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Monday, October 04, 2010

Mantra Indian Restaurant, Ryde


Jewelled print in the dining room

Bollywood glamour.

You wouldn't know it from the outside--a bland concrete facade perched at a busy intersection in Ryde--but enter Mantra and you'll find an over-the-top spectacle of diamantes, gold and silk, a whirling riot of colour that screams Bollywood on speed.



There's so much to take in, I don't know where to look first. Everything is glittery and shiny and glammed up with bling.


A's Nepali sari

We're here tonight to celebrate A's daughter's pasne or rice feeding ceremony, an event performed at five months for females (six months for males) which signifies the start of weaning, moving from milk and onto solids.

Family and friends fill the back room, swelling the room with happy chatter and laughter as kids run underfoot with high pitched squeals. A looks exquisite in a traditional Nepali silk sari that is brilliant magenta in colour and decorated with blue and silver sequins.







Chicken tikka

Dinner is a group banquet, commencing with entrees that are shared on each table. Chicken tikka is succulent and juicy beneath its spicy yoghurt, garlic and chilli marinade.


Spring rolls


Sheek kebab

Spring rolls seem like an unusual inclusion on the menu, tasting much like a Chinese restaurant version, but sheek kebab is reassuringly back to the traditional, skewers of lamb mince mixed with mace and fennel seeds and then cooked in a tandoor oven.


Paneer tikka

Paneer tikka is a brilliant orange colour, cubes of panner--a firm Indian cottage cheese--smothered in a mix of spices.


Samosa chat

Samosas are piping hot from the fryer, their rustic appearance a testament to their handmade production. The pastry is the best part, thick and super crunchy, although the filling of potatoes and peas is delicious too.




Murghan qurma pistachio, Lamb roganjosh, Malai kofta dhoopchaon,
Fingri dhulma and Saade chawal

We queue up for our main course, a series of dishes dispensed from warmers by staff. There's plenty of heat but a complexity of spice as well, from the murghan qurma pistachio (chicken breast cooked in pistachio paste with yoghurt and almond) to the lamb roganjosh (diced lamb cooked in onion, tomato and coriander).

Malai kofta dhoopchaon consists of spinach and cottage cheese dumplings sweetened with raisins and nutty with ground cashews. Fingri dulma is the second vegetarian dish, combining mushrooms and cottage cheese with tomatoes, yoghurt and coriander.

We soak up the curries with saade chawal saffron rice and rounds of fluffy naan.


Belly dancer

We're entertained halfway through dinner by a belly dancer, a vision of hot pink and tassles who shakes her hips and shimmies her torso with enviable fluidity. The kids are entranced, following her as she makes her way around the room, imitating her moves with giggles. Audience participant is part of the act, and I'm impressed when most of the room gets up later to dance, a mood of fun and joy as fathers carry their kids on their shoulders and young mingle with old.

A resident DJ on Friday and Saturday nights gives the place more of a nightclub feel than a family restaurant, and R&B tunes get cranked up as the night wears on.


A and her daughter

It's a celebration of family and friends, of children and doting grandparents. A night of good food and music with a touch of glitter.


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Mantra Indian on Urbanspoon

Mantra Indian Restaurant
100 Blaxland Road, Ryde, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9808 2266

Opening hours:
Lunch 7 days 12pm-2.30pm
Dinner 7 days 5.30pm til late

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Indian - Faheem Fast Food, Enmore
Indian - Janani, Homebush
Indian - Kammadhenu, Newtown
Indian - Maya Masala, Surry Hills
Indian - Viva Goa, Pyrmont

12 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/04/2010 03:22:00 am


12 Comments:

  • At 10/04/2010 12:35 pm, Anonymous fooderati said…

    Such gorgeous, rich colours! Great photos, lady :)

     
  • At 10/04/2010 1:25 pm, Blogger Brenda said…

    Everyhing looks beautiful - the food, the colours, the people. Congrats to the little angel too : )

     
  • At 10/04/2010 1:43 pm, Blogger Ladybird said…

    Looks like a lovely lovely event - great food, great company and great ambience!

     
  • At 10/04/2010 1:43 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    So much pretty! I want to live in that first photo's painting. With lots of paneer tikka, of course...

     
  • At 10/04/2010 4:18 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    Perfectly timed for the opening of the Commonwealth Games! Love the photos especially the one of the flower garlands with the chandelier!

     
  • At 10/04/2010 4:56 pm, Blogger missklicious said…

    Such a beautiful and colourful setting - and the food looks delicious too, a bit odd that they had spring rolls though!

     
  • At 10/04/2010 9:44 pm, Blogger sugarpuffi said…

    whoaa what a lovely setting! the food doesnt look as nice but still good :P

     
  • At 10/04/2010 10:09 pm, Blogger Von said…

    I love how Indian restaurants look so pretty and different. The food looks really yummy- I love Indian food =) It's so flavoursome! The sheek kebab looks so good!

     
  • At 10/05/2010 1:25 am, Blogger FFichiban said…

    Did you end up showing off your belly dancing skills you got from last time :P?

     
  • At 10/05/2010 11:17 pm, Blogger Maz at Dimmi said…

    Hi Helen,

    I visited Mantra not long ago and you're spot on about there being so much to take it! It's like a rainbow explosion! Remember when we dined awhile ago I mentioned I would also love to blog? We have set one up at Dimmi so looks like I've got my chance! Looking forward to being continuously inspired by you and your fork!

    Cheers,

    Maz

     
  • At 10/07/2010 8:56 am, Anonymous Anjana said…

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks heaps for the posting Helen.

    Thank you Brenda for calling her an 'Angel'.

    Helen this is awesome and of course the night was great. Good blend of bollywood music/food, Nepalese folks and Aussie mates with the best twists of bellydancing.

    Your coverage is bringing back the memory of the best evening of my life.

     
  • At 10/11/2010 1:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Hi Hannah - I had to caption that first photo in case people thought it was the dining room. lol

    Hi YaYa - I didn't even realise. A timely coincidence :)

    Hi missklicious - The spring rolls were a bit odd. We thought there might be an Indian twist but they tasted pretty Chinese to us :)

    Hi FFichiban - There was dancing but not the belly kind. lol

    Hi Maz - Congrats on finally starting your food blog. It looks great!

    Hi Anjana - Thank you so much for the kind invitation. It was a spectacular evening :)

     

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