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Madina Market's Kitchen, Allston

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Restaurants & Bars

Madina Market's Kitchen, Allston

Nab | Apr 12, 2004 12:13 PM

A few hounds got together to investigate what this place has to offer in the way of Pakistani food; something that seems to be lacking in our fine grubbing town.

Not a fan of writing reviews, but I showed up late so.... And when I did show up, the others - Limster, Aromatherapy & Striperguy - had already put in orders for keema naan (tandoori bread with spiced minced meat filling), chicken tikka, lamb methi, and khatti-mithi ghobi (sweet/sour/spicy cauliflower), so I added on an order of haleem as I was curious to try it after Limster's reporting. Oh, and an order of regular tandoori naan and basmati rice.

Overall, we were quite impressed, with a possible consensus of the cauliflower being the winner. I've never had (or heard) of a sweet & sour dish like this, but the contrasting flavors worked well for me. Several smallish pieces of cauliflower that were not overcooked, but just right, in a sweet/sour/(spicy) masala. Good tang to it.

And speaking of tang, the tiny bit of marinate from the chicken tikka that was sitting underneath had quite a blast of tang to it that I loved. Bright red chicken cooked well so that the meat slipped right off the bone cleanly. Great flavor, and it gives me the hunch that the tandoor is a strength here.

And speaking of the tandoor, the naans were great. They were of the thinner variety, but not so thin as to make them crispy. Just not 1"-2" thick & chewey/doughy like other tandoori naans (contrary to what I believe is popular thought, I like this kind). I love keema naan and order anytime it's offered - this one was good, but I thought they could've been a little more generous with the keema and the spices in the keema. On the other hand, many places overload the bread so that it's impossible to hold together. Just needed a bit of tweaking to reach the right place.

Lamb mehti came as about 5-6 small (2-bite, if you've got any will) pieces of tender lamb in a dark, rich curry. I was almost fooled into thinking there were little bits of spinach in that curry, but the hounds later informed me that the predominant flavor was fenugreek. I like this one, and I would love it if it stepped up a few rungs on the spice ladder.

Haleem was described by Limster before, and his description was accurate. No lentils in this one though, they were some other kind of wheat/barley/thing - what was it again ? bulgur or buckwheat ? I'm horrible at those species. The haleem has great flavor to it, and is made with mutton (as opposed to beef, which some places do) which is a-ok in my books, but was lacking the consistency that I was looking for (too runny/thin).

Overall, I think you should def'y check this place out if you like Pakistani food. They have an extensive menu, and we didn't even hit the tip of the iceberg. I'm told the chappli kebab is supposed to be one of their better items, and my gut feeling is that anything tandoori will be a worthwhile investment. Also a fair number of vegetarian options, and for most of the dishes you can ask for either chicken, lamb, or jumbo shrimp.

Oh, almost forgot - we all had fantastic mango lassis to top it off. It didn't taste like the mango flavor came out of a huge tub of frozen crappy mango pulp, but more like a great variety of mango that I've had in Pakistan (can't remember the name though). And the yogurt added a good sour flavor to it too. As for other dessert items, they only had rice pudding there that night.

Thanks to Limster for organizing a good night with good folks.

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