Mogul: Greenwich deserves better (April 2015)

Greenwich is a beautiful part of London, characterised by a stunning stretch of the River Thames and its corresponding maritime history as well as a large park offering impressive views down to London. The place can get packed with tourists and based on some of the local housing, its residents probably don’t lack a bob or too either. Yet, Greenwich doesn’t have a good Indian restaurant. Mogul may have a prime location in a listed building bang in the centre of town, but every time I visit, I am disappointed. Why do I return? Because I have had friends living in the area for many years, we like Indian food and the hope (that things might get better) tends to triumph over experience. A recent Saturday night marked my latest visit to the Mogul. Arriving at 9pm for dinner, the place was still busy, but an hour later it felt close to deserted. Overall, the place needs a major coat of paint with low lighting in the basement (where we sat) probably also disguising the need to replace some of the other fixtures and fittings. Since my last visit, the Mogul has shrunk its menu and we were all presented with A3 pieces of paper rather than anything more substantial or professional-looking. The cooking seems to occupy a halfway house between traditional old-fashioned Indian and a more refined, contemporary approach. In other words, gone are reliable regulars such as the dhansak and the vindaloo, but absent also is anything vaguely resembling original or inventive. The Mogul simply seems to be offering fewer dishes (around 15 mains), but not pushing any boundaries. Our group of six enjoyed our food, but came away primarily with a sense of abject indifference. My ‘murgh chilli masala’ was a case in point: a competent enough execution with reasonably tender pieces of chicken but in a sauce, which could – well – have been anything really. Meanwhile, the service, while very friendly, was remarkably inefficient. Despite not being overly busy, we had a long wait for our drinks, with one from our initial order forgotten; tap water was brought reluctantly, and only after another wait; and some of our ordered sides were absent with the mains. They did turn up, with a delay, but without an apology. The redeeming feature – it was fairly good value, at around £30/head, all-in. But, Greenwich does deserve better; I am sure there would be enough demand for a proper Indian restaurant that did the job properly.