Moksh: Authentic North India cuisine that will have you spoilt for choice
Meaning “freedom or liberation” and also to “attain the highest level of satisfaction”, Moksh fine dining India restaurants can be found in several locations in the Mother City. We visited the Durbanville branch for lunch last week.
The restaurant was virtually empty, but I am told at night you will struggle to get a table. The menu is vast, and very reasonably priced; starters are a go from R20 upwards, and main courses range between R60 and R120 for generous portions. Extra rice can be ordered, but is included with curries.
Chefs are trained in and recruited from India and provide guests with authentic cuisine from North India, famous for its savoury clay oven dishes and exotic curries – which can be mild, medium or hot, depending on your palate.
“We believe that the quality of food lies in the honesty of its ingredients. All our food is prepared from scratch on the premises, so no preservatives are used,” says the website.
The only problem with such a large menu is that it becomes difficult to make up your mind. The longer you spend perusing it, the more you flip back and forth between all the wonderful choices. I eventually settled on the seekh kebabs (minced lamb) from the selection of starters prepared in the tandoori oven, while my friend ordered vegetarian samoosas filled with potato. Although licensed, Moksh offers only a few wines, none of which are the best accompaniment to spicy food, so we both ordered beer with our meal. They were served in the bottle, and were asked if we wanted glasses. Being the ladies that we are, we preferred this option to swigging from the bottle.
It took us even longer to pick our main courses. There are chicken dishes, vegetarian dishes, lamb dishes, and seafood dishes. Lots of them. Then there are all the sides like poppadums, chutney and pickles, and of course, several naan breads – from plain, to butter or garlic, and my favourite, peschawari which is made with coconut and cashew nuts.
As a food, I do not like lentils – except when prepared Indian style. I ordered dal makhani, in which the legumes are cooked overnight in cream, butter, and tomato gravy. I reserved some to take away, and the dish was even more delicious when I got home later that night and made the perfect midnight snack.
I also ordered chicken madras – cubes cooked in a coconut and tamarind sauce – and my friend had chicken korma, a very traditional dish at Indian restaurants made with cream and cashew nuts. It was the texture of these she was looking for, but said it seemed these appeared to have been blended into the sauce rather than added whole.
For something sweet to finish there is lassi, a yoghurt-based drink which can be enjoyed as dessert or as a welcome mouth-cooler if you’re choosing the hotter curries. Other desserts include gulab jamun (a milk-solid-based South Asian sweet), kulfi (frozen dairy dessert), and shrikhand (sweet dish made of strained yoghurt), as well as milkshakes and don pedros and Irish coffees.
* Open Tuesdays to Sundays, Moksh is at Ipic Shopping Centre, 9 Burton St, Aurora, Durbanville.
Telephone 021 979 5505. Sit down or take away, Moksh also caters for private functions, birthdays and coporate events. There is plenty of safe parking.
Mother City Fine Dining By Bianca Coleman