First Look at The Moghul's Restaurant and Bar

Categories: Restaurant News

moghuls.jpg
Photo courtesy of The Moghul's Restaurant
No, I did not take any pictures myself. There was no point.
My visit to The Moghul's Restaurant and Bar (11681 Westheimer, 281-589-2300) last night can be summed up in one solitary word: Befuddling.

I had been eagerly looking forward to driving out to try the new Indian-Pakistani restaurant primarily because I'd heard that it also incorporated Chinese and Afghani dishes into its menu, all a nod to the vast tribe -- the Mughal Empire -- that ruled over much of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent for roughly 300 years. What we found instead was a bizarre mess of a buffet serving mediocre Indian food and particularly awful Chinese food.

The restaurant -- housed in a former Champps -- has clearly been remodeled at great personal expense to the owners, Mobi Siddiqui and Asim Malik, and it's truly lovely inside -- all shades of amber and deep red and mahogany brown. A cheesy buffet in the middle of all this wasn't the only thing that struck us as odd, however.

From the moment that we sat down at our table, something was off about Moghul's. Our waiter glared at us, an expression of open hostility almost daring us to say something to him. He never offered us anything to drink (although the busboy was thankfully timely in refilling our water glasses) and refused to give us menus.

Refused. To give us. Menus.

"Everything we have is on buffet," he huffed before walking off. But we didn't want to eat off the sad-looking buffet. We'd come to eat off the menu. Moghul's itself says on its website and all its press materials that the buffet is served during lunch only, and the full a la carte menu is available for dinner. We could see people in kitchen, cooking, and plates filled with food being delivered to the scant other tables.

We tried to no avail to get a straight answer from someone else about ordering off the menu. Finally, our busboy told us cryptically: "You can order appetizers only."

Completely confused now, we finally flagged down a woman who looked like she was the manager. She obligingly brought us menus, but said nothing about the unusual dinner arrangement. Our waiter seemed very displeased by our getting menus and, annoyed, took our order for two appetizers: the Gobi Munchurian (cauliflower fritters) and Samosa Chat.

While we waited for our appetizers, we took a stab at the buffet. It contained a hodgepodge of chicken lo mein next to butter chicken next to coleslaw next to lamb curry next to sweet & sour chicken next to palak paneer next to a bowl of shredded cheddar cheese next to chicken salad. Baffling.

The Chinese food, gloppy-looking in its steam table confines, was predictably awful. This is the kind of totally and annoyingly inauthentic stuff I expect from a China Panda Bear Garden Gate buffet, B.F.E. location, but not from an upscale restaurant. The Indian food fared somewhat better, but simple items like the palak paneer were a disaster of over-pureed spinach and hard, tough little nuggets of paneer cheese that tasted like Styrofoam peanuts. The pakora were similarly tough and tasteless, with the fresh, fluffy naan and tangy raita as the only standouts.

"Avoid the chicken salad," one of my dining companions said as softly as possible.

"Why did you even get it?" I asked. Our entire evening was filled with whispered warnings like these, in between trying to fend off the distant glares of our waiter from across the room. If two other people hadn't been with me, I would have thought I'd dreamed up his blatant hostility.

When our appetizers finally arrived, we were sad to see that they were just as disappointing as the buffet items. "Cauliflower fritters" turned out to be fried hunks of cauliflower drenched in the same sweet & sour sauce from the buffet chicken. And the samosa chat was promising, but the samosas themselves were horribly soggy, having arrived in a boat where they were covered with watery raita and chutney.

Throughout all of this, the men I surmised to be the owners sat chatting happily in the bar area near the buffet, seemingly without a care in the world. It was jarring, and I was filled with questions. Could they really think this food was good? Why wasn't the kitchen open at dinner? And why on earth was our waiter being so pointedly rude to us?

My dining companion pointed out as we were leaving that a Bentley -- possibly belonging to one of the owners, as the restaurant was otherwise fairly empty -- was parked in the handicapped spot directly in front of Moghul's. It was a pointed summation of the entire evening.

