30 September 2009

Mama mooli

The arrival of Moolita @ London Heathrow has been overshadowed slightly.

My mom has just landed as well. She is an outstanding cook, especially her Keralan beef, Goan pork and Chicken (e)stew. Some of you reading will know from Benson Town sessions and are probably nodding your heads in agreement.

Many of our dishes have their origins in her recipes (although we have exercised considerable creative licence).

Will we pass the test ????????

24 September 2009

Blueberry kulfis @ Mooli's

Thrilling news. I might be jumping the gun here, but we might have managed to source blueberry kulfis to sell @ Mooli's. This will be in addition to the usual mango, pistachio and malai flavours. We've talked about using a non-Indian but delicious and exotic flavour in our kulfi's for months and now it looks like it might happen.


21 September 2009

The chutneys have it

Our mooli's are being photographed tomorrow by Mowie at Shilpa's place !

I spent the afternoon with Raju preparing for the shoot. We've made a really beautiful array of chutneys (beetroot, carrot, tamarind, coriander, mango, tomato, cucumber raita). The colours are all natural but just out of this world. And I re-discovered an old favourite - gunpowder.

We aren't just about tender braised meats, fresh homemade roti's and zesty salsas. The chutneys have it. I ate roti with just chutneys for dinner (but all seven of them). TAB you were right.

20 September 2009

Stories from the Toilet Pt 2

Some would say it is an obsession, I just like to call it a fascination in something we all do and love doing and are very relaxed while doing it. Yes poo. I have mentioned its crucial role in the pre-mooli's launch. Now I want to take up the subject in relation to the toilets in mooli's. There will be two toilets in the first mooli's store. How should they look? Convention of course dictates a plain, no frills toilet which is easy to clean and does not reflect badly on the premises and its food. There are two problems with convention.

First, toilets are havens and should look the part. As a 16 year old I thought up my my first path-breaking piece (The causes of the First World War (for a GCSE essay)) in my toilet. I am not alone. Gandhi, Nelson, J Priestley, Kant, Wittgenstein and Teddy Pendergrass. All of them, yes all of them, had their big ideas while sitting on the loo.* So it only makes sense that the mooli's toilet should be more than just comfortable; they need to be a destination in themselves as it were.

Secondly, the convention prevents mooli's only chance to pay some respect or homage to an indian institution which may go out of fashion. The hole in the floor. Why not have one of the toilets as a good ol' fashioned hole in floor of the kind that still exists right across india and pakistan? I can just imagine the headlines or write-ups in the magazine: "if the sumptuous fillings don't knock you out, then visit the loos where you will find London's only hole in the floor toilet. Homage indeed".

*unverified but its believeability must make it true or true enough for it to be a persuasive example

19 September 2009

It is Sunday again...

...the Keralan beef returns @ the Sunday Upmarket along with our new hit - Cumin potatoes & Asparagus with a tamarind chutney. As usual, you can go green with a really fresh and fiery green chutney. Raju and I are cooking together so this time the chutney will be even better.

We're in Ely's Yard which is the outdoor section of the market - opposite the Rootmaster Bus, at the corner of the yard close to the Big Chill bar.

Some colourful pictures from the market last week:

15 September 2009

we got the keys!

9.35am, Tuesday, 15th September, 2009... Mathew opening the doors of Mooli's new home: 50 Frith Street, Soho.

There was no coconut smashed on the floor but exciting nevertheless. Mathew brought coffees and we got to work immediately! What's Nick writing there?

A chuckle while another photograph is taken and we are back to discussing our favourite subject in relation to the build: loos (more on that later, perhaps by TAB).

13 September 2009

On Yoga and Desserts

I. Bikram Yoga

At last I can now sit at a dinner table and inspire a moment of intrigue:

Anybody (pref girl): Wow, your job as a lawyer sounds cool, firefighting battles across the globe. How do you relax and keep yourself fit?

Me: Yes, but please don't forget that it is lonely being a leading international lawyer and author of path breaking articles on C18 English legal procedure in the court of common pleas. That aside I like to relax through Bikram Yoga. It really helps me realign my chakras.


