I love Persian food. Have done so from when I first met my lovely friend Alidad (many, many years ago) and tasted his mother’s cooking — she is a wonderful cook. However, unless you are lucky enough to have Persian friends who will invite you to share their home-cooked food, you will not be able to appreciate how amazing and rich this cuisine is.
Most Persian restaurants only serve kebabs, and if they have khoreshts (Persian stews) on the menu, they will not be so good. What is more annoying, Persian restaurants hardly ever serve tadigh, the wonderful rice crust which you see in the picture above and which is achieved by first soaking the rice, then parboiling and draining it before letting it cook (or to be more accurate steam as there is no water in the pot) for an hour or so over a very low heat. And if they have tadigh, they may well serve it microwaved which was what I got recently at Galleria, a well-known Iranian restaurant in London. Definitely not a place I will be returning to.
But for the first time ever, I ate excellent Persian food in a restaurant, Shabestan in the Radisson Blu hotel in Dubai. Everything we ordered was perfect: the bread, the rice (we asked for different versions), the fesenjan, the ghormeh shabzi, and the kebabs. Even the desserts. In fact, the food was so good that I completely forgot about photographing the dishes until I was well into my meal and here is the result of my greed below. You can still see a little of what was on the plate.
Next week, I will be in Tehran and I will check on what kind of food restaurants serve there. Will report back in due course. Stay tuned!!