There are a surprising number of Persian restaurants and shops in Olympia, Hammersmith and Chiswick. I’m not sure why there are so many here – does any one know? I’m not one to complain, of course; I adore Persian food and love that it’s all here on my (West London) doorstep. I was a-hankering for some and so last Saturday, Blai and I went out for a date night and while we were turned away from our first choice as it was packed, we managed to find one free table at another equally packed Persian restaurant just across the street from the first. This restaurant was Faanoos; their first restaurant is in Richmond and this Chiswick branch is their second.
We started with their Mixed Mezeh for 2 (£7.95) and it was a good introduction to what I suppose must be their most popular dips.
Going clockwise from the top there’s:
- Mast o Moosir (yogurt with wild garlic), which was gloriously garlicky and zingy
- Pickles – I spotted cauliflower, cabbage, carrots in the mix; they were quite strong
- Salad Olivieh (chopped potatoes, eggs, chicken and pickled cucumber mixed with mayonnaise and lemon juice) – this is essentially a Russian salad all mushed up and surprisingly, it tasted fantastic!
- Kashk e Bademjan (fried aubergine and onions with yogurt puree) – pretty good but I felt like something was missing from it… that said, I have no idea what it should taste like
Next time, we’ll likely just order one or two of our favourites rather than go all out with the platter again. To go with all this, we had a round of Persian bread (£1), freshly baked in the oven next to us. That man was churning out flatbread after flatbread; the demand was pretty relentless. The small restaurant gets through quite a bit of bread.
We split two main courses. First, a grill, of which there are quite a few on the menu: Chelo Kabab Koobideh (£6.50), which was two skewers of a most tender and juicy minced lamb with a side of saffron rice, grilled tomatoes and salad. The only quibble was that I prefer my tomatoes to be much more grilled, allowing for you to squish the hot juices into your rice. Also, we weren’t brought any butter (lovely melted into your rice too) – they forgot. If they forget to bring you butter, remember to ask for it!
Second, an Okra stew (£6.95) full of lots of soft baby okra and lamb that fell apart at a touch of the fork, all in a thin tomato and garlic sauce. Rice on the side, of course. The flavours were gentle but extremely soothing and those flavours certainly popped more when the stew had cooled a bit from its piping hotness when it was brought to us.
With a bottle of sparkling water and a glass of doogh, a salty yogurt drink, date night cost us a total of £28. Service was generally good and the space itself was strangely homely… if your home had chopped straw covered walls. It’s well worth a visit if you’re craving something of that ilk in the area.
472 Chiswick High Road
London W4 5TT