Conned by the Mughli!

13 Jan

Onward to the first restaurant to be reviewed! Donned were the heels, the lipstick (I even glittered my nails) as we went to sample the tastes of ‘one of the finest Indian restaurants in the north-west’… Very excite.

Hit by the buzzing atmosphere of a typical Saturday night and hidden away inside by the Rainforest Cafe-esque decor (orange tinted windows, whittled walls of vines, plant foliage brushing the table…), we were sat in our seats instantly – having booked. Amusing and conversational staff took our order and the pre-starter arrived momentarily; what can be said about poppadums, apart from they were perfectly round and satisfyingly crisp? The array of toppings was more plentiful than expected and each flavour held its own – however, the raita was of a taste that I have yet to come across other than within the walls of Mughli (perhaps I am used to that of the Leicester raita-masters? Hmmm…)

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Accompaniments; Mughli, Manchester’s Curry Mile

Swiftly – surprisingly, as the restaurant was fully booked – our  drinks and Prosecco appeared, served  with our waiter’s extensive yet heartwarming attempts to rid the bottle of its cork, as did our starters. The shami kebab was a strange concoction of egg and minced lamb; deep fried, that resembled something along the lines of a spiced cornish pasty with an omlette replacing the pastry… (let’s just say it needed  a wedge of lemon) While the aloo tikki was dainty and delicious alongside its tamarind raita.

In between courses a quick cardio up the long, labyrinthine (mercifully shallow) stairs was needed to burn off the shami kebab. Outside of the toilets was a damp, lingering tea towel next to one of the radiators – …why? The toilets themselves however. were decked out stylishly and perfectly clean – even with hand lotion! You can’t expect a Dyson Airblade in every establishment, so if you can see past the leaking tap a trip to the loo would be very much enjoyed.

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Aloo Tikki; Mughli, Manchester’s Curry Mile

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Main courses; Mughli, Manchester’s Curry Mile

The mains were fabulous! The chicken tikka makhanwala was succulent and intense with sweet cardamon tones. Our second choice was the desi gosht; meat which literally fell off of the bone and tasted like ‘sweet baby Jesus’. The saag paneer was rich, the paneer within had a delicate depth of flavour from the spinach – expertly done. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see into the ‘angithi’ charcoal pit and watch the chefs create the vibrant main dishes. Unfortunately our bubbly high came to a drastic end as we saw these fateful words hidden on the back of the drinks and desert menu…

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Horror.

 Student horror! Conned by the Mughli! Readers beware to always check your ‘terms and conditions’ BEFORE placing an order!

Sadly there was nothing our friendly waiter could do and we coughed up the extra 15% in despair.

Yours,

Joss.

Mughli on Urbanspoon

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5 Responses to “Conned by the Mughli!”

  1. thefamilyrestaurant January 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Thanks for taking the time to write about us Joss… we love your writing style and look forward to reading many more of your reviews in the future!

    We’re pleased to hear that you enjoyed the food and service that night but just wanted to apologise for you and your group being caught out by the terms and conditions of our NUS discount. Unfortunately, due to our associated BYO policy (for students only) we do require our guests to show us their student card at the time of placing the order in order for the discount to apply.

    We do, however, feel a little aggrieved by your suggestion that we “con” our guests or that the terms are “hidden” in any way. As well as on the offers’ page of our website, the terms are clearly displayed beneath the NUS notice on the entrance to the restaurant (on the bright orange lit box) as well as taking up the entire back cover of our drinks menu – a copy of which is placed on every table, and on certain tables (including yours) two.

    That said, we wish you all the very best with your new blog and hope you encounter many pleasant experiences along the way!

    Best wishes

    Mughli

    • jossk1993 January 14, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      Perhaps we may put the lack of noticing a sign outside down to the cold weather and the efficient Mughli staff at seating us at our tables; we had no time to linger and read. Yes… at the back of the desert section of that menu – I don’t believe we are accustomed to perusing further than the words ‘Desert Menu’ before having ordered our starters, call it personal preference if you will. Of particulars – I believe, seeing as we were a small table of two there would have only been one drinks menu. Alas! Had we been a larger party maybe we would have noticed the back. Perhaps a suggestion; a little mention from the waiters to make your wonderful offer that bit more transparent? Or perhaps bring the offer page to the front of the menu… As I imagine there would be a few disgruntled students out there who only found out when it was too late 🙂
      Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
      Joss.