Part of me would like to return to Moghul's to try the actual menu -- not the buffet -- and try to scope out those Afghani items we didn't see, or perhaps find some more authentic Chinese items. But the other, less forgiving part of me doesn't want to give any return business to a restaurant that doesn't care about its customers enough to leave the handicapped parking spot open, let alone give them menus at dinner.

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Location Info

Moghul's Restaurant and Lounge - CLOSED

11681 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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84 comments
MadMac
MadMac

Forget the restaurant, I regret the great fight I missed here. ~Sigh~  I never get to have any fun.

SirRon
SirRon

I'm can't really comment on Moghul's, because I never went there, and the Champps at this location before didn't do much better. PF Chang's is always slammed and they share a parking lot. While I hate considering Westchase "the 'burbs," if an Olive Garden moved into this property it would packed every night. And there is a Piatto in the same shopping center. *sigh*

Abc
Abc

CLOSED ?

Sumi
Sumi

Wow! That was a bit harsh , I've been to moghul's couple of times , and everytime I went there I got an exceptional service but yes there lunch buffet is not that great but not that bad either ! Anyways everybody has a right to express there opinion and my opinion is DEFINITELY try it !!!! But please go with an open mind without keeping any negative reviews stored!!!!

Anonymus
Anonymus

so i know the owner of this place... & he had a few people ACTUALLY threaten me to take it off my facebook, & even said he would take me to court for writing this!! [apparently for SOME ODD reason he thought i wrote this article]

Imran Adil
Imran Adil

Actually there is a saying...don't judge a book by its cover...some one else opinion should not help you making yours...I've been to moghul's a lot..the staff is amazingly friendly...the decor is great...the only Fine dining respectable "paki" or south asian restaurant in houston..there is always room for improvement I'll give food a 7 out of 10. the decor and staff 10 out of 10...the 2 owners great guys Mobi and Asim ...

Sharon
Sharon

OMG. This review is really bad, shocking actually. Such a shame since I really wanted to visit. I've driven past a few times and it looks really glam but I'm not so sure now. A friend of mine recommended an Indian / Pakistani restaurant called La Sani in Bissonet street. I was told it's now under new management and I should check it out. Four of us went to see what all the fuss is all about, I wasn't too mad on the location and decor but to my surprise we were greeted by very attentive staff and no doubt the food was great. The owner came to our table personally to make sure we were happy with the food and service. If decor and ambience is what you are after this place isn't for you but if you want great tasting food at a decent price it's worth a visit. No fuss no frills just simplicity at it's best. At least you get what you pay for.

SirRon
SirRon

I have a Moghul's ad banner at the top of the page. They are sponsors. Awesome.

Brooks
Brooks

As a frequent goer to The Moghul's Restaurant, I was very surprised when I read this review. Personally, I have had nothing but AMAZING service every time I go there. After reading this review, I called the restaurant and inquired about why they only served a buffet at dinner time, when every time I have ever been, dinner is exclusively a la carte. I was told by one of the owners that since the City of Houston shut their water down from 12 to 3, the preparations necessary for dinner, could not be made. On top of that, their head chef was ill that day so from 12 to 3 they closed the restaurant (as well as P.F. Chang's being closed), and for dinner, did what they could and served just a buffet. I have frequented The Moghul's Restaurant many times since they have been open and I have never received anything but outstanding, stellar service. Katharine, I honestly believe that you should give this restaurant another try, as you said yourself "Part of me would like to return to Moghul's to try the actual menu". I think you should give them another chance due to the circumstances of the day that you were there. You might be surprised as to what a delight it really is to go eat at this fine restaurant.

Bierce10
Bierce10

I actually did eat here a few weeks ago with a coworker. When we arrived, it was a bit after 1 pm, and we were the only customers. I thought the food was good, if a bit overpriced for the small number of items that were available on the buffet. Unlike Katharine, we received excellent service, with our waiter constantly refilling our drinks and offering to bring us fresh naan. We decided that we would go back if they expanded the buffet offerings or lowered the price to a more reasonable amount.

