Dinner for 3 with wine: £69.00
I get my hair done at a place on Portobello road and it is becoming something of a tradition that I meet up with friends who live right down the road for dinner afterward. After this particular haircut we were headed to try a recently opened restaurant on Portobello called Persian Kitchen.
We had a reservation for 8:30 but when my haircut was running a little behind schedule (beauty takes time people) my friend had called the restaurant to let them know that we were going to be late and had been assured that this was not a problem. This message was not passed on to the other waitstaff apparently. When we walked in at 8:45 for our 8:30 reservation and asked for the table the waiter barked “And what time is it now?” – us “sorry?” – him – “Your reservation was for 8:30 – AND WHAT TIME IS IT NOW?” The other waiter noticed the impending fracas and let his colleague know that we had actually called and he then sat us with out so much as an apology.
At this point my friends were considering leaving on principle. I as a New Yorker was considering making an incredible scene. But we were hungry and had gotten all excited for Persian so we decided to stay.
After this unforgivable breech of waiterly conduct I was prepared to absolutely, positively hate the restaurant and give it as scathing a review as possible. And I should note that the obnoxious waiter became friendly and helpful only after I took my camera out to photograph the starters.
We started with a selection of mezze – Dolmeh, Sabzi Khordan and Mirza Ghasemi. They were all quite delicious but the Mirza (eggplant with tomato and garlic) was the most interesting.
For my main I had the Koobideh – grilled minced lamb. It was very tasty. The meat was moist and well seasoned – grilled just right. The rice was also delicious – buttery and fluffy. But what the hell is going on with that “salad” on the left hand side of the plate? Iceberg lettuce is not a food – not in my book and the whole dish was seriously letdown by its presence and the cold, tasteless tomato wedges sitting on top of it. Put the whole disj on a smaller plate and just give me cucumbers or something – iceberg lettuce is bleh. This restaurant is clearly trying to go upscale but the iceberg belies kebab shop roots.
Another main dish was a fantastic lamb and aubergine stew called Gheimeh Bademjan. It was delicious and is definitely worth trying.
We also had several deserts – Faloodeh and Zoolbia Bamieh which were very nice. The second being given to us on the house – mostly because the waiter thought he had offended some important food writer.
I hesitate to recommend this place because while the food was really very good (iceberg aside) – our greeting was seriously unforgivable – especially for a new restaurant trying to build a customer base. I probably would not go out of my way to go again entirely because of that bad first impression. I will probably order takeaway because they deliver to my area and the food was very good – but I would not recommend coming all the way across London to be treated poorly by a waiter. I am sure you can find that experience much closer to home.
Anar Persian Kitchen
349 Portobello Road
London, W10 5SA