The Westside of Los Angeles boasts a veritable plethora of Indian Restaurants, some excellent, some good, and some that are slightly less enticing. The majority of these eateries serve mainly Northern Indian dishes, with only a handful offering a choice of Southern Indian styles. I was recently discussing this with a friend and she suggested that I pay a visit to Mayura on Venice Boulevard in Culver City. “Where?” was my bemused response, and she elaborated that this somewhat “best kept secret” offers a huge array of Southern Indian food, as well as a generous list of the ubiquitous Northern Indian tastes. So, this past weekend I sauntered off to Mayura to discover for myself this relatively anonymous restaurant.
Saturday afternoon was hot and busy on Venice Boulevard as I drove down to my lunch date with Mayura (a Sanskrit word for peacock, one of the sacred and highly sanctified birds of the Hindu mythology), I was certainly hoping for some delectable flavors to satiate my growing hunger, and I was not to be disappointed!
Firstly, the dining room at Mayura is very spacious, and the décor is strangely reminiscent of some form of Eastern bazaar, with an assortment of pictures, posters and objets d’art that had that certain “random” level of design. The food however, was anything but random, and, with a lunch buffet choice that offered a greater variety than Imelda Marcos’s shoe collection, it was not a case of being spoilt for choice, but more one of being blessed by mélange!
The buffet ($8.95 weekdays, $11.95 weekends), that changes daily, consisted of chicken curry, goat vindaloo, moong dal, banana baji, steamed rice, vegetable pulav rice, sambar vegetable soup, rasam spicy soup, vegetable theeyal, pumpkin frissery, tandoori chicken, Bombay pav baji, pappadums, nan bread, and a selection of delicious chutneys and condiments. And, if that wasn’t enough I simply had to try Mayura’s signature dish, their fish curry ($9.95) that consisted of quite the most delightfully flaky filet of salmon, served in a tangy and tasty sauce.
Of the buffet dishes, all were good, but I must make special mention of the goat vindaloo, and banana baji. The goat vindaloo was aromatic, and superbly seasoned, with the inherent dryness of the goat meat counterbalanced by complimentary curry gravy that left a slightly spicy lingering after taste. The banana baji is one of the recipes unique to Mayura, and added a welcome sweetness to the proceedings.
To conclude, owner Padmini Anil, who, with a previous 25 years of restaurant business in India, and a wise approach to regional recipes, has created a casual and informal restaurant at Mayura, where, aside from a wide variety of Indian dishes, one will experience some unique, and wonderfully satisfying tastes.
10406 Venice Boulevard, Culver City