Wednesday, 17 March 2010
I have made my thoughts on the burrito clear. Bah, humbug. I have, despondently, hung up my sombrero. But the time has come to cast my greedy eye over the latest London street food craze - the "mooli" of Mooli's.
A mooli was a giant Japanese radish. Now, on the streets of Soho at least, it is an Indian roti wrap housing a range of meats or vegetables with Indian spices, salad and chutneys. Mooli's sells 6 different types of moolis (the wrap type, not the radish type) - chicken, asparagus, paneer, beef, pork and now goat. I slowly but surely got myself on the case.
I was the first in the door one mid week lunchtime (lunch before 12pm, anyone?), and was greeted by the genuine happy and helpful friendliness for which Mooli's is already developing quite the reputation. The man, who I later found out to be Sam, guided me through a few moments of scatty indecision (beef or pork, beef or pork?) by suggesting I kick off my Mooli experience with the beef variety. Done.
While the beef mooli is normally £3.95, I upsized to the mooli madness meal (my term, in case of doubt) for £5 - mooli, lassi and a bag of roasted poppadoms with a tub of spicy tomato sauce.
The roti is doughey and warm, while the Keralan beef is braised with a subtle hit of southern Indian (Malabar) spices and coconut, and topped with green salad and a cucumber raita (seasoned yoghurt sauce). The beef is lovely - tasty and tender. Although the spices are demure and some might prefer them spiced up somewhat, they add a definite flavour. The meat is, however, a tad scanty and I almost had to go back for a second.
The Goan pork mooli is, apparently, a spicier option and I certainly enjoyed my beef mooli enough to be looking forward to a return visit to try this one out.
The roasted poppadoms were fine - neither here nor there for me - but the lassi was excellent - big on mango fruitiness, tangy, thick and creamy, just as a lassi should be.
I returned again this week to take away a goat mooli, which I ate sitting in the Springtime sunshine at Soho Square, dodging randomly falling bird poo and stray drug addicts in the process. The goat mooli was much bigger and meatier than its little beef brother. At £5, it costs a bit more, but dealt a swift knock out blow to any hunger pangs.
Big chunks of tender goat meat (again, braised over several hours) were at times overflowing among the mix of roast vegetables and tasty spices. There may have been one too many chunks of potato and bits of chopped red onion, but all in all the goat mooli is a fine addition to your eating-on-the-hoof options in Soho. It's a full Indian meal, cooked nicely, wrapped up in a warm roti blanket. I like it.
The Mooli's fit out is bright and basic - it's more a fast food joint than anything else, but food is made fresh and, it seems, with pride. If it comes down to a burrito or a mooli, make mine a mooli. Over and out.
Mooli's, 50 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4