Sai Mantra Review - February 2015
If you’re getting a little bored with similar menus in Indian restaurants, then you
might take a trip to the Sai Mantra. Go there with an open mind, and don’t expect
to find all of the usual dishes – some of them, but not all. Sai Mantra describes
itself as Indian, Indo-Chinese and Sri Lankan cuisine. However, the usual Cobra beer
is served, draught available but they were experiencing a little difficulty with
that, but once we had re-ordered, all was well.
The first surprise after the different menu choices was the poppadums, or rather
the Masala Pappads. These were spiced poppadums, with chopped onion, tomato and
coriander on top – rather unfairly described by one of our party as diet bruschetta.
But they were very tasty and made a enjoyable change, and incidentally we were still
able to get some lime pickle for them!
The next deviation from the norm was the advice from the waiter not to order sides,
as their portions were very big. Their starters were truly impressive, especially
the Dosas which were huge, long thin pancakes with a variety of fillings – well worth
trying. Also the onion bhaji were not the usual round balls, but more a pile; nevertheless,
they were commented on very favourably.
As a vegetarian, I often long for different items to try, so I had a Chilli Mogo
from the Indo-Chinese starter section – this was very spicy, as it was essentially
chillies with a wonderfully flavoured batter, much better than a vegetable samosa!
For my main dish, I chose a Kathatika Kara Kolambu – tempted by the name as much
as anything, and this too was a a dish with a lovely flavour, but personally I would
have liked the aubergine cut a little thicker. The staff also provided us with some
complimentary dishes to try – Mutton Devil, and Fish Tikka Ajwani, which again my
meat-eating friends were impressed with. The portions were all generous, as was
the rice, in large bowls. The general impression was that the sauces all the dishes
were cooked in were lovely, but at times the meat was a bit on the chewy side. As
an aside, it was very refreshing to have freshly squeezed orange juice, rather than
from a ‘from concentrate’ carton.
So, you could if you wanted have your usual Indian dishes here, but the advantage
and the challenge of visiting somewhere like the Sai Mantra is to go off piste, be
a little adventurous and who knows, you might discover a new taste to enjoy.
Common Curry - Average prices
Certificate - no certificate awarded
Web site - None
Summary - Different, a South Indian menu, but not the best location. None of the
dishes are bland and the Dosas are quite exciting. You have to go and try it to make
your own mind up.
- Nice pops, with the onion and tomato on top. Eat them before they get soggy
- Service was informative and helpful
- Cider - went out to buy some specially
- Mutton surprise starter - lovely
- Fish fry variation starter, very nice, good flavour
- Chetinand chicken curry, tasty
- Kathirika Kara Kolaman - aubergine, nicely spicy sauce but aubergine a bit thin
- Madras masala dosa, spectacular, too much with a main course
- Madras bread very good
- Very bright lights
- Service speed was variable and generally a bit slow
- Not enough description on an unusual menu
- No Cobra and the Kingfisher a bit warm
- Dishes served as they were cooked - someone has to be last!
- Chetinand Lamb curry was 'firm'
- Lamb jalfezi, meat tough