  2. Mark Kelly April 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Interesting response. I do not understand why Mughli state their ‘associated BYO policy’ requires evidence of being a student prior to the meal being ordered. My guess is that this is Bring Your Own – alcohol I assume – and I further assume that Mughli allows students to bring their own alcohol to save money, hence you have to prove that you are a student, but if you are not, you must buy alcohol from them. If they do not sell alcohol at all – and I can see nothing to that end on their own website – are they simply asking for proof of age?

    What has ‘bring your own’ alcohol got to do with the meal? What if I am not drinking alcohol? There is no legal reason that I am aware of in Contract Law that requires the social status of the buyer receiving something from a vendor to be notifiable, prior to goods being tendered or received, unless, maybe, the buyer’s affiliate body is stumping up the difference. I have never come across a Student Union that does that, nor an NHS body…

    Without prejudice, I can only think of two reasons (three if the level of service differs) why any restaurant would demand proof of studentship or NHS membership upfront in order to receive a discounted meal, and they are (i) that portions are of a lower quality or (ii) that portions are of a lower quantity than otherwise. Of a lower quality, this can mean cooking leftovers are being offered from a previous sitting or a previous day, or cheaper bought produce is offered. Of a lower quantity, this can simply mean smaller portions, or disproportionate portions, e.g. the meat portion is offset with a larger portion of, say, rice…

    Whichever, this means the discount offered is not really a discount, merely a lure to NUS and NHS members, to get them through the door.

    I just don’t understand. Mughli’s response, pleasant though it is, does not explain fully, and is vague. Why does the BYO require proof of studentship upon ordering food?

  3. thefamilyrestaurant April 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Joss – I’m not sure I follow the logic.

    With it being a smaller table of two and the one drinks menu in front of you on the smaller table, surely that would mean that the terms written on the cover of the menu would be more obvious to you and not less?

    The terms of the discount are all written directly below every location in the restaurant or our menus which would have informed you that there is any student discount at all.

    It simply doesn’t make sense to ask every customer if they have a student card holder amongst their group as we have a student discount – if they feel that strongly about it, they would ask our waiters.

    In any case, as before, I do sincerely apologise for you being caught out that evening. That is not our intention, and with us standing the test of time for more than 22 years, I hope you can at least appreciate that we certainly do not look for short term gains where our customers are concerned.

    I can see that you still feel very strongly about it and I just wanted you to let you know that, following the launch of our new menu, the terms are now also written on our dinner menu (as well as the bright orange box on entry and our website) but I still feel just as strongly that you stating you were ‘conned’ is

    Mark – you seem to have drawn yourself down a path of many rather interesting and somewhat slanderous assumptions there (and we all know what they say about assumptions) but allow me to present another interpretation as to why businesses ask you to present your student card before ordering:

    1. the discount can be applied to the bill before it is produced (saving time, especially during busy periods, where the bill would otherwise be returned for the discount to be applied) – you’re more than welcome to test the quality and quantity of our food with and without a NUS/NHS card if you like

    2. there is a minimum requirement of one main course per diner in order for the discount to apply – which gives us the opportunity to explain to (and manage the expectations of) the student at the very beginning rather than having to disappoint later when the bill is presented

    3. with reference to the ‘association to the BYO policy’ in particular (which isn’t relevant to Joss’ case), it would follow that if you allow only students to bring their own alcohol, they would have to prove that they were students before ordering as opposed to at the end of their meal?

    By way of comparisons, similar terms are also used for similar reasons by discount diner cards such as TasteCard (which we also accept at our restaurants at present, and others such as HighLife etc.

    • Mark April 15, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      Thanks for your response, and the explanation from your business point of view.

      Point 1. I fully accept, but I do not understand why, in cases where a NUS or NHS card is not produced prior to ordering, discretion by yourselves cannot be brought into the equation. Surely the extra time taken on amending a bill for the (small?) percentage of students who miss the fact that they should have produced a NUS card up front, is just good PR. Everyone makes mistakes…

      Point 2. If the note regarding producing a NUS card prior to ordering is evident, there is no need to explain to anyone about minimum requirements, as that presumably should be evident too. And that would save you time.

      Point 3, I just do not understand. I think we are making the same point.

      Okay, thanks again; that wraps it up for me. From my point of view, the reasons for not applying discretion don’t justify the lack of PR, but then, I am not a restaurateur. Needless to say, I look forward to eating at The Mughli the next time I am in Manchester, courtesy of this blog…

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