, but as a place to drop into for a quick bite at lunchtime ( or in my case second lunchtime ) Mooli offers a fresh and welcome addition to an already crowded market.
They’ll do very well.