For me, Indian and Pakistani cuisines are very likely my favorite, with some intense competition from Thai and Jamaican. The theme here is that all of them are heavy with extremely intense flavors and often mouth burning heat. There are a number of good quality Indian restaurants in the Middle Georgia region, I have never really found one that was terrible, but a couple rank above the rest. One of those is Curry Mantra.
My wife and I discovered the restaurant about a year ago and were so impressed that we ended up going back 2 more time over the next week or so. I would like to say that this was the only time we did that, but since there have been times when a craving has brought us back twice in a week. Not only is the food excellent, but the service has always been prompt and friendly and they give you the feeling that they are happy you are there.
On this visit, I broke away from my usual Chicken Vindaloo and ordered their Special Chicken Curry. Unfortunately, I did not ask about the ingredients of the dish and the menu description is lacking, but it was extremely delicious. As usual, I ordered it extra hot. This is likely too hot for most people, but for me it was enjoyably spicy, just enough to cause a few beads of perspiration to form at my hairline. The creaminess of yoghurt was evident as well as a slight sweetness that complimented the spiciness.
With it, we ordered garlic naan, which had a light butteriness and a not at all overpowering taste of garlic. It was a good companion to the saucy and spicy meat stew.
My wife ordered the lamb seekh kebab, which were cooked on skewers, but served on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet with onions and peppers. She ordered it mild, so it was small bit less flavorful that I prefer, but the meat still had a well balanced mix of spices. I would probably still lean toward my favorite spot for kebabs, but I don’t think anyone would be disappointed and I would never send them back. This dish also complimented the naan and was good with or without a little bit of mint sauce.
We had also ordered an appetizer of vegetable samosas. The order is served as two very large stuffed pastries and although they are delicious, you get enough food in your entrée that they are truly just optional. Ordering them will mean you will likely be taking food home.
The décor is a notch more fancy than most Indian restaurants, with folded thick napkins and large glass water goblets on the table as well as sturdy utensils. Indian inspired artwork adorns the room. Although they have a buffet, they are not a buffet restaurant as it is only available at lunch time. I have only come for dinner and have never seen it in operation, but it might be a good option for those getting introduced to Indian food who might like a few entrees and sides to try.
One, and maybe the only, negative is that the bathrooms are undersized and could use a major upgrade. Overall, you will pay a little bit more than most Indian places, but without an appetizer and with water, you can expect to pay about $16 a person for dinner with leftovers. If you go all out, order a mango lassi and a desert, expect to pay about $25 per person. Again, you will take home leftovers.
Curry Mantra is worth the money and you get what you pay for. A little extra class and a nice casual place for a pre-movie dinner on date night.
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