Monday, 1 November 2010

Cheap Eats: Lou Loves Moolis

(or, Mooli's: Roti vs. Buritto)

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I seem to spend half my life in Shoreditch and half in Soho. I just love Soho- it's where life seems to happen. It's the little beating heart in the centre of London, pumping life into the city.
Naturally, it's unlikely I would spend long in somewhere without a great variety of food- Shoreditch has its big Bangla Cash and Carrys, Soho has its huge array of cafes, restaurants and bakeries. (Not to mention China Town... )
You may remember my 'Focus On... Wardour Street'; One road alone that could feed me for a month.

So it came as no surprise to me that the cafe that seems to be on every one's lips right now- Mooli's- was to be found on Frith Street. I had heard about it from a number of food bloggers and friends so it seemed natural that when I found myself aimless in Soho one lunch time I should drag myself away from my usual haunts and try it out.
Photography by Mowie, from

Stepping in (and they will hate me for this) my first impression was how similar it was to it's Mexican counterpart Benito's Hat. The walls were painted cheerful colours, the tables flanked with high stools and the serving counter squatting at the back. But in the design stakes, Mooli's wins out. Bright patterns, blossom and birds designed by Rachel Mikulsky adorn the walls, one of which is dedicated to a series of bold statements- "Not to be consumed with low grain cocaine" and "This is not a f**king Burrito".

... You understand my reticence in name dropping Benito's Hat now?

It's very simple. Mooli's serves mooli's. And not a lot else. But really, who needs anything else from a place like this?
The premise of these mooli's are filling home made roti (Indian flat bread) with meat, veg or paneer and plenty of additional flavours; in the forms of sharp salsas, fruity chutneys and spicy potatoes.

They may have a limited menu, but the mooli's do come in six flavours- Chicken with a mint and coriander dressing and apple, spicy beef with coconut and cucumber raita, and Pork with pomegranate salsa (oooh!). The most popular flavour seems to be the Goat, spiced with cumin, coriander cloves, chilli's and Cinnamon and accompanied by potatoes sautéed with dry mango, red onion and lime.
There are also vegetarian options; Asparagus with potatoes, roasted cumin seeds, dried mango, yoghurt and tamarind or Paneer; Indian cheese scrambled in spices with tomato chutney and grated carrot.

Ok, so it doesn't look *quite* like this when it's served up... But considering how completely impossible it is not to make a mess of anything that comes in a wrap, does it really matter..?
Photography again, by
Mowie. I am a big fan of his beaauutiful work!

It was, based on this, tough to choose. I went with the chicken, though in retrospect I'm now fantasising about the paneer... Though I do love the sound of the potato and cumin... And the pomegranate salsa... and the coconut with the beef... Oh dear.
We also bowed to pressure and got the goat.

They were both gorgeous! (£4.45) The sheer quantity of ingredients they crammed in all complimented and contrasted each other nicely. The cinnamon, cloves and cumin gave them a distinctively Indian taste without in any way resembling your local generic Indian restaurant.
Chunky, flavoursome and compact, these Mooli's makes for a great lunch break pit-stop. Amazingly, although they aren't in any way obscenely over-sized, I remained so full all day that even by the end of the night (I would say we had lunch about 2 o clock) I still wasn't hungry, and ate nothing more than an apple that day. That's value for money, right?
I don't want for burritos to keep rearing their ugly heads, but you do get more from your money with a mooli. Instead of chicken with salsa, guacamole and soured cream, beef with salsa, guacamole and soured cream or vegetables with salsa, guacamole and soured cream, you do get a lot more carefully considered ingredients rammed in. Don't get me wrong, I love a burrito... But in this race (for me) there can only be one winner.

So if you're looking for somewhere new to eat in the West End, or you want a food lovers variation on the (pale by comparison) Burrito, check out Mooli's.

50 Frith St
Westminster, London W1D 4
020 7494 9075



  1. i go there all the time, great little place. i always go for the beef mooli, i may try the goat the next time i'm there.

  2. wow, this brings it all back. I'm slightly addicted to Moolis and have returned more times than is good for my wasitline. I've never had a better sandwich than the goat and potato one. In fact just thinking about it makes me want to pop in again!

  3. Hey! Where are your own great photos? I'm sure you could do just as good a job as Mowie.

    And as for "without in any way resembling your local generic Indian restaurant" that really shouldn't be that difficult. With Indian restaurants in this country I do often get the impression they are all part of the same British Indian restaurant franchise - with the same predictable menu where-ever you go. It would be good to find somewhere with Indian flavours but with a new twist, so I really look forward to trying this place. Even if it appears to be inspired by Tex-Mex cusine!