Grain and Salt
431 Cambridge Street Allston, MA 02134
Being as my husband is Pakistani, I am always eager to try places that advertise as having Pakistani food. Although, in the Boston area, these places often end up serving pretty much the same dishes as every other Indian restaurant.
From the decor and the low lighting level (apologies in advance for the lack of brightness in my photos) it was apparent that Grain and Salt are positioning themselves as a more upscale Indo-Pakistani dining establishment. The walls are painted shades of red and green with modern paintings hanging on the wall. There are a few other decorative touches that don’t mesh well with the rest and seem like things that were added after the original decorator left the scenes.
When we arrived some Kenny G-esque saxophone Muzak was playing with covers of yesterday’s and today’s favorite pop songs…including Alicia Keyes… oooh aaah! The saxophone music was a little loud and the screeching sax was starting to grate on my nerves.
We focused most of our ordering on the last page of the menu since it had the most interesting options, including Indian-style Chinese food. The menu could also use a proofreader.
We ordered the “Chicken schezwan”, haleem (beef and lentils), Kukumber Salad, Mint Raita, plain naan and white rice. Unlike other Indian restaurants plain rice isn’t included free with entree orders.
Service was wiiiiiicked slow. There were only 4 parties in the restaurant and it seemed as if the staff was incapable of multi-tasking. About 10-15 minutes after we ordered we saw a cook come out of the kitchen walk past the dining area to go into a store room and come back out with a cucumber. Our salad!
At long last, our food arrived. The chicken was the most flavorful dish, although my husband thought it was overcooked. The Haleem was on the bland side…it could have used a bit more salt.
The naan was glistening with butter and we used the bread to scoop up and eat the haleem and chicken. The salad was made up of big chunks of cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions. There was some tamarind chutney mixed in with the veggies and there was chaat masala sprinkled over the top.
I was really hoping that we would like Grain and Salt. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be. Well, on to the next restaurant!