Buffets / BYOB / Indian / Mount Laurel

Mirchi Indian Homestyle Cuisine in Mount Laurel

A couple of months ago, I learned that Monsoon Fine Indian Cuisine in Cherry Hill closed after less than a year. IndeBlue in Collingswood closed after five years. Those closures left South Jersey with fewer Indian restaurants. Monsoon’s Mount Laurel location, Tiffin in Cherry Hill, Indiya in Collingswood, Palace of Asia in Maple Shade, and Aroma in Merchantville all seem to be going strong, though.

Mirchi Indian Homestyle Cuisine Mount Laurel NJ

Mirchi Indian Homestyle Cuisine is located at 3111 Route 38 in Mount Laurel NJ [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]

Then I discovered Mirchi Indian Homestyle Cuisine in Mount Laurel. Actually, they discovered me and thank goodness for that. Upon their invitation, I dropped in on Easter to try the weekend holiday buffet. Unlike other Indian buffets I’ve been to, there were over 35 savory and sweet items including several dishes completely new to me. While their buffets aren’t always quite this large, they increase the number of items on holidays. I felt like I hit the Indian buffet jackpot.

Popular Indian fare such as chutneys, a variety of fried vegetables, tikka masalas, curries, paneers, tandoori-baked meats, and basmati rice was featured as you would expect. Plenty of veg-friendly and non-veg dishes to please everyone. Plus a variety of Indian desserts such as gulab jamun (fried dough balls soaked in rose syrup), kheers (rice pudding), kulfis (Indian version of ice cream), fresh fruit, and more. Exotic and intriguing to be sure, but nothing to be apprehensive about especially if you’re a fan of flavor.

Biryani Dishes at Mirchi Indian Cuisine in Mount Laurel

Goat and Chicken Biryani rice dishes at Mirchi Indian Cuisine in Mount Laurel [Photo: David Johnson]

What truly sets Mirchi’s buffet apart from other Indian buffets is they represent Southern Indian or Hyderabadi cuisine quite well. There’s various biryani (rice) dishes, kebabs, rasams and sambars (soups), meat and non-meat based stews, Bagara baingan (eggplant curry), koftas (meatballs), Dosas (crepes or pancakes), and so much more. In fact, that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

It’s so much fun to discover the many nuanced flavors of Indian cuisine. Mirchi is doing everything in an approachable way so novices need not worry that everything is blow-your-head-off spicy. In fact, despite the name (“Mirchi” stands for “chile” or “hot”), the heat level of most items was completely acceptable and more on the mild side. Your mileage may vary, of course. Also, don’t let the buffet aspect deter you; ingredients are fresh and dishes are always hot.

While everything was very good and agreed with my palate, my absolute favorite was the Butter Chicken (pictured below). It may seem a bit entry-level and pedestrian, but it was outstanding and the star of the buffet during my first visit.

Mirchi Indian Cuisine Mount Laurel Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken at Mirchi Indian Cuisine in Mount Laurel [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]

Owners Vikram Mothe & Nikhila Janga informed me that Mirchi’s Mount Laurel location opened last June and business has been steady especially on the banquet side where they host private parties. They also own another very popular Mirchi restaurant in North Brunswick.

Marilyn Johnson hosting media tasting at Mirchi Indian Cuisine in Mount Laurel

When they asked me to help them get the word out, I suggested a restaurant media tasting. They were amenable to hosting people like me who are passionate about food. So, I invited my foodie friends — fellow food writers, bloggers, and social media influencers to sample the buffet and various other special menu items. I love helping small businesses get the word out especially if the food is good!

Mirchi Buffet

Food bloggers and social influencers gather to sample the buffet at Mirchi Indian Cuisine in Mount Laurel [Photo: David Johnson]

In attendance:

Food Bloggers at Mirchi Tasting

The camera always eats first! [Photo: David Johnson]

In addition to the buffet offerings, we were treated to a couple of very special menu items. At least two of them being absolute showstoppers demonstrating that not only is Indian food delicious but it’s also beautiful.

