Among the many ethnic cuisines to have become popularised in London in recent years is Persian. We’ve picked out 5 of the best Persian restaurants the capital has to offer.
London nowadays is perhaps matched only by New York when it comes to the diversity of its food scene. With delectable fare from all over the world available, ranging from cheap street eats to wallet-busting fine dining, the city’s reputation as a culinary capital has been further boosted over the past few years by a proliferation of Persian eateries that showcase the rich cooking traditions of Iran. Here are a few of the best dotted across the city.
Reinterpreting the classic back-street hole-in-the-wall eateries typically found in Tehran, this casual joint offers authentic home-style Iranian cuisine, specialising in small mazeh style sharing plates and perfectly cooked and seasoned charcoal grilled kababs. Located in the heart of Soho, Berenjak slots in perfectly with the district’s burgeoning collection of hipster-ified restaurants serving top class food at affordable prices, with exposed brick and mosaic floors serving as a trendy backdrop for diners. Those in the know ask to be seated in the tranquil indoor garden located at the back of the venue.
27 Romilly Street, Soho / Mon-Thurs 5.30pm-11pm Fri 12pm-3pm & 5.30pm-11pm Closed Sun
First opened back in 1983, Hafez in the fashionable west London neighbourhood of Notting Hill cut a lonely figure back in those days. Of course, now it is has been joined by many other Persian eateries in the capital, but Hafez has remained one of the most enduringly popular thanks to its authentic fusion of ancient and modern Iranian cooking techniques which makes use of high quality cuts of meat and the freshest herbs and vegetables. The setting is delightful too, with the walls adorned with antique cutlery and calligraphy paintings. Be sure to try the Gormeh Sabzi, a mixture of sautéed herbs, kidney beans and lamb or beef.
5 Hereford Road, Notting Hill / Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm
This charming neighbourhood restaurant in well-heeled Maida Vale, surrounded by elegant Victorian houses and wide, quiet roads, is one of the fancier Persian joints on this list – with prices to match. But if you’re dead set on tasting some of the best Persian food you’ll find anywhere in London, you may well be happy to dig deep for the privilege of tucking into such delectable dishes as Kabab torsh, comprising of chargrilled marinated breast end of lamb in pomegranate juice, crushed walnuts, young grapes and fresh mint served with saffron rice.
5 Warwick Place, Maida Vale / Tues-Fri 6pm-11pm Sat 12pm-4pm & 6pm-11pm Sun 12pm-9.30pm Closed Mon
Situated in Westbourne Grove in West London, near Bayswater and Queensway, Sadaf takes an all-round Mediterranean approach to its ingredients and cooking style, serving up hearty portions for a steady stream of loyal patrons. Bright, airy and informal during the day, the eatery takes a distinct turn towards the exotic and romantic once night falls. Perennial foodie favourites here include homemade yogurt dip with shallots, chargrilled aubergine with chilli and mint and tender lamb chips.
3-5 Campden Hill Road / Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm
Positioned in the historic Central London district of Fitzrovia on a street lined with ethnic restaurants, Gitane is the place to come for modern Persian cuisine. The elegant bistro is run by a husband-and-wife team who have created a minimalist space serving as a canvas for their culinary talents. The real beauty of this place is that however many times you visit, there’ll always be something new on the menu to try, with rotating weekly dishes. Although anathema to many, salads are a big deal here too. Try the carrot, fennel, red chard and nectarine salad, or French lentil salad with pomegranate molasses.
60 Great Titchfield Stree, Fitzrovia / Mon-Fri 8am-6pm Sat 9am-5.30pm Sun 9.30pm-4.30pm