ZEPHYRHILLS — A tandoor, or clay oven, glows with heat as Mayoor Restaurant owner and chef Samual Sahai cooks fresh vegetables and a spinach-and-cheese sauce over the stove for the upcoming lunch crowd. Reaching into the tandoor he pulls out a skewer lined with chicken for one of the restaurant’s “tandoori delights.”
Sahai took over the Mayoor Restaurant on March 1 from a family member, continuing to use the restaurant’s name and keeping the distinction as the first Indian restaurant in Zephyrhills. The Mayoor Restaurant initially opened in November.
As you enter the restaurant, the Indian culture is evident as four red royal chairs from India are available if you need to wait for a table.
Sahai has 10 years’ experience in cooking in an Indian restaurant in Dallas, but his experience goes back more than a decade. He learned at home while growing up in Delhi.
“It is pure Indian cooking,” he said, “original Indian taste. In the family, we know the good food and we eat good food.”
The menu is filled with a variety of “delights” in addition to tandoori delights. Several other dishes are listed under the headings of “chicken delights, lamb delights,” and “seafood delights.” Naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, is also available fresh from the tandoor. Rice is a basic to Indian recipes, Sahai said, and there are about 20 vegetarian meals — offered at mild, medium or extra spicy.
A recent review on the Yelp website called the Mayoor “the best restaurant in Zephyrhills.”
“The service is outstanding and the food divine. They spice their curry hot, so spicy means spicy - yum!” the reviewer said.
Another Yelp review said: “Great Indian cuisine, best Tikka Masala and curry I have had anywhere. Garlic naan was fantastic. Next time well try the Vindaloo. Service friendly and attentive. Prices reasonable. Highly recommend this to anyone in the area and in the mood for excellent Indian food.”
Sahai, 31, moved to Zephyrhills to open the restaurant. His wife Shalini and his two sons ages 2 and 5 months are still in India. He hopes they will move to the U.S. next year. Sahai’s brother, Joseph, manages the restaurant from India.
The community’s response to the restaurant has been pretty good, Sahai said.
“People are liking the food. They are coming back, they’re bringing their family and friends,” he said, acknowledging that much depends on the seasonal population in the winter months.
Mayoor Indian Restaurant is at 5727 6th St, on the southbound one-way street in Zephyrhills. The restaurant is available for lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner and a-la-carte from 5 to 9 p.m. Takeout is also available. Parties are welcome; the restaurant takes reservations and will cater.
For information call (813) 355-4850 or e-mail [email protected]