Sep 9, 2012

Mumtaz Mahal – Shatti Al Qurum

I originally reviewed Mumtaz Mahal  (Telephone: 24605907 –  Map) five years ago, but I was recently invited by the restaurant to check it out after their renovation in celebration of the Mumtaz Mahal’s 30th anniversary.

Mumtaz Mahal is an upscale Indian restaurant located on the top of the hill behind Qurum Natural Park near the Children Museum. If you are driving from the Royal Opera House towards the Love Lane, you will see a small a sign to the right pointing to the restaurant.

The newly renovated Mumtaz Mahal still has a big dinning area with tables of all sorts and sizes and an area for a traditional Indian live band. There are also tables outside for those who like to enjoy the amazing view from Mumtaz Mal during better times of the year. Mumtaz Mahal also has a banquet hall for special events.

The new look of Mumtaz Mahal is much sleeker and modern than what it used to be and looks really nice, it still has almost the same exact formal feeling and ambiance, and there is even a dress code sign at the door now.

We went on a weekday evening and the place was almost fully occupied, it is recommended that you book a table before you go to ensure that you get a table. The crowd at Mumtaz Mahal was made up mostly of older Indians and other expatriates.

The menu of Mumtaz Mahal is huge with over a 100 items divided between soups, starters, seafood, chicken, lamb, vegetarian dishes, rices, breads, and desserts, and that’s not even including the wine menu. It can be a bit hard to pick what you want from the menu if you are not familiar with Indian food.

For the starter I had a Chicken Saffron Soup (RO 2.400) which was a thin chicken soup with saffron flavoring and turned out to be quite minimalist with tiny chicken shreds at the base of the soup, I thought it was OK, but not mind blowing. My friend had a Prawn Coconut Soup (RO 2.600) which had tiny prawn shreds cooked with coconut milk, my friend was initially disappointed because he expected having actual prawns in his soup, but he ended up finishing the whole thing so I can safely assume that he enjoyed it. After we had our soup we were treated to a small shot of of Rasam lentil broth soup (not pictured) which was not on the menu, but was totally amazing and they should certainly considering putting it as a proper item on the menu.

We also ordered a plate of Chicken 65 (RO 2.800) which had spicy chicken pieces fried with onions, peppers, and chillies. The menu description said that it came with a spicy tomato dip, but we did not get any dips when the item came. I thought that the chicken was done nicely and surprisingly it was not as spicy as thought it would be.

For the main course we ordered a portion of Kadai Lobster (RO 18.000) and Lamb Rogan Josh (RO 5.500) and had it with vegetable biryani (RO 3.800) and naan bread (RO 0.700 each). The lobster turned out to be tandoori lobster (i.e. cooked in a tandoori oven) and then fried in thick masala sauce, while the lamb came in small pieces cooked in a chili curry. I liked them both, the lobster was really nice, but the lamb was surely my favorite – the lamb pieces were really tender, rich in flavor, and not overwhelmingly spicy.

An important think to point out at Mumtaz Mahal is that they will automatically assume that you will share all the food that you order with everyone on your table, so they will bring the food and distribute it straight away on the plates of everyone on your table. If you do not plan on sharing your food with other people on your table you need to make sure you tell them that the moment they bring you your food.

We were encouraged by the waiter to try out the new desserts at Mumtaz Mahal, namely the Strawberry Phirni Brulee (RO 2.600) and the Apricot Shahi Tukda (RO 2.600). The phirni brulee was a chilled rice pudding with strawberry puree, while the shahi tukda turned out to be a fried bread milk desserted topped with apricots. I am not a bit fan of Indian desserts usually because they are a bit too intense for me to handle, but I thought that the Strawberry Phirni Brulee was nice, it was relatively light and the strawberry puree was a nice addition, but the Apricot Shahi Tukda was a bit too rich for me to enjoy.

I thought that the service at Mumtaz Mahal was great, the staff were friendly, informed, and did not hesitate to make educated recommendations on what we should have. Our food took a bit of time to arrive and our juices did not come except after the main courses were served, but that did not spoil our experience at Mumtaz Mahal.

Even after 30 years, Mumtaz Mahal remains one of the best Indian restaurants in town and you can’t wrong with its amazing location and great service.

Have you guys recently been to Mumtaz Mahal after the renovations?