By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Mayuri Indian Cuisine brings the dishes of both northern and southern India – with a touch of Indo-Chinese as well – to Westborough.
Sailaja Vavilla, Mayuri's owner, opened the restaurant with her husband, Ramana Vavilla, at the end of April. Ramana is the chef, bringing 20 years of experience to this new venture. The Vavillas are partners in two other Indian restaurants in the Boston area.
Mayuri – the name means “peacock,” the national bird of India – took over the location formerly occupied by Il Forno in the Westborough Shopping Center at the intersection of Route 9 and Lyman Street.
Since the April 28 opening, Mayuri has been “very busy,” especially at lunchtime, Ramana said.
“We picked this location because there is a large Indian population in the area,” he said, and because the site was easy to get to, with plenty of parking.
The Vavillas have completely renovated the space, creating a beautiful dining room with soft green walls and warm wood trim and tables and chairs in dark wood tones. There's a separate function room for private parties that can handle about 35 people.
At lunchtime Mayuri offers one of the most extensive buffets in the area. Diners can choose from about 30 different dishes, both northern and southern Indian specialties with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, plus desserts. The buffet is $9.95 on weekdays and $11.95 on weekends, when some additional choices are available.
The extensive lunch buffet provides a hint of the huge variety of dishes available on Mayuri's menu.
There are about 16 different appetizers alone, including some with Chinese sauces and spices. Prices run from $5.95 to $14.95; the more expensive choices are platters suitable for sharing such as chili shrimp or tandoori mixed grill.
Dosas, the crepe-like specialty of southern India, are available with a variety of fillings, including potato masala, lentils or eggs.
Chicken, lamb, fish and shrimp entrees prepared in the traditional clay tandoori oven highlight another section of the menu. Fish tikka kabab, for example, is salmon chunks marinated in yogurt and spices, then barbecued in the tandoor.
The choices under vegetarian, chicken and seafood categories are extensive, and Mayuri also offers both lamb and goat entrees. Most of the entrees are priced between $9.95 and $14.95.
Ramana's specialty is biryani dishes??”made with basmati rice and served with raita, the cooling condiment of yogurt and cucumber, and curry sauce. There are goat, lamb, vegetable and chicken biryani entrees. He also recommends his homemade Indian cheese, called paneer.
Ramana noted that he can adjust the spiciness level of most dishes to meet a customer's preference.
And if you are craving Indian food but your children balk, Mayuri offers a kid's menu with boneless chicken strips or chicken nuggets and french fries for $4.95.
Mayuri does not have a liquor license, so customers are welcome to bring their own beverages.
I talked with the Vavillas in the afternoon, as the busy lunch period was winding down, and while we talked, the staff made up a selection of items from the buffet for me to take home, so my husband and I feasted on Indian food that evening.
It was all delicious, even reheated. Chicken tikka, tender and slightly charred from the tandoor, is one of my favorites, but we also enjoyed some less familiar options, including tender chunks of lamb in a mild sauce; a vegetarian dish of potatoes and cauliflower, and chunks of the paneer cheese in a mild, creamy sauce with green peas.
Usually, when I eat in an Indian restaurant, I's much too full for dessert, so it was especially fun to try the two desserts the staff included. Rice kheer is a traditional rice pudding with sweetened milk, a mild and welcome finish for a spicy meal. The bright orange gajar ka hahwa was absolutely unfamiliar to me. This is a carrot and milk pudding flavored with nuts and spices, dense and sweet and really interesting.
That's the joy of a lunch buffet as extensive as the one Mayuri offers. You can enjoy your personal favorites, but you can also try a dish or two that you'se never had before. When you visit, do sample the carrot pudding!
Most of the items on the Mayuri menu are available for takeout, and the restaurant does off-premises catering in addition to hosting functions in its private room.
Mayuri serves lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dinner is served starting at 5 p.m. daily, until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
The restaurant is located at 30 Lyman St., in the Westborough Shopping Center. For additional information, call 508-898-1888 or visit the website, www.mayurirestaurant.com.