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“The party of the century”
As you might know, Eid has just passed and as usual, we all over-indulged after the blessed month of Ramadhan, We spend time with loved ones and enjoyed a huge range of delicious dishes.
We all love a party, we spend time with friends and family, eat good food and generally, a great time is to be had.
But where was the greatest party of all time, was it thrown by a Roman emperor? or King Solomon? or was it Queen Cleopatra at her inauguration?
Well actually the answer is quite surprising, The party of the century was actually thrown by the Shah of Iran to celebrate 2500 years of the Persian empire, a new city was constructed in the Persian desert, everything was constructed by French artisans and even the food was flown in from France, however, oddly enough no Iranian person was invited and the Shah did not even invite his ministers.
Not surprisingly, that did not sit well with the Iranians, and the small matter that it cost a mere $250m meant that the Shah’s card was marked by Messers Khomani and co.
That brings us to Saffron by Paradise in the Kelvinbridge Quarter, It used to be a run-of-the-mill Iranian restaurant called Paradise and it had a weird waterfall in the windows with always made me pass water for some reason.
The restaurant was taken over by an enterprising Persian chap who reinvented it as a Persian bistro, he made it trendy by adding statues of Perian mythology and the Persian sun-god Mithra.
We walked in at Iftar time and were greeted by a lovely vibe and ambiance, and full of pretty young things.
Mokee Foodwala and I were absolutely famished so we dove right into the Persian Meze.
The Red Pepper Hummus was deliciously creamy with roasted red pepper folded into the tahini and Channa, delicious.
The yogurt Moosir dip was balanced with garlic and walnuts and the perfect viscosity for it to be scooped up with the piping hot nan.
The Persian Batata Harara was triple cooked so it was crispy on the outside and piping hot and fluffy inside, the sumac seasoning was on point without being overpowering.
The Koubideh Kabab was up next, Koubideh is made from ground lamb or beef or a mix of both. It simply translates to slammed kabab, because of how it was made traditionally in the past. The meat was placed on a large stone and got smashed with a wooden mallet
If I was honest it was good but definitely not the best, It was well seasoned but a wee bit dry and it was missing the trademark smokiness, possibly because it was made on a gas-fired robata, as opposed to a far more difficult to used coal robata.
Joojeh kabab is a quintessential Persian chicken kebab. Chicken pieces are smothered in a delicious saffron and olive oil paste and grilled on a robata, this simple dish separates the cooks from the chefs if the chicken cubes are cooked a few seconds longer and the diced chicken becomes rubbery, cook a few seconds too little then it is a health hazard.
The Mezze was fresh and flavorsome expertly prepared, could not fault
The Grilled mains were again delicious, the Koubideh would have been even more delicious if it was prepared on a charcoal robata, but that is just a minor point, the Joojeh Kebab was slightly under-seasoned for my taste but was grilled on point.
The Service was perfunctory, neither excellent nor poor, it was just functional.
The Star of the Meal?
The Koubideh Kebab was definitely the star of the show
The miss of the Meal?
It would be unfair to say the Joojeh was the “miss”
So how did Saffron compare with its Persian peers?
The Two best Persian restaurants in London so far have been Patogh off Edgware Road and the sublime Berenjak in Soho.
Further afield the best I have visited has been Persopolis in Beijing! and the sublime Special Kebab in Dubai.
While Saffron was excellent for Kelvinbridge Quarter, Glasgow, but way behind its more cosmopolitan brethren.
The Chicken, Beef, and Lamb are confirmed 100% Halal
Alcohol is served on the Premises
NO Pork is served on the Premises
100% impartial Guarantee
Alfie Foodwala visits all restaurants anonymously and pays for the bill like any other customer, Alfie Foodwala does not accept free meals in return for reviews.
All reviews are the personal opinion of Alfie Foodwala based on his 30-year experience as a restauranteur