There has been a slew of new businesses opening underneath the new Alliance Manchester Business School on Oxford Road. Utility Design, Pret a Manger, Takk, Friska, Blackwells, Loungers, Brewdog and Mowgli. Now, I’ve heard of Mowgli in the Manchester scene as there is one in the Corn Exchange. Keen to try a place with good recommendations, I decided the perfect time would be when meeting up with Emma (of What Emma Did), as she happened to be nearby that day.
You can see the interior of this branch of Mowgli from its large glass windows which span the entire height of the restaurant. A fake white tree stands in the middle which is really the star of the show. Wood furniture, some shaped into swings (don’t worry, these are chained down), adorn the floor space and plenty of fairy lights everywhere to make you think you’re in a magical world.
Mowgli’s menu is structured into several small dishes. If you’ve ever had tapas or dim sum, you’ll be familiar with this format. Each person orders 2 or 3 dishes and traditionally, you would share all the plates so that you’d get a taste of everything that’s on the table. Think of it like a roast dinner.
There are two items which are larger and can be considered to be a traditional main dish. These are the Holy Chow and the Bunny Chow, which are each served in a loaf of bread. This is also one of two locations where they serve brunch (the other being Liverpool Bold St), from 10am – 12 noon. An express lunch menu is also available for anyone working nearby wanting a speedy but tasty meal. These run from 12 noon – 5pm and cost £9.95 for two curry tiffins and two rice.
Mowgli caters to dietary requirement, with a gluten-free menu and vegan menu available on request as well as an allergen sheet. You can check these in advance of your visit by going to their website.
So with the menu being small plates, I asked Emma if she did the food sharing thing. She did! With that resolved, we decided we’d get two items from the Street Chaat section and then two others with rice. Our choices were:
- Yoghurt Chaat Bombs
- Treacle Tamarind Fries
- Tea Steeped Chickpeas
- Mother Butter Chicken
- Mowgli Basmati Rice
The Yoghurt Chaat Bombs were chosen first. I’ve had similar at Zouk and wanted to try these again. These are crisp bread puffs filled with chickpeas, spiced yoghurt, tamarind and coriander. Our waiter advised that we take one and consume it whole, as otherwise, it can get messy. I would strongly recommend you do this too. These can be made vegan.
I chose the Treacle Tamarind Fries as I’ve heard this is a favourite for some. I’m not fond of raw onions, so navigated around these. The name describes the flavours perfectly, although I would question the term “fries” as these were more cube-shaped. I knew these would be sweet, but these ultimately proved too sweet for my liking over the course of the meal. I’d probably avoid this if you don’t absolutely love treacle. These are vegan.
Next was the Tea Steeped Chickpeas. The chickpeas are simmered in a Darjeeling tea, spiced tomato and spinach sauce. Definitely moreish and vegan too! The Mother Butter Chicken is a classic dish made with Tandoori chicken simmered in a spiced, sweet tomato and yoghurt sauce, finished with some butter. The basmati rice, seasoned with black cardamom and cumin, complimented both well.
Overall rating and comments
8.5/10, -1 for the treacle tamarind fries, far too sweet for my liking. -0.5 for the “fries” naming. Mowgli is a bit on the expensive side, but I feel like the restaurant chain delivers good quality food. They do add a discretionary £1 to each bill to fund local charities. Founder, Nisha Katona, continually participates in charity events as well.
Will visit again?
Yes, but bearing the price in mind; you are roughly paying £11 – £16 for 2-3 plates. Not for a casual lunch.
Address: Unit 1, university green, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9GP