Craig
Craig

Upscale indopak with fancy cars. Yumdummy.

Ameh
Ameh

Note to owners or owner's friends: Take the review as an opportunity to improve on your missteps. Your guests do not like or want to hear excuses. Your guests view your friend's reviews as not credible, will not take them into consideration, and will likely not patron your restaurant because of biased reviews. Thank your food writer for coming by and highlighting points where you can improve and move on with your life. Best of luck.

EmilyBe
EmilyBe

I decided to take the challenge and try the buffet. It was good! I loved the lamb and corn soup. The ambiance of the restaurant was very nice, almost soothing. Waiters were polite and drinks were timely. The price is actually not bad for what is offered on the buffet. I think Houstonians are accustomed to the bad CiCi's and Golden Corral cheap buffets. Moghuls buffet surpasses typical Houston buffets significantly in comparison. Two phrases come to mind when reading this article and actually going in and experienceing for myself:1) any publicity is good publicity &2) Cheap food is not good & Good food is not Cheap!

Anji
Anji

I have to this place several times and every time I go there I have experienced nothing but the great service and the best food they have to offer. I am so surprised to read the comments and so surprised to see how many people are judgmental around the houston area. Its just sad. Don't take other people's opinions and put them in your feelings. Go out there and experience the service, food and the atmosphere for you to have your own experiences and opinions. For all the palak paneer,butter chicken,naan, chicken boti, kabab and lovers out there go check out this place it's for you. And now a few words about the parking: just because you saw these nice cars parked out there in the handicapped parking does not mean that these are owned by the owners. One question for you katharine.... Did you ask the owners to make sure if they owned these cars or you just ASSUMED??????

McAlly
McAlly

Ok Ok, clearly I pushed a button! Let me redeem myself, the comment on the handicapped parking...very poor taste and I realize that now. People are entitled to their own opnions and critics ARE critics, thats their job. I seemed to have gotten an overwhelming response to my few comments and it seems obvious that the writers friends are simply trying to pick me apart. It is apparent, Brittany shey, BITS, Redonthehead, John Seaborn Grey, Kyle, so on and so forth, your looking out for your friend as am I with my friends at Moghuls. BTW Brittany, I was not talking about the handicap parking issue being insulting, I never said it was ok...comprehensive reading is hard to find these days Katharine, your right! To put things simply, Katharine was being honest about her experience and her opinion but I think she (and maybe all of the fellow commenters) should give them the benefit of the doubt and try Moghuls one more time. I'm not sure how valid the "water being turned off" comment is as far as the source of that information but this is just a review, people are entitled to their own opinions and its a preference to rely on the review or take a chance and try new things anyway...there said it! Phew.. good day!

Shamaya_81
Shamaya_81

To a certain extent, these comments are hilarious. I went there last week and enjoyed myself! My 1st experience with Indian, Pakistani, South Asian hoopla, whatever type of cuisine they served me...I enjoyed it! (no pun intended) LOL. I agree, that it's not right to park in handicap spots and hopefully whomever the owners if the cars are, are not parking there anymore. I wined and dined in the bar area, so maybe I was just feeling good. The bartender, waitress and manager were all phenomenal to me! The food was spicy, because I like it hot and the bartender made sure to keep my glass filled with water (good, icy, clean water :) . I will say that my boyfriend did not enjoy his food (beef kabobs) but the waiter and bartender did forewarn him-lol! So we shared my dish (shrimp shaslika, spelled something like that) and were pleased. We also gotf free wine and the manger came back to reassure us, that everything would be taken care of...he removed the beef kabobs from our bill. The place is very plush and has a great ambiance, that is, in my opinion and I am planning to celebrate there with friends next week for my BDAY! To each it's own and as the saying goes... "Don't knock something, until you try it." ;)

Youngcarmellover
Youngcarmellover

I have been to The Moghul's on countless occasions an have NEVER left unsatisfied. The food is AMAZING and authentic, even the chinese dishes. For someone with such LITTLE knowledge of food and cultures I find it hard to comprehend why the Houston Press even allows this chick to be a food critic.

