What makes someone who has never worked in the hotel industry decide to open a restaurant? For Bikram Gusain, owner of Cambridge’s Grain of Salt, the answer is simple.
âI decided to do something charming, which can challenge me. I’ve never had a restaurant experience, but it gave me a challenge to prove to myself that I can be successful, âGusain explains.
Originally from the northern Indian town of Mussoorie, the textile engineer moved to Brampton in 1999. He bought a convenience store franchise in Brampton for 18 months, which he operated with his wife, before starting to look for a new opportunity. A customer at the store enlightened him on hospitality.
Wanting to be part of a community that wasn’t oversaturated with Indian restaurants and family-friendly, they moved to Cambridge. Despite his friends’ concerns about whether or not the city might support the restaurant, he opened Grain de sel in 2006. By the end of 2007, his dining rooms were full.
âI changed it slowly. I focused on quality. In a year and a half, we were packed â, remembers Gusain. “I didn’t make any money this time around, but I built a good reputation for myself.”
Over the past 15 years, this loyal customer has attracted new diners, making it one of the most popular Indian restaurants in town. Gusain says the community at large is increasingly informed about Indian flavors, which he attributes to globalization, a growing local South Asian community and the internet encouraging adventurous eaters to learn about international cuisines. .
Not being a cook, Gusain relied on his scientific and mathematical knowledge to transform existing recipes and create new ones. The restaurant’s generous dishes feature fresh ingredients with spices to tune your palate. Rather than being sweetened here, well-seasoned dishes can be punchy, with hints of whole spice. There is some heat, so fire phobics should consider the heat guides that come with each dish.
Trays provide an easy option for the indecisive and hungry people. The Sab Ek Saath ($ 8.99) (transliterated from Hindi, meaning ‘all together’) is a colorful frenzy of favorite donuts. Whole coriander seeds punctuate the softball-sized potato-pea-stuffed samosa. The chickpea paste gives the pakora chicken fingers and pakora shrimp their golden color. Alkanet tints the sweet and prominent onion bhajia a bright red, while the smaller amount of chickpea paste holds chopped emerald green spinach balls together.
The special Grain de sel platter ($ 22.99) is a tumble of succulent unhooked kebabs – replacing the chicken with salmon kebabs (allergy issue) was no problem. Badami chicken smells good of cardamom, while mint and cilantro complement Chicken Hariyali. The selection is completed with tasty lamb boti, tandoori shrimp and tikka chicken.
The Bhindi Masala ($ 16.99) arrives with tender chunks of okra cooked in sweet onions and hot spices. Our other vegetarian dish, the Paneer Tawa Masala ($ 16.99) features paneer cubes wrapped in tomato sauce. They’re both great for pinching with torn pieces of flaky Lachha Paratha (99 cents, substituted for the usual roti, naan, or rice).
Rogan Josh’s thick aromatic, alkan-tinted sauce ($ 19.99) surrounds tender chunks of lamb. For those worried about heat levels, a side of Cumin Raita ($ 3.29), poured over the accompanying rice, will cool things down. But for those who want a bit of bitterness, Lime Pickle ($ 1.49) will do.
Completing a meal with Gulab Jamun ($ 2.99) – a dairy-fortified dumpling dipped in simple syrup – is always a joy, but it’s the homemade Glazed Almond Kulfi ($ 3.99), it is the treat.
It’s easy to see why locals are coming back to Grain of Salt. I think it’s more than the generous and tasty dishes, it’s also the pleasure they feel at Gusain’s accidental call.
âBefore coming to Canada. I have never been to a restaurant. Even though I just started, I took up the challenge and loved it, âsays Gusain.
âRestaurants are a great area. (There is) no business better than this business, âhe said, adding thatâ when you feel talented, no one can stop you. Anybody.”
Grain of salt
561 Hespeler Road Unit 18, Cambridge
Twitter: @ welcometograin1
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday: closed.
Menu: Refined and relaxed Indian restaurant. Wheat flour and nuts are in the kitchen. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians have a choice. Accurate guides to heat levels. Authorized. Lunch menu. Menus displayed on the website.
Payment: Cash, debit, Mastercard, Visa.
How to get your food: Drop-in and pre-ordered pickup.
Dinner in: Dining room. Reservations recommended.
Delivery: DoorDash, Skip the dishes, Uber eats; delivery on site (fees: $ 7 for Cambridge, $ 20 to $ 30 for Kitchener-Waterloo, depending on the distance).
Accessibility: Good. The drop-down pavement allows people with reduced mobility to access the restaurant, but the front door does not have a push-button activation and the entrance has a short elevation from the roadway. The toilets are wheelchair accessible. The tables are generally well spaced and can accommodate people in wheelchairs. Good lighting. The background music is noticeable but generally unobtrusive. Clear, easy-to-read menu design. Parking on site.
The law project: $ 112.54 for three dishes and sides, two samples and two desserts.