Restaurant Review: Mool – Kitchen & Bar Spices Up South Mumbai With Rave-Worthy Regional Fare

Unpretentious in its claim, this absolutely Indian restaurant sources recipes from different parts of the country, including ingredients, to present ‘Bharat’ on one’s plate.

Published On Apr 16, 2024 | Updated On Apr 16, 2024


Creating a unique Indian restaurant is like reinventing the wheel. It’s hard to come up with something that appeals to and also excites the average patron. While there are many making waves when it comes to ‘progressive Indian’, where desi dishes are given a push with exotic ingredients and posh plating, a straight-up ‘regional Indian’ restaurant with probity and panache has become quite a rare commodity. Which is why, when I hear about the concept behind Mool: Kitchen & Bar in Mumbai’s Fort area, my interest is immediately piqued. 


Mool’s aim is to go back to the roots to bring ‘authentic, unpretentious and from-the-heart food from every corner of Bharat to your table.’ How do owners Dipti, Mithilesh and Santosh Shetty try to achieve this? By cleverly tapping into the treasure trove of traditional recipes that 14 home chefs from across India. Consultant Sarvesh Moudgill, brand chef Suresh Singh Fartyal and the Mool team travelled across 15 states to taste their food, learn their techniques, and set up supply chains for the interesting ingredients they use, thus bringing back the best from many regions. For example, chef Singh speaks of how dhunn (dried wild onion leaves) infuses their starters with unique flavours, bajra (pearl millet) from Rajasthan adds depth to their Raab and Bajra Ki Khichdi, and triphala (Indian gooseberry) elevates the Jharkhandi dishes. 


My friend and I decide to catch up over dinner and drinks at Mool. Little do we know that the conversation we are looking forward to will largely be monopolised by the magic unfolding on the table (not that we are complaining)! As we walk in, I note that Mool has an understated vibe, with some subtle décor details directing one’s mind towards the food rather than self-conscious selfies. Even the stunning light sculpture called ‘Rooting’ in their private dining room, which is inspired by the root chakra and features folded Tyvek paper and cascading Fibonacci double spirals, sheds a soft light that also reflects the subtle spiritual philosophy of the restaurant. 

Nadru Monje

While we choose from the a la carte menu that night, their lunchtime offering is a variety of set meals from every region which sound just as tempting. We start with Nadru Monje, totally addictive crispy fried lotus stems made Kashmiri style. Bet you can’t eat just one, we rib each other as we crunch away in delight. The Shakarkand And Kachaalu Chaat that is served next is a bit disappointing in comparison, as the canapés it’s served in are neither as fresh as we’d like, nor as crisp. This chaat, such a lovely streetside staple is all about simplicity and Mool misses the mark by trying to give it a twist that even the sprinkle of sev can’t save it. 

Gucchi Kali Mirch Shatavari

But they more than make up for this lapse with their next creation — the Gucchi Kali Mirch Shatavari. Those luscious mountain morels team up with tender asparagus shoots beautifully and tango on the tongue with black pepper. My friend and I can’t get enough of these and decide we’ll come back again another day just to binge on these! Moudgill, whose passion for getting every aspect right shines through, reveals that the secret to these magical mushrooms is that they’re foraged, not grown in some greenhouse. Sourced specifically from Himachal Pradesh, they bring you the scent of the hills and the earthiness of the forest floor. 


We try their Dahi Ke Kebab (subtly spiced and delicately created), served with a robust raw mango chutney; the Chilgoza Malai Broccoli (chargrilled to perfection and deliciously nutty thanks to the pine nuts and cream cheese); and the Ambadi Paneer Tikka (really soft, marinated with yogurt flavoured with tart gonguura or roselle leaf, which is especially popular in Andhra Pradesh). The Rum Jheenga Tandoori sees a dark-rum marinade for jumbo prawns, which gives them a desirable depth of flavour. 


