As you enter Moti in Roppongi you know you’re in good company with a picture of Janet Jackson and her mother (also mother of Michael Jackson as the caption duly informs, in case you didn’t know) up on the wall amongst other celebrity guests who have eaten here. Passing by the celebrity snaps, it’s easy to forget you’re in the heart of Tokyo with the distinctive Indian themed interior, colourful, perhaps garish but it all adds to the feel that this is a little more authentic than the average curry joint in Tokyo serving up mild, creamy curries to placate the Japanese taste buds. Another positive sign was three different tables of Indian diners, which is a strong indication that the food is far closer to home than the Japanese curry rice packs.
The food doesn’t fail to deliver. The restaurant prides itself on the fact that no pork, beef or animal fat has ever been used in their food since it opened in 1978 but the menu is expansive with a large number of vegetable, chicken, mutton and seafood curries to choose from in a range of different cooking styles.
There is also a wide variety of side dishes including the usual naan and rice but in addition poppadoms, samosas, mango chutney, pickled chilis and raita – rarities in a Japanese curry house. Upon ordering, the waiter also asked on our desired spice level and assuming it to be a Japanese scale I asked for extremely hot but be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted and they served up a chicken saag with a real kick unlike any curry I had eaten in Japan before.
The prices are a little higher than the average curry restaurant (around 1,500 yen per curry) but the portion was about three or four times larger than the standard small metal bowl which has become the norm in Japan. If going in a large group, a few of the side dishes and a few curries to share should suffice. The naan is also large and cooked to perfection, alternating between crispness and softness. Whilst the average curry restaurant in Japan will limit its bread selection to naan, here you can choose from pranthas, rotis, kulchas and bhathuras as well as basmati rice as an alternative to the sticky, east Asian style.
In addition to the Roppongi branch, Moti has a restaurant in Futako Tamagawa and there are plans to open a third in Shinagawa in the near future whilst they also offer a delivery service. The website provides additional details alongside the headline ‘The finest Indian dining in Japan’ and based on our evidence it’s hard to argue with them!