Mowgli is more than just a taste of India. As you walk into its Water Street, Liverpool establishment, the senses are awakened. Brought to life and set alight. This is not about the intimate, hushed dining experience. It is about the smash-and-grab zing of healthy, light, virtuosic herbs and spices. It is about being seduced by the aroma of food born to make you happy. It is an experience that lives long in the memory and leaves you wishing to return.
A Force of Nature
Nisha Katona is the woman behind Mowgli. An incredible force of nature with a tireless drive and ambition which inspires and ignites. Before entering the relentless and unforgiving world of cuisine she worked full-time as a child protection barrister for 20 years on the Northern Circuit. in 2008 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed her trustee of National Museums Liverpool and in 2009 she was appointed by the Cabinet Office, Ambassador for Diversity in Public Appointments.
She then switched to teaching about Indian cuisine before founding Mowgli Street Food restaurants in 2104. She also established and chairs the Mowgli Trust, which donates over £300,000 to local and world charities every year.
Nisha received an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours List for services in the Food Industry and on January 1, 2022, she was also appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. She is the first alumni of the University to become Chancellor, a mark of the respect and high esteem she is held in.
In July 2021, Nish was also selected to join the newly formed Hospitality Council, a team of leading industry experts assembled to deliver the government’s Hospitality Strategy. With strategic aims to help hospitality firms to re-open, recover and become more resilient following the pandemic.
Her absurdly impressive and exhausting resume also includes being the author of three cookbooks: Pimp My Rice, The Spice Tree, and The Mowgli Street Food: Authentic Indian Street Food. Her fourth book, The 30-Minute Mowgli was released on November 9, 2021. She is also a regular on television and radio including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Food Network, and Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet.
From the Streets of India
In 2014, Nisha had a nagging ambition to create something different. Mowgli is all about how Indians eat at home and on their streets and it is food with such a vibrant explosion of flavours that it takes you on a journey to those roots
Mowgli is now proud to have 14 restaurants nationally. It is a fresh honest home and street food kitchen: pared back and unplugged. “Mowgli is a home from home for the hungry and continues to be for our teams and guests. It is a place that is toddler and dog friendly, Somewhere you can spend time alone with a book, fed and plugged in” says Nisha.
The simple dishes of a Mowgli menu are a million miles away from the curry stereotype. These dishes convey the truth that real Indian food is extremely healthy, often vegan and always packed with fresh flavour.
Nisha, a dedicated curry evangelist, has fond hopes for Mowgli’s continued growth and she still insists on hand-picking curry virgins for her kitchens, hand-training each new Mowgli chef.
Mowgli was also created with charitable giving as a central pillar to the business. It is something that enables them to enrich the lives of their teams, and give back to the communities that they belong to and serve.
Through the Trust, they currently donate up to £500k a year to their carefully chosen charitable partners. Being able to grow this number each year motivates Nisha to take Mowgli to even more cities across the UK.
It is exciting times for Mowgli. With 14 restaurants and 4 more openings soon, Nisha has managed to battle against a pandemic and continue to grow her business.
The background story of a brand and its charity work alone can’t carry one of the UK’s most loved establishments through one of the toughest times society has ever known.
At the end of the day in a brutally harsh industry and climate, it is ultimately the food which does the talking. It is something that Mowgli manages with ease.
Its tantalising array dishes and kaleidoscopic colours taste as good as they look. It is not only a feast for the eyes, but the soul and the belly too. The remarkable interior and decor, go hand in hand with the energetic atmosphere and outstanding service which leaves you in culinary heaven.
Nisha best describes what it is to experience Mowgli.
“It is to feel like the tired colonial buildings in Calcutta, tree roots growing through, Street food vendors sizzling their golden spiced magic in corners lit only by the amber twinkle fairy lights.”
The only sense of disappointment you may feel is calling for the cheque and realising it’s time to go home. In a time where we have been ill-afforded so little joy. Mowgli is a place which can pick you up and take you away and give you a taste of what you’ve been missing.
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