Hey, Foodwala’s… welcome to another tale of epic adventure and high drama
You must be thinking has Alfie Foodwala finally taken leave of his senses!!
Well bear with me and all will be revealed, as you may have gathered I love kebabs, not those Saturday night kebab shop abominations but the handcrafted masterpieces only found being made by artisan kebabwala’s
I love the kebabs from Turkey, Levant, Persia, and Pakistan I am obsessed with not only how the kebabs taste but the ingredients that go into the kebabs and also the history behind them kebabs.
One day I will dedicate a Youtube channel where I will travel the kebab world sampling the kebab specialty of the region and narrate the amazing history behind each kebab.
When I visit a kebab restaurant or stall I have a strange feeling of de ja vue, it’s like I am visiting my roots, so I decided to decide to investigate my ancestors and find out where my roots are actually from before Glasgow and Toba Tek Singh, Pakistan.
To my absolute astonishment, Alfie Foodwala lineage can we traced back to Alexander the Great, via Ayreeyah on the Turkish Syrian border and Persopolis in Persia, no wonder I love kebabs so much, as the places I have mentioned are the cradle of the kebab civilization.
So to celebrate this momentous occasion I decided to visit Berenjak in Soho, this Persian kebab restaurant is from the stable of the JKS restaurants, who own superstar London Eateries such as Gymkhana and Trishna but it is a labour of love of the head chef Kian Samyani, who incidentally is a fellow kebab obsessive.
The restaurant is designed as a Tehran Kebab Dhaba (whole in the wall) and the decor is equally designer distressed, some could say it’s pretentious but I actually like the eccentricity.
I kicked off the proceedings with some Mast O Esfena and hummus
The Mast O Esfana is the Greek yogurt, spinach, and Saffron dip, it was certainly decadent, freshly chopped baby spinach and garlic were folded into the luxurious think creamy curd, it was delicious with the sourdough taftoon bread.
The Hummus was interesting, the jury is still out if I liked it, the viscosity of the hummus was very smooth, I missed the graininess of hummus and it was topped with caramalised shallots giving a slightly sweet hue to the hummus, The sweetness was great to start of but became slightly tiresome as I tucked in. The hummus was eaten by the pebble baked Sangak bread.
If you are watching the carbs then give Berenjak a wide steer.
Next up I ordered the Goat Keema Koobedah but was informed the goat was not halal, only the chicken and the lamb was halal so I opted for the Lamb Chenjeh, which is also known as the Jewel of Persia!!
I know from experience lamb is incredibly difficult to grill, if the lamb is cut against the grain and not marinated properly the lamb become tough and chewy, on this occasion the lamb was marinaded well and when it was cooked over the coal grill the fat and the juices were not allowed to escape thus resulting in a deliciously moist and tender kebab with a caramalised crust on the outside.
The accompanying house rice was served with a dollop of goats milk butter and lent itself perfectly to the Chanjeh kebab.
In conclusion, the food was delicious, even with the slightly modern disneyesque slant to the proceedings, however, if I compared berenjak to the two old men of Patogh in Crawford Place then Patogh would come on top due to the sheer flavour of the kebabs.
The service was friendly and knowledgable and Andre was efficient.