I completed my first Bikram yoga class (or hot yoga as some call it because it takes place in a heated room). It was nearly like all the stereotypes I had in my mind before entering the class. Almost everyone was lithe, beautiful, including the oldies who all looked like they survived on seeds and had never had ice cream in the hundred years they had lived. The elegance of their contortions were there for all to see since all the men took the 90 minute class without a t-shirt and almost-there shorts (women had sports bras). I knew this was the usual way but I hardly wanted to stun them with the full glory of my body. The instructor, who shouted at me throughout the class every time any pose was out of kilter, at one point said "Tariq [she had memorised the names of the newbys) the temperature is very hot so feel free to take your shirt off; don't be shy, all the other men have; and after all we are all friends". Momentarily- just momentarily- I had visions that this was the cue for a mass orgy that I had imagined such things could be (when I was 10).

Overall the class was great, despite the feeling that I was way out of my depth. I shall return. I want to be like them.

II. Sweet Mooli

This rather neatly brings me to some mooli business. Recently, we were asked for some suggestions on what desserts mooli's could serve. I saw somewhere that the classic indian sweets were suggested. I am not sure that mooli's necessarily has to have indian sweets. The beauty of the mooli's brand is that it is beyond classic categories/labels - it is indian going on japanese, italian, mongolian or anything its founders love. So with that in mind here are two suggestions, inspired by paris but with a mooli twist.

(a) Choco Mooli- a warm chapatti filled with the nutella spread. This apes the nutella crepe, but may even be tastier, because the dryer almost salty chappati (I think) may be even more complimentary with the nutella. I think this could be a hit.

(b) Semi- Frozen macaroons- Not only are they so tasty but they are an aesthetic dream-perfectly shaped little round desserts in bright colours. The twist is to have them semi-frozen so they retain the usual taste with coconut tones, but also give the sensation of ice cream without the mess. I tasted this recently at a dinner party, where the host had forgotten to defrost the deserts for the time recommended. The host's mistake was a hit with the guests.

09 September 2009


today, Nick (one of our fantastic architects - more on him and Kevin in another post), Mathew and I were sitting in Cafe Macondo in Angel and after our now usual ramblings on furniture, we started to talk about builders and costs so I took my MUJI notebook out. i was writing the date when Nick said, today is 09/09/09. there was a real sense of Déjà vu.

my mind was really all over the place. Mathew and i had just sampled 3 single origin coffees and the monmouth espresso blend at the monmouth roastery (our experience deserves a whole new post which i think mathew should write - he was like a kid in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory looking at the dark roasted beans being cooled in this huge mechanised pot). so the moment passed until I saw emails from Badri and Sachin in my inbox later this evening. and then it all came flooding back.

Law School Tutorials (LST) was conceived exactly 10 years ago to the day in Bangalore in an auto. there were four of us in that auto (Badri, Sachin, Dev and I) and by the time we had finished dinner at Casa Picola, we just knew that as a business idea, this was as good as it gets. how could it not work? the next 3 years were exciting. mamta joined us, dev left (but we saw him enough in the hostel :)) we worked hard, worked with very little (and around college) and somehow created a business. there are so many memories (carrying truck loads of printed materials, Badri watching Sachin and me fix a flat on the old 800 - in fact taking pictures of us, waiting for our website to be hit after our TIMES OF INDIA ad). i foolishly sold my stake too early but it was one hell of a ride. sachin took the business to another level after 2002 and now LST is in 60 cities across India (as i told Sachin a few years ago when he generously gave me an ipod, where the fuck is my car??)

a year trekking and traveling, 2+ years of mucking around in Oxford, 2 years at BCG, a year of poker/getting things ready for Mooli's and now finally, it's happening again.

mathew and i are working hard but there is a real buzz. i think we are both nervous but excited and confident at the same time. and sometimes, i think to myself just as i did in 09/09/09 how could it not work?

we've got a vision and we can't wait to get there but know each step is going to be tricky. if for some reason, it doesn't work we'll probably put up our hands and tell you that we didn't execute well enough. that's the name of the game now.

ps- the food at Cafe Macondo was outstanding. Mathew, especially was in love with his Chipotle Chicken.

07 September 2009

Ice Cold Beer

I met a friend over the w/e. His family runs a Mexican restaurant in NY and he mentioned that they have phenomenal beer sales, aided by the fact that the beer is served very cold. Just above freezing. Apparently New Yorkers love their beer ice cold.

Will this fly in London, given our cold weather and the fact that many people seem to like warm beers? We'd love to hear from you.

03 September 2009

Alien chappati !

We got much better as the evening progressed, but our first roti's turned out quite scary looking !

An improvement ...........

And this is how it should be done......