New Curry Restaurant Brings a Taste of Pakistan to the East Bay

Masala Time specializes in dishes from the Punjabi region of Pakistan.

As the days get shorter and the winter chill sets in, comforting, rib-sticking fare takes center stage. If the idea of a hearty one-pot dish sounds appealing, but not the time it would take to make such a dish, a new Pakistani curry place on Amador Valley Boulevard might just do the trick.

Masala Time which opened its doors in October, specializes in the cuisine of the Pakistani province of Punjab, with a focus on meaty dishes flavored with whole spices.

“We call it ‘royal’ cooking,” said Bobbi, the restaurant co-owner. She said other Indian or Pakistani restaurants tend to use boxed spices such as ground turmeric and cumin, which can overpower the meat or vegetables in a dish.

But that’s not the case when using whole herbs and spices, she said.

“It doesn’t overcast the flavor of what you’re eating,” she said. “It makes it more rich and gives it a richer taste.”

Diners are in expert hands. Chef and co-owner Kamal Wand is from Lahore, the capital city of Punjab, and has nearly two decades’ worth of experience cooking Punjabi cuisine in the Bay Area. He currently owns two other Pakistani restaurants, one in San Francisco, the other in Fremont.

At Masala Time, all the dishes are strictly halal. Specialties include tandoori fish cooked in a clay oven, chicken tikka masala, goat and lamb curries, chicken wraps, and garlic naan bread fresh out of the oven.

There’s plenty of options for vegetarians, too. The restaurant offers a wide array of vegetable curries, including mutter paneer (green peas cooked with homemade cheese), daal makhani (lentils with ginger, garlic, and cream), and bengan bharta (mesquite smoked eggplant with onions, tomatoes, and spices).

The menu also features daily seasonal specials, which might include lamb jal frazi (strips of lamb cooked with seasonal vegetables), malai kofta (potato cheese balls cooked in a creamy sauce), and, for the brave, a masala of male goat brain and herbs.

Bobbi, a Danville resident, said Dublin was the ideal location for the restaurant.

“I like the mixture of cultures and the location we’re in,” she said. “I’ve always liked Dublin.”

Dublin residents appear to be taking to the restaurant. Bobbi said business has been “great” since opening. “We’d like it to get even better,” she said.

Masala Time is at 7410 Amador Valley Blvd., Dublin. (925) 248-2746. Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday. The restaurant is also available for private parties and events. 


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