Kyle
Kyle

Mcally? Or Asim Malik?

Mcally
Mcally

After reading all the comments, it's funny to see people be so judgemental off of one review. It appears that people would rather take someone else's opinion than think or try things for themselves. I HAVE tried the food and it IS good... seems like everyone can be food critics without tasting anything. It's a photo of nice cars in front of the restaurant, it's not like you see handicapped people waiting around to park and I'm sure this photo wasn't taken last night, c'mon people... really!?!

Marleywine
Marleywine

'a frequent goer'?

Brooks, sounds like you could use some meds.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Funny. This is from the same IP address as "McAlly" and "lynnmcal." Which name will you be using tomorrow?

Do it again and you're getting banhammered.

Zeitgiestkuchen
Zeitgiestkuchen

You're right Anji! This write did nothing but inspire to me to rush right out there and try Moghul's.

...Like Ishtar, Heaven's Gate, Gigli...and some other fine movies

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Yes, I did assume. I said so in the write-up:

"...a Bentley -- possibly belonging to one of the owners, as the restaurant was otherwise fairly empty..."

That said, a series of similar photos posted on their own website seems to be somewhat incriminating in the matter, small as it may be.

LW
LW

You're full of BS, Mcally. I am not Katharine Shilcutt's friend, nor will I ever be, nor am I her sycophantic fan. In fact, I dislike and/or disagree with a lot of what she has written in the past. Quite simply this review of Moghul's is so atrocious (there are levels of bad, from mediocre to unredeemable), I'm willing to just drive on past this allegedly "great" restaurant.

Njnil22
Njnil22

How about just this: it was just a very bad dining experience, as Katharine wrote. Whether the water was off, the electricity crashed or the gas was out, it was an honest first take and that's it. The pic was just an image provided by the restaurant itself, how ever ill-considered.

Whether people want to spend a lot for 'South Asian Cuisine' to feel like a king: well, the restaurant might be swimming against a strong tide there, unless you count the folks who live in gated Royal Oaks, who probably feel very much feel like moguls and don't get out much.

But, all in all, fair mention, fair points, and everyone can try The Moghul's, hoping that there is not some handicap from the city, or drivers who crave a vanity spot that is usually reserved for the truly handicapped.

Sarah
Sarah

You are an AMAZING idiot, FreeThinker.

ps. don't call women practicing their professions "chicks"

Wyatt
Wyatt

You're liking your own comments, aren't you?

McAlly
McAlly

Hmmm... Kyle or Katherine??? If you must know my last name is McAllister, I have no alias... that last comment is a little insulting. I may have come off defensive but it's only because Katherine gave a horrible and unreliable review, sorry for any hurt feelings.

Catwoman12879
Catwoman12879

I agree! Strongly in fact as many times as I have been there the staff is very friendly, professional, and fast ! I dont beleive for a second that the staff ignored anyone. They are always on the top of things, in fact so much that I have gone during lunch when they have the buffet and the buffets have been different. If there is something you dont like the menu is always there bt you may have to see whats available and according to your taste. The managers are always there to make sure all an I mean ALL the cusomers are well taken care of. As for this critic, she may have just ha a bad day if you havent gone and are basing your assumptions on this bullshit then you are absolutely wrong. Why not just go once yourself and experince it, if you dont like it dont go. As for the picture above, this was taken before the resturant opening. When there was a night anyone who wanted to go for "TASTING" could just walk in and try the food. Most people were invited by others. This was also an article done by the Houston press themselves.

Ed T.
Ed T.

Mcally - there are very few things you can be cited for in a private parking lot. One of them is parking in a no parking (fire) zone. Another is... parking in a handicapped parking spot, without the requisite licence tag/parking placard. Doesn't matter if you are the owner, or a friend of the owner, or if you go there every. freaking. DAY, if you don't have the placard or the plate... you don't park there. Period. Given your attitude about this, I am not sure I trust your judgement when it comes to the quality of the food at this establishment.

