Masala Grill is a real gem for Bakersfield and, for fans of authentic ethnic food, it’s a place that should not be missed.
This quaint, family owned restaurant, tucked into the shopping center on the southeast corner of Stine and Planz roads, serves up dishes from Pakistan and northern India that are painstakingly prepared from fresh ingredients and bursting with interesting and complex flavors.
Moiz Lakdawala, one of the owners, explained that Pakistani cuisine is generally more meat-based (though, as a vegetarian, I found plenty of options), spicier and, due to the fact that it relies more on fresh ingredients than dried and powdered spices, yields more subtle and complex flavors than typical Indian food.
Masala Grill is also a halal restaurant, which means it adheres to the dietary requirements of Islamic law.
Veg thaali ($7.99):
Reviewed by Glenn Hammett
The vegetarian plate, which included daal tadka (curried lentils), jeera rice, garlic naan bread, sabji (vegetables) and ras malai for dessert, offered a satisfying collection of complementary flavors and textures. The daal was smoothly pureed and extremely flavorful, with a spicy finish that kind of sneaks up on you. The rice, cooked with cumin seeds, was flavorful and moist enough to eat on its own or serve as a perfect base with the daal or sabji. The sabji, or vegetables, can change from day to day. Mine were delicious diced potatoes with a light, yellow curry glaze and chopped cilantro. Ras malai is a ball of paneer (cheese), similar in taste and texture to fresh mozzarella, in a chilled saffron and cardamom milk-based sauce. It’s not too sweet or overly creamy with an interesting combination of flavors – a perfect, refreshing finish for the intense, spicy flavors of the rest of the meal.
Chicken kati roll ($5.49):
Reviewed by Mark Nessia
A popular street food originating from Kolkata, India, kati rolls are portable and delicious, their ingredients working harmoniously together to create a delightful palate pleaser. An egg cracked onto a wheat paratha (Pakistani flatbread) and cooked together is filled with cheese, chicken, red onion, cilantro chutney and tamarind chutney then tightly wrapped. Each bite is packed with flavor, starting with the sweet and sour of the tamarind chutney, the bite from the red onion and finishing with a little kick from the cilantro chutney. The tender chicken, egg and cheese keep the heat in check so you can enjoy bite after bite without reaching for a beverage. If one is required, the cold coffee with ice cream ($3.49) is a refreshing fire extinguisher. ￼