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A Movable Beast: L.A. Weekly's 99 Essential Restaurants The modern L.A. restaurant, unleashed
By Jonathan Gold Thursday, Nov 11 2010

MAYURA

Formidable mustachios, women in bright saris gesturing with scraps of dosa, a flatscreen in the corner flashing Bollywood clips — it's a scene out of Cochin, not what you might expect a block or two from the big Culver City studios. Nowhere in California will you find another restaurant specializing in the cooking of Kerala, a strip of southern India shaped by a thousand years of spice trading. And even if you are familiar with other local southern Indian restaurants, a lot of the food may be new to you: saucer-shaped rice-flour pancakes called appam; the complexly spiced fish curry with undernotes of tamarind and garlic; and ven pongal, a peppery concoction of rice lashed with cumin, cashews and ungodly amounts of melted butter. If Mayura happens to be offering its special Kerala-style biryani, order it without question. The fluffiness of the rice and the sharpness of the spicing are superb.

As an Indian restaurant on the Westside, Mayura is a full-service establishment, not serving alcohol but not objecting when you bring your own; offering northern Indian dishes as out of place as sauerbraten would be on an Italian menu; and preparing dull but Halal-compliant plates of chicken tikka and lamb korma but cooking them in a separate kitchen so that vegetarians need not fear the errant bit of flesh in their bisi bele bath. Have another dosa instead. 10406 Venice Blvd., Culver City. (310) 559-9644, mayura-indian-restaurant.com. Open Mon., 5-10 p.m., Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Beer and wine. Takeout, delivery and catering. Lot parking. AE, D, MC, V. Location map here

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Food Infused With Faith HARINI NARASIMHAN, Apr 21, 2011

"Welcome, welcome, welcome," a bubbly Padmini Puthanpurayil greets us at the door, a vision in a bright orange sari, looking quite unlike the Ph.D. professor that I had expected. We have driven over a hundred miles to sample the buffet at Mayura restaurant in Culver City. She ushers us to a booth and directs us to the sumptuous buffet whose aromas wafted invitingly into the parking lot.

We approach the buffet and tentatively try a teaspoon of each item—white appam, yellow mango chutney, red pickles, brown sambar and rasam, a colorful smorgasbord that looks like any buffet found in an Indian restaurant in North America. But just one bite and we could tell the difference. "I fly to India every three months to bring fresh spices directly from the farms," says Padmini."You won't find anything that has been sitting in a warehouse here—everything is absolutely fresh and that’s what gives it the special taste. I bring back cardamom, ginger, cloves, turmeric, star anise and black pepper every trip directly from the farms."

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