People often think that Burgers are my favourite food; well I have to say, that this is not true.
Iranian Food has always been my favourite cuisine and type of food. My parents cooking has always been so great and growing up with this food, almost daily meant that it was the first cuisine I fell in love with.
The Iranian restaurants in London are good, but do not have much of a wow factor. To be honest, I prefer my parents cooking anyway.
When I saw, however, that the group behind Gymkhana were opening up a Persian restaurant, this got me excited. Gymkhana, itself has Persian influences so I was confident that this would be good too.
Persian/Iranian, Iranian/Persian, whatever you call it, Berenjak promised quality food done right.
From their site:
With Berenjak I wanted to evoke the style of a rustic hole-in-the-wall eatery from Tehran, and reinterpret signature dishes using seasonal British produce. “Spices, dips, pickles and handfuls of herbs are the flavours of my childhood, so it’s great to be reinterpreting them in Soho. For me, it wouldn’t be an Persian dinner without sitting elbow-to-elbow with friends and family, sharing each dish until every scrap has gone” – Kian Samyani (Founder)
When I try to explain Iranian food to people, I often downplay it and say that is is simple cooking done well. One Main reason is due the nations favourite dish- Rice and Kebab (polo Kebab); which is just that, Rice and Kebab.
However, the seasoning of the mince with onions, salt and pepper and sometimes with sumac, take it up a notch. This is the case with all Iranian Food, usually accompanied by rice, the mouthfuls are always comforting and have a real sense of love from the chef.
What we Ordered and thanks to Mr O for his recommendations too:
KASHK E BADEMJOON Coal cooked aubergine, whey, walnuts, dried mint and onions
HUMMUS Black chickpeas, tahini, walnuts and sumac
MAST O MUSIR Neal's Yard greek yoghurt, Persian shallots and cold pressed rapeseed oil
KOOBIDEH KABAB Minced lamb shoulder, onions and black pepper
KABAB TURKI Cuts of lamb with chips and kebab shop style sauce
TADEEK Crispy rice
The real winners and stand out was the Koobideh Kabab. Berenjak took a simple dish and elevated it with extra flavour (probably loads of added butter, who cares) and class. Each bite was very satisfying.
The starters (Mazeh) on the menu were also very well done and the hummus had a consistency like a pate and the Kashk e Bademjoon was abundant with smoky aubergines and garlic that every Iranian loves.
GOOD TIMES: Choojeh Kebab- the classic done gourmet style
WATCH OUT: tadeek, no thanks
OMG: kabab torki- new vibes, although no longer on the menu.