With walls papered in gold and garish, but endearing chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, once you enter Moti Mahal, it seems absurd that you could have ever passed it by. Yet you can, and this would be a shame.

The second-story space formerly housed the forgettable Mirch Masala. Moti Mahal is more memorable. The new arrival’s menu traverses the Subcontinent, with no particular focus in individual regional cuisines and well-known favorites comprehensively represented.

The lamb tikka (RMB 62) arrives in tender, generous chunks. A warning about the spiciness of the lamb rogan josh (RMB 86) turns out to be dismissible, though it is brilliantly red and still delicious. Flecked with cilantro, the onion kulcha (RMB 20) drips with butter.

If you feel saturated in ghee, cut the fat with a plain naan (RMB 12) to scoop up the curry, and sip on one of the lassis (RMB 32) from a standard selection of sweet or salty as well as a trio of three fruit flavors: banana, mango and strawberry.

At the start of the evening, the lone Englishman at the table declared the pair of lamb samosas (RMB 32) “the best samosas in Beijing.” What else better to trust the British on than Indian food? Perhaps we were swayed from the outset by this accolade, but a return to leftovers the next day only confirmed initial impressions. Moti Mahal has staying power.

Also try: Raj, Indian Kitchen

Moti Mahal
Daily 11am-3pm, 5.30-11pm. 1-31, 2/F, Ritan High Life, 39 Shenglu Jie, Chaoyang District (8569 4554)
1km southwest of Dongdaqiao station (Line 6)

A version of this article appeared in the Beijinger April 2014 issue.

Photos: Sui

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