Mowgli restaurant, Manchester review, street food in the city

November 10, 2019


Indian street food selection at Mowgli Manchester

Little sis and I snuck out for a baby-free lunch in Manchester City centre. And honestly, a couple of hours of eating slowly, ordering anything without thinking about baby-friendly foods/allergies and having an uninterrupted conversation was good for my soul.

We initially were going to head to Vapiano (I’ve reviewed the London branch here), but instead we opted for Indian street food at Mowgli restaurant, which was nestled nearby in the Manchester’s Corn Exchange.

Now if you’ve read my restaurant reviews, you’ll know that if there’s an option of Indian street food, I am all over it. The small tapas-style bites, and the heady mix of sweet, savoury and tangy all in one hit is hard to resist. In fact, I’ve written at length about the best street food in London here.

And as I’ve had my fair share of Indian street food outside of India (and a street for that matter), I’m pretty well placed to review Mowgli.

Decor at Mowgli

Mowgli is an instagrammers dream, with its fairy light adorned booths and traditional tiffin serving dishes. Sadly, it was so busy that sis and I had to make do with less aesthetic outdoor seating, but you can’t have it all.

Mowgli restaurant review – ordering etiquette

In typical street food style, Mowgli serves up the dishes as they’re ready, so there’s no starters-followed-by-mains-etiquette.

Each dish is small, so you’re expected to order five or six dishes between two people.

So here’s what we ate at Mowgli restaurant

Gol guppa or Pani puri

We started with gol guppa, crisp fried balls filled with chickpeas and laced with tamarind sauce.

Now I love gol guppa. I’m literally obsessed. I’ve made it at home, and was first introduced to it by my Pakistani flatmate at uni. So make no mistake, if it’s on the menu, I’m ordering it.

Mowgli’s version was tasty, but not quite as authentic as the gol guppa I’ve had in Chawallas.

Gol guppa aficionados will know that it’s all about the chickpeas and tamarind. But Mowgli was scant on both, and instead each ball was loaded up with sweet yoghurt. Now don’t get me wrong, it was tasty, and I love yoghurt, but it didn’t pack the tangy punch I was expecting.

Chilli cheese toast on a silver plate

Second round was chilli cheese toast. This was delicious, and on a par with Dishoom’s version. I’ve tried to recreate this at home but never had much success. Who knew cheese on toast with a bit of chilli was such an art?

I was less enamoured with the crispy crumb chicken. It was too… erm… crispy for me. But if crumbly coating is your thing, it’s worth a try.

The open chicken wrap fared better. Though I prefer my chicken without the skin, it was a nicely laced with tamarind and yoghurt and the roti added a necessary carb hit.

The lamb chops with potatoes was also a hit for me. Though the lamb was a little chewy (as most lamb chops are), combined with the potatoes, it was one of the more filling dishes.

Too crispy spicy chicken

Monkfish – the dark horse (or should that be fish?)

Monkfish curry in tamarind sauce

Finally, the monkfish curry was delicious. The meaty fish, simmered in a think, tangy and indulgent sauce was possibly the best dish of all. And it was the one that nearly got away, as I rarely order fish.

We washed this down with a mango lassi, which wasn’t as sweet as the fabled Tayyabs version in London (I suspect it had a tonne less sugar), but it was tasty nonetheless.

So the dishes I would wholeheartedly recommend are the lamb with potatoes, the chilli cheese and the fish curry.

Lassi is optional, but it’s worth noting, after all those dishes and a creamy mango lassi, we were stuffed until our stomachs hurt.

So overall, I’d say if you’re in the city and craving street food, Mowgli is worth a look. But one thing I would note is that it’s not the cheapest of options. Our bill came up to over £50, so you are very much paying city centre prices for street vendor food. Albeit in a prettier surrounding.

Mowgli restaurant review in a nutshell…

Price – all dishes between £6 and £10.

Halal – yes

Great if… you want to share lots of small plates rather than one big dish.

Not so great if… you’re after a totally authentic Indian street food experience, or you want to pay Delhi food stall prices.


About the Author


I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.

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