The 4th Earl of Sandwich – the epitome of a Legend in his own Lunchtime.  We all know the story from our Great British perspective.  But he wasn’t the only guy to find a convenient way to eat lunch without a plate.  We have seen how the Lebanese do it with their truncheons of deliciousness, the Mexicans with their spicy nappies, the Americans with their hamburgers, the Italians with their pani…. Oh, forget it.  I could go on and on.  What fun is a list?

Indian is the way forwards this lunchtime.  So, what do the Indians use as their sandwich?  Well, India’s a big place, but in Delhi and Bangalore, apparently it is Roti.  It’s a type of unleavened bread, and you can get it wrapped around delicious spicy food.  The guys at Mooli's have turned it into something even more amazing.  Mooli – a slightly inappropriate vegetable.  Let’s just say there are lots of other shops in Soho that sell things with a similar profile that are much less digestible.

They opened in Soho a few years ago and the queues were, quite correctly, very long.  Queues have diminished a bit since then, probably in search of the next big thing.  But the queues are wrong.  This is something that shouldn’t be turned into a passing fad.  This is Indian street food, according to the clever marketing people at Mooli.  It’s authentic.  But most importantly, it’s delicious and it’s bold.  It’s different.  No bandwagons here baby.

Marketing actually doesn’t count for much when you have amazingly tasty food.  Especially if it is named after a vegetable that looks like a bit like a knob. 

Pork , goat, paneer, choices, choices…   I went for a chicken mooli.  A staple of every sandwich was there – lettuce.  After that, well, we are not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Chicken with fenugreek.  Then some potato.  POTATO, in a wrap!  Yes, I know.  These guys don’t care.  They will put pomegranate seeds in with your pork if you’re not careful.  Sorry, I digress, POTATO, in a wrap.  Yoghurt, chickpeas, turnip.  You know what?  This is wild.  You don’t get root vegetables in a sandwich.  Or liquid dairy products.  But like the knob shaped equivalent, this is a wholly inappropriately named mooli.

And it tastes really good.  The roti has enough flavour to get past on its own.  But then the chicken, with its spices, could also probably do that.  No it couldn’t actually.  It’s a bit dry.  Then, like a white knight on a minty horse, in comes the yoghurt, to save your mouth from an arid death of spice.  Turnips crunch, chickpeas (I’m sure I saw some chickpeas in there) hang out, the potato gives it a bit of texture.  Yum.

Not much more to say... except that, actually, yes there is.  I paid a bit extra, and not only did I get a densely stuffed roti of flavour, I also got some dahl (yes, lentils really, but let’s be authentic).  With cardamom seeds I think.   And an elusive curry leaf.  Like some kind of amazingly tasty soupy accompaniment.  Actually, it wasn’t like one.  It was one (I don’t have a word count to reach here).

And the flavours?  Every time you take a bite, new combinations get you.  And they mount up.  And when you finish, you can imagine how good it feels to be slowly marinated with spices.  And even more, you don’t want it to stop.

So mooli, a rude shaped vegetable you might be, but amongst the shops selling ruder things, you should be carving out an empire.

The thing is, last time I went in here, it was almost empty, and there was a notice on the door stating they are moving premises, which I hope isn’t a euphemism.  Please people, don’t let a place like this close from lack of custom.  This is the definition of cosmopolitan.  Make this part of your lunchtime routine.  It’s immense (and as for the pork and pomegranate, well, that’s another story of love….)

Change from a tenner – 3.5

Time out – 35 minutes

Taste – 8.5

Tales of the unexpected - 8

Mooli's on Urbanspoon


21/05/2014 19:04

Sadly, Mooli has closed down now. They said they will still do delivery, but I haven't seen anything. Come on Iqbal Wahhab. Put me out of my misery. Are you still there? I suspect not....


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