Mayura’s $10 Kerala Buffet Is Not Essential Eating, But It’s Damn Good

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It’s a new year and naturally everybody is trying to find ways to be healthy… so how do I follow up my January 2nd list of “healthy” lunches? With lunch at an all you can eat buffet, of course! (I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself.) If you’re vegetarian, or love vegetarian Indian food, you are probably already aware of the wealth of riches in the Culver City area. Samosa House and Samosa House East make me forget how much I love meat (for an hour at least) and India Sweets and Spices does some good stuff too. There’s also the most excellent Bawarachi, which does these pretty great fake chicken wings that I’ll get around to posting some day. But if you want some meat with your Indian food, the best option in the area has got to be the $10 all you can eat lunch buffet at Mayura.

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As is to be expected with any amazing ethnic restaurant in the greater L.A. area, The Guru has been a big fan of Mayura for years. He wrote about it in Counter Intelligence back in 2008, and recently called it one of the 99 Essential Restaurants in Los Angeles- recommending the Kerala style specialties (like the biryani), while warning against the standard dishes like chicken tikka masala and lamb korma. Not surprisingly, the buffet serves a lot of the boring stuff- but there are enough stand out dishes on any given day to make it completely worth the price tag.  (And it’s all you can eat!)

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Mayura is a small to medium size buffet. There’s usually 4 vegetarian dishes (including a soup), some kind of fried option (pakoras on the day we were there), 2 meat dishes, tandoori chicken, a few different rices, naan, salad, chutneys and dessert.

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It Tastes Better Than it Looks

The meat dishes were all pretty standard but tasty (they had lamb, which is always a bonus), and the pakoras and lemon rice were both good. They also had appam, these white fluffy pancake things that JGold was also a big fan of. But the standout dish the day we were there was this really flavorful dry cauliflower and lentils dish, which didn’t hold back on the spice. (My mouth was on fire!) Luckily there was plenty of raita to cool it down, plus gulab jamun for dessert (those fried doughnut balls swimming in syrup.)

The dishes change daily, so you’re not guaranteed to get the cauliflower dish or even the lamb (for example, yesterday they had a biryani and a fish dish- neither of which were there the first time) but what you are guaranteed to get is a tasty, all you can eat Kerala’ish Indian meal, with veggies *and* meat for under $10. How can that be beat? And as for the essential dishes recommended by JGold? There’s always dinner…

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I love the Indian restaurants in Culver City, but sometimes you need some meat!
  • I love me some all you can eat Indian buffet
  • The couple of Kerala dishes they incorporate into the buffet make it a little more interesting than normal
  • These guys don’t hold back on the spice!

THE – (What somebody who didn’t like this place would say)

  • The vegetarian options are good, but aren’t as varied as places in the area like Samosa House and Bawarachi
  • All you can eat is dangerous.  I’d rather pay a little less, and stick to steam table spots in the area
  • If I’m going to Mayura I don’t want to waste my stomach space with tandoori chicken.  I’ll stick to the regular menu…
  • Too spicy!  I like my Indian food a bit more toned down

Mayura, 10406 Venice Boulevard, 310-559-9644

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1 Comment

  • I’ve always been curious about their buffet. It looks good, but AYCE is way too dangerous for me – I have a lot more self control when it comes to ordering than when more food is just a few steps away.

    I think I’ll stick to their dinner specialties. On my first visit to Mayura, I had a great experience when I ordered some specialties recommended by the waitress. My second visit, ordered more traditional dishes and while it was decent, wasn’t nearly as memorable. I should have known better and read the Guru’s review first.

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