Mirchi Specials

Special Menu Items at Mirchi [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]

Hyderabadi Fish: Hyderabadi fish is a blend of Mughlai and Andhra Cuisines. A delicious Pomfret fish is wrapped with exotic flavors of Indian spices in a banana leaf and is cooked in a Tandoor. Tandoor is a clay oven used in traditional Indian cooking and baking. The clay oven imparts a very unique and savory taste to the food – basically bringing the pleasantly savory taste to the beautiful fish! This style of cooking is a very challenging process as it requires meticulous attention to time, flame, and temperature to avoid overcooking or undercooking. Perfecting a Hyderabadi Fish is basically a form of art.

Golden Pomfret Fish at Mirchi Indian Cuisine Mount Laurel

Hyderabadi Fish at Mirchi Mount Laurel [Photo: David Johnson]

Chef’s Special Pineapple Chicken: Tender Chicken is tossed in a sweet, tangy sauce with fresh pineapple chunks served in a hollowed out pineapple that serves as the perfect semi-edible bowl. A final touch to the dish was provided with a handful of roasted cashews specifically added to balance out the tangy sweetness of pineapple pieces thus leading to an added flavor of crunch to every bite.

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🍍 I loved the fresh flavors and the beautiful presentation of this pineapple chicken from @mirchimtlaurel! I definitely recommend stopping by to try this! 🍍 • Thank you @phillygrub for the great time with so many amazing local foodies and bloggers! Check out 👉🏾 @good_food_nj @werjustgrubbin @eatinginsjersey @happyhungryfoodie @fun_philly_foodie @phillyfoodguru @arpollockus @coffeebreakxo @tinsel_tine @thebicyclechef @kjw1972 @top_philadelphia_restaurants @jerseybites & @sarahhmiduski to see more pics from #MirchiMountLaurel 👍🏾 • Photo by me: @josheatsphilly 📷 • #josheatsphilly #myfab5 #foodietribe #zipkick #palateconnect #SouthJerseyIndianFood #cityoffoodidelphia #swagfoodphilly #eaterphilly #bestfoodphilly #topcitybites #topphillyrestaurants #bestfoodfeed #devourpower #feedfeed #feastagram #eastcoastfoodies #eatlocal #supportlocal #localeats #local #supportsmallbusiness #smallbusiness #SouthJersey #SouthJerseyEats #JerseyFood #BestNJfood #IndianFood #MountLaurel

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Both the whole fried golden Pomfret fish and pineapple chicken dishes were the stars of the day. Everybody raved about them and it made for amazing food photos!

It was an amazing afternoon of great food with great people. I believe many eyes were opened to how delectable and dazzling Indian food can be. A feast for all of the senses. Don’t take my word for it, read what the attendees had to say:

Marilyn Johnson and Vikram of Mirchi Indian Cuisine Mount Laurel

Marilyn Johnson and Vikram of Mirchi Indian Cuisine Mount Laurel [Photo: David Johnson]

Note: the buffet is offered every day for lunch 11:30-3:00 (closed Tuesdays) and Wednesday evenings only. The Wednesday evening buffet runs 5:00-10:00 and it is when you can try unlimited dosas (crepes) which are made live on premises with a chef. Both of these buffets are a bit smaller featuring the more popular dishes. On the weekends, they present The Grand Buffet between 11:30-3:00 which includes over 35 items. The lunch buffet during the week is $10.99. The Wednesday buffet is $12.99. The Grand Buffet on the weekend and holiday buffets are $13.99 and includes complimentary non-alcoholic mimosas. Either way, you can’t go wrong with those prices.

Mirchi is BYOB so don’t hesitate to take your favorite spirit or wine. Personally, I think a crisp white or sparkling rose would be a splendid complement to the complex flavors of Indian cuisine. I highly recommend checking out this amazing Indian buffet in South Jersey. Mirchi is located at 3111 Route 38 in Mount Laurel in the Larchmont Commons Shopping Center. Call 856-234-2929 if you have any questions. As always, if you go, be sure to tell them Philly Grub sent ya!

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