The Masala Twist
2810 Harbor Blvd., #B1, Oxnard
I live in the Channel Islands Harbor and on my walks I had always come across an Indian restaurant called the Masala Twist. The restaurant opened last summer by owner Lakhwinder Singh who felt the need to have authentic Indian cuisine in the harbor. I love to support my community, so I had my two friends tag along for dinner one night.
I knew this was going to be a special twist when I first entered the restaurant. I immediately inhaled the smell of Indian spices coming from the kitchen and there were plasma TVs blaring Indian music videos. All of the waiters were anxious to seat and serve us and the atmosphere was just vibrating. They even have seating on the back patio for those wanting to eat outside.
Browsing through the menu, the restaurant has a variety of traditional Indian cuisines, including soups and salads, appetizers, seafood, Tandoori sizzlers, chicken, lamb and goat curries, vegetable specialties, rotis, biryanis and desserts.
We each ordered a glass of red pinot noir and shiraz and dove right into ordering rotis and an appetizer: onion kulcha, naan bread stuffed with onions and herbs, and alu samosa, vegetable patties with potatoes and peas served with mint chutney. You can’t go wrong with naan bread and this one had the perfect blend of onions and herbs. And that mint chutney topping off the samosa? Mmm MMM!
For the main courses we ordered chicken biryani (basmati rice cooked with boneless pieces of chicken, cashew nuts, raisins and a blend of herbs and spices), chicken coconut curry (boneless pieces of chicken cooked in special gravy and coconut milk) and paneer masala (homemade Indian cheese cooked with tomatoes, onions and yogurt sauce with spices).
You can order the main dishes mild, medium or hot (we all ordered medium). All of these dishes were also large enough to share, so we all dug in once the masterpieces hit the table.
My plate was pretty packed. My chicken biryani had all of the ingredients I love and I even tried mixing a bit of it with complimentary homemade yogurt sauce with cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes and spices called raita. It was an Indian flavor explosion in my mouth!
Onto the chicken coconut curry that my friend had ordered. I am usually not a fan of coconut but this dish had a mild coconut flavor with a strong curry gravy. It was so creamy with the chicken it practically melted in my mouth.
Lastly, the paneer masala my other friend had ordered. I was a bit hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure how cheese would go with spices, but this ended up being my favorite dish. It’s unique and with the blend of tomatoes, onion and yogurt, it just works well together.
For dessert, I ordered a small bowl of rice pudding — basmati rice cooked with sweet milk, cashew nuts and raisins — and a hot cup of tea, Indian style, that consists of chai tea with milk, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. This was the first time I ever had this type of pudding and it had the perfect amount of sweetness. Topped off with the chai tea, it was the perfect way to the end the evening.
With all fresh ingredients at an affordable price, I can say, hands down, the Masala Twist is one of the best authentic Indian cuisine restaurants I have been to. I will definitely be making my way back soon to try even more flavorful dishes. On the way out, I grabbed a handful of fennel seed candies at the hostess station, which freshened my mouth instantly.
Oh! Don’t forget to check out the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($11.95) and the all-you-can-eat Champagne brunch Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($13.95). That’s a mouthful!
Kateri Wozny is a foodie who loves savoring the latest bites around the 805. Check out her Instagram page @kitkatwozny.