LW
LW

I'd say if I read this review and still went into a crappy restaurant, the joke would be on me. I would much rather rely on online reviews instead of spending my hard-earned money on an underwhelming, pretentious, and offensive restaurant. It's not about being sheeple, it's about not being an idiot and walking to a hot mess after someone's already warned you about it. If Moghul has any redeeming qualities, I'm sure it will do fine, and other restaurant review sites will give it the appropriate rating. And if it truly is as bad as Katharine Shilcutt says it is, then it will go out of business. Good riddance.

Also, Mcally, your logic toward handicap spaces needs to get checked.

BigK
BigK

I specifically like the argument that "it's not like you see handicapped people waiting around to park". Really? Really! Well dang, I'll use that line of logic next time I pull up...anywhere. Mcally you are truly brilliant and thank you for showing me the error of my ways.I guess stop signs are just suggestions too.

Kyle
Kyle

Katharine observed the Bentley parked in the handicapped spot, so since it's on their website and she also observed it, it is probably the owner's. Which food was good, specifically?

EmilyBe
EmilyBe

LynnMcal/McAlly is my coworker and unfortunately for us we only have one comp that has explorer since the rest are used for production purposes. I told her I would try the restaurant for lunch and comment my opinion good or bad. I thought it was good. did you check out the email address's while you were at it? These blogs are notorious for claiming two people to be one in the same, a previous comment called McAlly... Asim Malik and now... I am Mcally. Good going sherlock you really got us, go ahead an "banhammer" us I can see why Lynn was so frustrated when she voiced her opinion. If your offended from our comments then maybe you should rethink blogging because thats what this is all about.

Anji
Anji

Katharine I just feel like you walked in with the attitude of not finding anything good there. Girl seems like you had an issue with everything there. I just don't understand why didn't you ask for either the manager on duty or the owner itself. but had you done that how would your blog get so much attention? thats so true.also, those pics on their site is from 2 months ago from the opening night when they had loads of people flooding in for the inauguration.

Lynnmcal
Lynnmcal

Funny??? I don't even remember referencing YOU... do you see LW in the previous comment anywhere? why are you so defensive... I think your the one thats full of BS.

Ed T.
Ed T.

FreeThinker is an AMAZING and AUTHENTIC idiot!

BITS
BITS

What's unreliable about describing a hilariously bad dining experience? You think she made all that up?

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

What's insulting is that you think it's okay to park in a handicapped spot if "no handicapped people are waiting around." That is against the law, you realize, right?

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

McAllister?! Well I don't think we can trust the opinions of someone who leaves their kid home alone on Christmas two years in a row.

Garyrwise
Garyrwise

Mcally- One dish doth not a restaurant make. I have eaten there. I believe the review is fair. Anyone asking $15.95 for a "South Asian" lunch buffet has put a huge target on their back.

Kyle
Kyle

I don't know what was horrible or unreliable about it. If the above commenter is telling the truth, Moghul's was in violation of a boatload of health code violations by staying open for business when they had no running water!

Katharine didn't say there were Afghan items on the menu, but rather that she had heard that there were.

KitterieMe59
KitterieMe59

There's a lesson here: if you're going to be all flash and vain, then at least be good at what you do. Otherwise, you attract the ire of many.

Guest
Guest

houston PRESS was paid to write an article.. after reading this, i ACTUALLY went to the place & i COMPLETELY AGREE WITH 90% of the people comments here & the writer! the need to pay more attention to the food, the service, & less to their publicity

FreeThinker.
FreeThinker.

i agree that the parking in the handicap spots is a lil over the top but it's only ONE review of the restaurant. people should really become free thinkers and see for themselves.

also a sidenote: the night Ms. Katharine visited The Moghul's the City of Houston had shut off the water that's why she was only able to order a few items off the menu. I would hope that she would return to try any of the other AMAZING items The Moghul's has to offer so that she can truly see what The Moghul's is all about.

