Mayabazar is named after a movie, the interior decorated with a massive art piece inspired by the film.
The restaurant specializes in Hyderabadi cuisine, a special type of regional Indian fare, and is totally halal.
A huge 60-seat interior is ideal for large groups and events, seating a mix of tables and booths.
A half order of tandoori chicken ($10.99) is a best seller, served on a sizzling platter. Marinated in yogurt and broiled in the restaurant’s clay oven, with the heavy use of spices it can be easy to let the quality of the meat take a backseat.
Here, it’s juicy and silken, the cook on the chicken is as good as the tasty, bright orange charred exterior, and a mint chutney on the side really sets off the spices with lots of fresh, herby flavour.
Golconda mutton curry ($14.99) is named for a historic fort in Hyderabad, a very spicy, earthy, slightly bitter combination of browned onions, minced meat and bone-in meat cubes seasoned with Hyderabadi masala.
The minced meat is viscous and heavily spiced, the meat pulled from the bone tender and moist.
Mehti malai chicken ($12.99) isn’t officially on the menu when I visit, but ought to be. It’s named for the leaf it’s heavily flavoured with, also known as fenugreek. Along with lots of cream, it gives the curry a slightly similar feel to butter chicken, but maybe a little lighter, more herbaceous and less sweet.
Again, the chicken bathing in the pool of mildly spicy sauce is tender enough to pull apart easily, but not at all stringy. This dish can also be prepared with paneer.
Hyderabadi chicken dum biryani is fairly priced at $10.99 for a heaping portion, two pieces of succulent chicken marinated in fragrant biryani herbs and spices and cooked in layers of steaming basmati rice. The whole dish has a nice even heat to it.
It comes with a cooling raita that adds some moisture to the rice, and a thin mirchi ka salan sauce made with lots of Indian spices and peanuts.
Thick, fluffy fresh naan starts at $2.25, $2.49 for indulgent butter naan flecked with sesame seeds.
Upgrade to garlic naan for $2.99, powerfully aromatic and scattered with brightening fresh coriander, the surface nicely oily and bubbly.
Mango lassi ($3.99) isn’t as thick or tangy as some, but still bursts with lots of refreshing mango flavour and creaminess.
This is a good place to go to get a standard impression of what a contemporary reflection of Hyderabadi cuisine has to offer, with lots of dishes you might not find at other Indian restaurant like Chicken 65, a spicy fried dish.