By Donn Swaby

A Taste of India Down South




I love Indian food. From somosas to curries, to tandoori, I have always delighted in savoring the tastes of a cuisine that invariably leaves me satisfied. But I never knew that what I had been eating, whether on the East or West coast, has been predominantly of the Northern variety, leaving Indian cuisine of the southern kind underrepresented. Not anymore.

Mayura, is a new restaurant in Culver City that has more than filled that gap. Patrons can enter a room with plenty of space between tables and booths, and be greeted by the genuinely warm and welcoming smiles of the owners, Dr. Padmini Pulhan Puraijel and her husband Anil. Hailing from the state of Kerela, whose national bird is the mayura, or peacock, at the southern most tip of India, they, along with the help of Dr. Puraijel's sister and head chef, Sathic Venugopal, have designed a menu sure to arouse the most discerning of taste buds.

Kerela is famous for its abundance of a plethora of spices such as tamarind, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, and cloves. All of these ingredients, including coconut, onions, and fermented grains help create unique flavors sure to please the palette. In addition to offering traditional naan, Mayura also serves Appam made of fermented rice which makes light, fluffy, wonderful tasting bread. The Appum is cut into six inch circles for serving and is a delicious accompaniment to any curry dish. The dosas are simply divine- very large, thin, crispy crepes made from ground rice and lentils, filled with different items like potato, onions, jalapenos, fresh vegetables, or mozzarella cheese. The Spinach Masala Dosa has a perfect balance of garlic, mint, and spinach. The fish curry, salmon made with tamarind and coconut, is another house specialty not to be passed up. There is a wide variety of chicken, lamb, and vegetarian dishes, including uthappam (Indian pizza) and the mango lasee with yogurt, cardamom, and saffron is the perfect drink to go with anything on the menu.

Arriving to the U.S. in 2003, Dr. Puraijel, holds a PhD in Commerce and Philospohy, respectively, from the University of Kerela, where she also taught business. Anil, her husband, first managed another restaurant before opening Mayura, in order to learn the ins and outs of running a business in the United States. “We want to build a conscious business,” states Dr. Puraijel. “We seek to choose the right thing in everything we do, the right product in regards to its freshness of ingredients, in the right price in regards to keeping the restaurant cost effective for the customers, and the right way of treating both customers and employers. We try to make sure everyone is happy.” Dr. Puraijel not only teaches her children this philosophy, but continues to counsel local entrepreneurs starting off in business. “Everything is divinely ordered,” she states. “When you are doing the right thing you have a positive attitude that will build more self-confidence.”

This mixture of spirituality and business, combined with great food and superbly genuine service, makes Mayura feel like a home you can come into and share food that nourishes the body in an atmosphere that cultivates the soul.



Mayura Tues. -Sun. 11 AM - 10 PM

16406 Venice Blvd. No alcohol

Culver City Takeout, delivery, and catering

(310)559-9644 Lot parking


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© Melt Magazine 2009