Mowgli is the first restaurant from ‘curry evangelist’ Nisha Katona, a barrister who runs a successful YouTube cooking channel and will publish her first cookbook ‘Pimp my rice’ next year.
The first site opened in Liverpool six weeks ago, featuring a stripped back Scandinavian design and serving what Katona describes as ‘authentic’ Indian food.
“The aim with Mowgli was to take people into an Indian home kitchen and give them the kind of food Indians actually eat, which is the antithesis of curry-house fare,” she told BigHospitality.
After a successful few weeks trading Katona is already looking for a second site in Liverpool city centre and hopes to open in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in the next 12-18 months, before taking the concept to London.
Mowgli food & drink
The Mowgli menu includes dishes such as Fenugreek Kissed Fries – potato with turmeric, fenugreek & the Mowgli masala, Aunty Geeta’s Prawn Curry – spiced mince with pulses and peas, and Bhel Puri – puff rice with crisp gram threads, potato, peanuts and spiced sweet & sour dressing.
Tiffin boxes – the Indian equivalent of a packed lunch – are also available.
“People can order either an office worker’s tiffin or a school tiffin. They don’t know what they are going to get in their tiffin box, it is down to the chef,” Katona explained. “It is just like in India when your loved one has prepared a lunch for you.
“I wanted to take them on that journey emotionally so they can feel what it is like to eat as an Indian, because Indians are food obsessed and rightly so because the real food is amazing.”
Danny Murphy – the man behind Liverpool's prohibition cocktail venues Berry & Rye and Jenny’s Bar – has created a cocktail menu for the venue including old fashioned penicillins and a range of lassis.
Designed by R2 Architecture, the 70-cover restaurant features hurricane lights, timber bench seating and an elemental bar clad in untreated railway sleepers to evoke a street food atmosphere.
Katona said she wanted a stripped back interior to completely remove people’s expectations of an Indian restaurant.
“From the very first brick that went in, we wanted to pare back people’s expectations to zero,” she said.
“That is why I wanted the Scandinavian look. It was really just to get them where I wanted because the food they were going to eat was so different to what they were used to.”