The signature cocktail list is impressive, with ingredients and ta  stes from diverse parts of India used quite ingeniously to make modern concoctions that will appeal to the most progressive palate. Tenali, with its roots in Andhra Pradesh, brings to mind a Hyderabadi biryani with its Bourbon whisky base infused with robust, smokey, and intense notes from charcoal-infused Basmati rice, and elevated with spices. Their Jorhat too, uses rice, but in a Mexican-style horchata made by grinding the black rice from Assam, along with pistachio orgeat, tequila and mezcal! 

Of the dozen well thought out signatures, likely refreshing daytime drinks are the fruity and floral Pauri from Uttarakhand (think tequila with rhododendron juice, lychee and lemon liqueur); Tangra from West Bengal (gondhoraj lime-infused gin with Sichuan peppers, mango, chilli, and ginger); Kochi (a Malayali mix of coconut palm jaggery, orange, pineapple, and fresh passion fruit, with spiced rum); and the Champaran, a Mahua Mule from Bihar (fresh mahua nectar and raw mango murabba with homemade ginger beer). The Jammu blends whisky with Kashmiri kahwa, grapefruit, ginger and saffron to create an unusual cocktail with unique mouth feel which I will certainly go back for. We didn’t try the vodka-based Coorg, which promised hints of coconut, cardamom, and Mool’s own blend of kaapi (filter coffee), but that one’s going to be a popular one for sure. 

The main story 


Satiated with appetisers and aperitifs, we take a breath before ordering the main course, allowing ourselves to dwell on the deliciousness of our conversation for a while. Shortly, under Moudgill’s canny guidance, we choose a selection of entrees. Among these, a must-try is the Bichhoo Booti Ka Saag, made expertly with the leaves of stinging nettle. Having had a painful brush with them while trekking in the wild in Uttarakhand just a few months ago, I’m wary to eat them, but this dish, tempered with a mustard chhonk, and a layer of taste added by sun-dried mango, is superb in its simplicity and clean flavours. 

Another winner from Uttarakhand is the Gehat ki Daal, a satisfying (and healthy) home-style dish made with ground horse gram. I’ve had a pahaadi phaanu like this made by a local and can vouch for the authenticity of the one at Mool. 


It’s a tough choice between an Udipi-style Chicken Ghee Roast, a mild Kerala Chicken Stew, and a peppery Punjabi Chitta Kukkad. Or do I go for the Gogje Aar Te Maaz with mutton and sun-dried turnips from Kashmir, a spicy Rajasthani Lal Maans with Mathania chilies, or a satisfying Kosha Mangsho from Bengal? The seafood lover in me draws my attention to the Maas Tenga sour fish curry from Assam, and the Goan Curry rich with kokum and coconut milk. Finally, it’s the Ahuna Mutton from Jharkhand, redolent of the claypot it was cooked in, that wins my vote and enchants my palate for that evening along with a selection of delectable rotis that I could make a meal of by themselves! 

Dessert comes in the form of a Nolen Gurer Payesh from Bengal, bursting with that trademark sweet and earthy aroma of fresh palm jaggery. And a Chocolate, Rum & Orange Cake that doesn’t quite go with the restaurant’s desi theme but is intense and rich, nevertheless. 

The Zee Zest Verdict: The food and drinks shine in the spotlight and most are indisputable hits despite the variety. Overall, it’s a pleasant dining experience, with comfortable seating and warm, efficient service. There’s just so much to sample at Mool, and yet it is only a small representation of the immense diversity of regional Indian cuisine. This is only the beginning, Moudgill tells me, sharing plans for more regions to be included and an upstairs indigenous coffee bar coming soon. 

Address: Mool Kitchen & Bar,  Unit No. 30, Ground Floor, Rajabahadur Mansion, 28, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 

Timing: 12pm-3pm; 7pm-12am 

Meal for two: INR 3,500 (with drinks) 

Photo: Featured Restaurant