Moti Mahal showcases Ani’s passion for food

January 2, 2013 No Comments

49 (1)Moti Mahal is one of London’s best known Indian restaurants, situated in the heart of London’s West End close to the tourist centre of Covent Garden and theatreland. The restaurant’s main dining room of offers a view into the kitchen where chef Anirudh Arora’s creates menus inspired by his life-long passion for the cuisines of India’s Grand Trunk Road.
Nostalgic favourites served at Moti Mahal include bhalla papadi chaat a teatime dish popular in the streets of North India featuring crisp-fried pastry and chickpeas with a tamarind and mint chutney. The current menu celebrates the festivals of the Grand Trunk Road, from Syrian Christian events to major public holidays. True to Indian custom, there is no distinction between starters and main; instead, dishes are delivered in fluid succession as they are prepared.
Born and raised primarily in Delhi, Ani travelled all around India as a child visiting his army officer father. These journeys bought Ani into contact with Indian cuisine from across the country, and this started his interest in food and cooking. Once Ani finished his schooling in Delhi he moved to Lucknow and began his training at the Institute of Hotel Management, one of India’s most prestigious catering schools.
From there Ani was chosen to be one of 15 students – out of 100,000 applicants – to become a trainee at the Oberoi Hotel Group’s’ Centre of Learning Development. It was here that Ani perfected his culinary skills and learnt the intricacies of Indian cuisine.

After graduation Ani was one of the founding chefs at the Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, where he remained for two and a half years before moving to London in 2003, working as the Sous Chef at Benares in Berkeley Square. In 2005, Ani became Head Chef at Moti Mahal where he now runs a kitchen of eight staff and creates what are described as ‘distinctive recipes which are displayed in an elegant European style’.

Ani is keen to pass on the things he has learned and regularly leads cookery classes for up to 11 guests in his kitchen. He also offers a Spice Blending Masterclasses where he shares his expert tips and advice on how to mix spices to create authentic Indian dishes. More information about these can be found on the website: (4)

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