Mcally
Mcally

Actually I know for a fact that, that is NOT the owners car, that picture was taken on grand opening night in December. There is a dish I think is called Chilli Chiken. However now that I think about it I really don't recall the actual name... pretty sure it's not Chili Chiken but thats what comes to mind it was sooo good. I truly believe Katherine Shilcutt does not know what shes talking about since she referenced Afghani items when it is and Indian/Pakistan restaurant. Saying that she saw it with her own eyes yesterday but the pic was taken in December??? truly an opinion you can rely on..pfft!

Galenscotus
Galenscotus

yeah, that it's.... And this one computer is used by all 50 production crew to save money, cause you know, Internet Explorer is super costly, like $900 a year...yeah, that's the ticket. So, you see, we all share a single IP address, out of necessity, and frugality as it were....

McAlly
McAlly

that is a terrible burn, I'm sure you could do better than that... referencing home alone??? Lame. how long ago did that movie come out?...

SirRon
SirRon

I don't buy the "no water" story. However, assuming the story is true, I'm surprised no one has inquired about why the city would have turned their water off. The water wasn't off in the area during this time. I pretty sure of it. So, did the moguls, er Moghul's, forget to pay the bill? I'm guessing the accountant that screwed that up got a visit from a goon later that night.

Ed T.
Ed T.

I'm not certain, but I suspect that if the establishment has no water, then they can't properly clean the dishes. Nor can the staff wash their hands. Nor can ANYONE use the restrooms. Any of these conditions SHOULD lead to the closing of the restaurant, until such time as water service is restored.

ChumChum
ChumChum

Knowing this - that the water was turned off - only takes the alledgedly poor service down several notches. Really, would it have been too much trouble for a manager or waiter to explain to Ms. Katherine the situation (no water) at hand. Add to that, that the owners/ managers still thought it was a good idea to stay open even though they had no water... just mind-blowingly horrific! Who would ever eat there after knowing all of this?

BITS
BITS

Yeah, holy shit, that is illegal - so many health code violations - and disgusting. How did people use the bathroom?

XYZ
XYZ

Oh? The city shut off the water? How do you know? If that was the reason the kitchen was closed, why wasn't she told? If the kitchen was closed, how did they cook the food on the buffet?

Sorry, but I read reviews so that I don't have to make costly mistakes. Bad food, bad attitude ... I believe in learning from others. Thank you, Kathleen.

trisch
trisch

I'm not saying I know anything about this restaurant -- didn't even know it existed until this article. But...EWWW! The city shut off their water and they were still open for business?!!! How did they cook anything without water? How did the kitchen and wait staff wash their hands? How did they sanitize china, flatware and glassware? What were they using in the steam table for the buffet? Were they filling water glasses with bottled water? What were they wiping down tables with? Where are the city restaurant inspectors when they're really needed?

Maybe that's why the waiter was in such a pissy mood -- No water for plumbing in the bathrooms? [pun intended!]

SirRon
SirRon

I bet Freethinker likes Calliope's po-boys too. Just saying.

Chris
Chris

Probably shouldn't serve food if there is no water. Maybe that's just my corrupt un-free thinking.

GunsOBrixton
GunsOBrixton

...at prices that only a mogul would love, I might add.

What is it $15.95 for a lunch buffet? You're way better going to Hillcroft, the proper Mahatma Gandhi District.

KashmiriGuriya
KashmiriGuriya

And really? are the owner's the superficial, that every picture on their website of the restaurant show more angles and views of the luxury cars than the actual restaurant. Ugh. This is what happens when people get "new money". People that have never seen money before act like this. There is no reason why ANY car besides a handicapped car should be parked there.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Reading comprehension is a skill so rarely taught in school these days, it seems.

As stated at the VERY TOP OF THE POST, I did not take that picture. It is from The Moghul's website. I also said the same thing to another commenter later on. My dining companion that night, Dr. Ricky, did take a picture of the Bentley parked in a handicapped spot if anyone is truly interested in seeing the same thing we did on Tuesday night.

Come on, now, Mcally. Give it a rest.

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