Featuring Indian and Chinese Dishes, The Mughal Palace Is Welcomed To Albany

January 26, 2022

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of The Mughal Palace, a casual Indian cuisine restaurant at 138 Washington Ave.

Tahir Mahmood has been working in restaurants for close to five decades – ever since he arrived in the U.S. from the Punjab region of Pakistan as a teenager and landed his first job as a dishwasher.

Mahmood quickly moved on from washing dishes to cooking and discovered that preparing meals for others was his true passion. He is the proprietor of one of the newest additions to the Albany dining scene, the Mughal Palace, a casual Indian restaurant at 138 Washington Ave.

“It’s very long hours, and it’s very hard on families,” Mahmood said of his chosen profession. “But my problem is that I love cooking, and I love restaurants. That’s why I’m in this business. Cooking is my passion and my prayer. When I do this thing, I am standing in front of God, and I am pleasing people. That gives me courage.”

Mughal Palace has been open since last fall, but recently held an official ribbon-cutting celebration.

Over the course of his long career, Mahmood has worked on both U.S. coasts, preparing Indian, Mediterranean and Chinese food for countless diners – including some boldface names like Bill Clinton (during his days as governor of Arkansas), Elizabeth Dole, country singers Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, actor Harrison Ford (“He likes Indian food,” Mahmood said), and many more.

For close to a decade, Mahmood owned a restaurant outside of London called Curry King. (The curry industry reportedly contributes several million dollars to the U.K. economy annually). He gave the business to his three children after his divorce, he said, and they subsequently sold it to help pay for their respective college educations. 

Mahmood said he heard from a friend that the space at 138 Washington Ave. – a basement location across from the Albany Institute of History & Art that was the former home of The French Press Cafe & Creperie, was available. He came and looked at the property and decided it was the perfect spot for his next restaurant.

The Mughal Palace is open seven days a week and features a lunch buffet Monday through Friday. Though the restaurant industry was significantly impacted by the pandemic-induced economic downturn, Mahmood said he has been pleased with the strong reception his restaurant has received.

“I’m satisfied with what I’m doing, and the response is very good,” he said.

The Mughal Palace specializes in northern Indian cuisine, and its menu features many dishes that fans of Indian food have come to expect – like Tandoori Chicken, Samosas, Naan, and Biryani. But there are also some unexpected Indo-Chinese twists, like chicken fried rice and noodles with vegetables, chicken, or garlic and herbs.

Mahmood prides himself on using ingredients imported from India, when possible, fresh spices, Halal meats and homemade sauces. At the age of 61, he is heading up a small staff and cooking every day – something he says gives him energy and helps him “look fresh every day.”

“I’ve worked in so many restaurants for all these years, from 1977 onwards I’m working in restaurants,” he said. “That’s the only thing that I do it, and I love it. That’s why.”




After two years of challenges – from COVID restrictions to labor shortages and supply chain delays – Albany’s businesses have retooled, reimagined, and reopened. From new enterprises to long-standing old favorites, exciting things are happening all over the Capital City. This series will spotlight members of the business community, keeping residents and visitors alike up to date on the latest developments and offerings, including restaurants, retail, nonprofits, and more.