Ali and I tried Mugal last night, a relatively new Indo-Pakistani hole-in-the-wall on University just east of generally well-regarded Kabana in Berkeley.
We shared chicken tikka kabob, palak paneer, and channa masala. Chicken tikka was good, but wasn't served sizzling on the fajita-type platter like it is most other places. Interestingly, it also tasted more strongly of garlic than any other tandoori chicken I've had. All in all, it was tender, fresh, and tasty. Lots of good lightly grilled onions with it, too.
Palak paneer (otherwise known as saag paneer) was perfect - creamy (but not too creamy!) with a great melding of spices. Sometimes curries like palak paneer have one strong note that overwhelms all the other spices. This didn't, even though it was quite spicy hot. Delicious.
Channa masala was not very creamy, which is probably a good thing. It didn't distinguish itself that much, but we didn't dislike it. The chickpeas were nicely cooked and still rather firm, and the tomato-based sauce was good - nothing like ketchup, which is favorable.
Rice was fine, and came with very bland yellow daal and slices of fresh cucumber and red onion.
Naan was good, but a little too thick in spots - it hadn't cooked through completely. Still, nice for sopping up curry.
Mango lassi was thick and good - didn't stand out for any reason. Pretty standard.
Nothing was too oily like it can be at Kabana and Shalimar. The place itself is friendly and cozy and clean, and the prices are reasonable. I'd definitely go back.
We noticed they have the same pricing for tandoori chicken (leg or thigh) as Shalimar - $2.99! We opted for tikka, but the tandoori could be a good bargain option. Next time we'll try the seekh kabob.
Mugal Indian Pakistan Cuisine
1160 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702
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