The Asia Diaries: Mantra

Located at: Sunway Pyramid Mall, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Visited on: 03rd October, 2022

Mantra used to be our favourite Indian restaurant during our stay in Sunway, Malaysia between 2008-2012. It was a much larger space on the ground floor of Sunway Pyramid, as opposed to the smaller affair that is now hidden away on the second lower ground level. The food, back then, was sublime and, in fact, this was where my family’s love for butter chicken first took root. So, we had to go back during our recent visit and see if things were still as good as they used to be.

We decided to stick to the good old stuff and started off with their Sweet and Salt Lassi (MYR 15.00). This was pretty good, just like old times. Neither too sweet, nor too salty, and just the right viscosity. An encouraging start to our afternoon.

Sweet and Salt Lassi

For lunch, we ordered their Prawn Biryani (MYR 28.50), which we used to love. The prawns used to be bigger back then, but we wouldn’t be talking about their size (understandably it depends on availability as well) had the rice itself tasted better. It was good, but there was something amiss about it. Definitely not as special as it used to be. The prawns themselves could have used a little more seasoning. Also, they did not serve raita with the biryani and when we inquired about it, we were told that it needs to be ordered separately – which is odd, given that pretty much every other Indian restaurant that we have been to serves raita (and gravy) as an accompaniment to the biryani.

Prawn Biryani

The Butter Murgh – butter chicken (MYR 24.70) was quite delicious. It’s hard to say if it was the same spectacular dish that we first fell in love with, but the gravy still managed to tantalise our tastebuds and was full of the rich tomato-based flavour that one would expect from the dish.

Butter Murgh

It was a great accompaniment for the Garlic Naan (MYR 6.80 per bread) that we ordered. The naan itself was nice and thin, and came out warm and fresh.

Garlic Naan

Food aside, one thing that definitely stood out at the new Mantra was the poor energy of the staff. Back in the day, the staff were extremely friendly, attentive and active – which is a far cry from the lethargic and unfriendly replacements who now serve at the restaurant. Quite a shame, as this directly reflects on the overall experience of the diner. The place was relatively quiet when we visited for lunch – one can only begin to imagine what the service might be like during busy hours.

Overall, it wasn’t the same culinary experience that we had looked forward to. But it nearly got there.

Yummy Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

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