The Magic of Curry Mantra

The word “mantra” is derived from Sanskrit, its literal meaning being instrument of thought. In Indian culture it is said to be the thing that inspires magic, and at Curry Mantra our first bite of food bewitched us from the start.

We’re still not quite sure whether it was the vegetable and rice dish that we sampled or the crispy, crepe-like bread known as Masala Dosa that made our mouths water, but we do know that every dish sampled left us sweetly satisfied. Having just opened their second location in Fairfax, along Little River Turnpike, Curry Mantra has a long history of bringing authentic Indian cuisine to the community. Their first location in Bombay has been in business for 25 years and has built up an impeccable reputation.

“Our core product is curries from every region of India,” current owner Asad said. “We have daily chef’s specials that highlight the numerous delicacies that can be found around India.”

Asad has been working in the food industry for many years. After managing franchises like COSI and Au Bon Pain, he opened his own Quiznos. He has been living in the Fairfax area for roughly ten years.

The décor also reflected this idea, with walls in deep red and magenta hues that reflected the soft lighting hand-selected by Asad himself. These accentuate the beautiful artwork hung along the walls that showcase various elements of Indian culture, including a woman dressed in traditional attire and beautiful landscapes of the country. The dining room features plain tables and chairs covered in fresh, white linens.

Once your visual senses are piqued, your taste buds are tantalized by the wide array of menu options that Curry Mantra offers. Their menu is broken down into categories of bread, chicken dishes, lamb and fish dishes, vegetarian options and desserts. After receiving a brief tour of the back kitchens, we were able to see their Tandoor Clay ovens that lend themselves to truly authentic Indian flavors. This view had an immense impact on the dishes that we ultimately ordered. The staff was attentive and helpful when discussing the differences in flavor, spice and region of each dish. This is a perfect example of the magnificent service you will find from the moment you walk into Curry Mantra.

After a very brief wait, our main course, the Chicken Tikka Masala, arrived in a steaming bowl alongside of a bed of basmati rice. The dulcified flavors of the curry lived up to the heavenly aromas we had begun to smell upon entering Curry Mantra on empty stomachs. Although the color could be seen as unusual to some, with its bright orange hues reminiscent of a pumpkin patch, it merely acts a coating to the perfectly cooked chicken just below the surface.

While dining, we were informed of how family-friendly the restaurant is by Asad, who detailed the Maharaja Weekend Brunch Buffet, where children under 10 years of age eat free. We would like to point out that no student at AHS could pass for this age, so its best you do not attempt this. Prices, however, are one thing you don’t have to fear if you are planning on visiting Curry Mantra for lunch or dinner, with main courses ringing in below $15 and smaller plates for even less.

This new Indian restaurant is soon to be a household staple among the Annandale community. With their friendly service, great food and family-friendly atmosphere, Curry Mantra is the perfect place for adventuresome eaters and food lovers alike.

For more information on the restaurant, visit their website at www.currymantra.com