Mini Mughal sounds like a cleverly placed alliteration that leans towards being an oxymoron, unless it refers something close to the famous miniature paintings of the Mughal era. But there cannot be a more apt name for a place started in Jor Bagh in 1982 that serves Mughali cuisine. After three decades, followers and fans of its famous butter chicken now throng a strategically placed busy corner at the M Block market of Greater Kailash II to visit Mini Mughal.
Started by Ravi Chadha, Raj Kishan Chopra and M L Chopra in the early Eighties, the place has created a niche for itself. It was love for food and friendship that brought the trio together to start a culinary affair. “From the day it was started, they were clear about one thing—they wanted to serve Mughlai cuisine in a healthy way. The emphasis was on moderately spicy and less oily food,” says Deepak Chopra, the son of Raj Kishan Chopra and current owner of the place. In the early Eighties, when butter chicken meant a roasted bird served in rich gravy with dollops of butter, they dreamed to be different. They served butter chicken but controlled the amount of spices and butter that went into it. Did the people like it? “They loved it. The menu was first designed keeping in mind the foreign tourist. With many embassies nearby, Jor Bagh is a location often visited by foreign clients. It was a common practice to sight celebrities and industrialist at our place then,” says Deepak.
Their food journey took an unexpected turn when Mini Mughal shifted to Gurgaon in 2008. Lack of reponse, as it was mainly visited by working crowd of the city, prompted Deepak to start operating from the current location in Greater Kailash II. “We came here in 2012 as its close to our residence. Thanks to our patrons, the place has once again become a must-visit place for families,” says Deepak’s wife Sonia Chopra. They have not changed the menu much as they plan to carry forward the decades-old legacy. “The only new item added to the menu is Nihari Meat which now is Mini Mughal’s special,” points out Deepak.
The restaurant remains open throughout the week. “After the positive response and demands from our patrons, we have started working seven days a week. Earlier Tuesdays were a holiday,” adds Deepak. Besides chicken butter chicken, which happens to be their signature dish, the crowd keeps coming back for Nihari Meat, Kalmi Kebab, Chicken Burra, and Baingan Mirch ka Salan.