|Heard The One About The Two Vegetarians and The Coeliac?|
Trio of tricky customers check out what's on offer at Chella
Heard the one about the two vegetarians and the coeliac? That is what goes through my mind each time I meet up with two particular friends of mine – there’s usually another who has a nut and cheese allergy who makes up our foible full foursome but she couldn’t make it on this particular evening.
It makes for choosing a restaurant surprisingly difficult as my veggie friends often feel like an after thought. “I get so fed up with being fobbed off with a bit of goat’s cheese,” declared the one whose turn it was to choose our dining destination.
She went for Chella which was surprisingly full for a chilly Monday evening in October. “They must be doing rather well,” she observed looking rather pleased with her selection.
It's a reassuring sight when Iranians make up most of your fellow diners in a Persian restaurant - the same can be said for Rice at the other end of the Chiswick High Road.
Chella claims to create 'Persian food with a modern twist that has been 50 years in the making'.
The first Chella Restaurant opened in Tehran more than 50 years ago by the father of one of the owners of the Chiswick restaurant. Located on Manoochehri, the same street as the British Embassy, the name has a long history and was a well known local venue.
The Chiswick restaurant aims to take traditional Iranian restaurant food forward to a new clientele which is where my two vegetarian friends and I come in.
GluggingPinot Grigio in what has to be said a rather unladylike manner - it was delicious and, thankfully, modestly priced so we managed to get through two bottle during the course of the evening - we perused the menu.
I left the choosing to my friends who went for Kashk-e-Bademjan (aubergines crushed with walnuts, mint and garlic) £3.00, Dolmeh (vine leaves stuffed with rice and aromatic herbs) £3.00, Boorani-ye-Esfenaj (steamed spinach mixed with thick strained yoghurt) £3.95 and freshly baked Persian Taftoon bread £1.50 all as starters to share.
The first dish was quite simply outstanding. A smoky mix so delicious we fought over who was going to finish off the far too small dish. It easily knocked the other starters out of the running.
Mains were a similar story. My Zereshk Polow (steamed rice mixed with bright ruby-coloured barberries, saffron and slivered pistachios, served with braised chicken) £9.25 recommended by our waitress was pleasant enough as was the vegetarian special (aubergine, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green peas, sweet corn, sour grapes cooked in Challa sauce served with rice) £8.95 but the star of the show was undoubtedly the Fesenjoon - a sweet and sour stew made with pomegranate puree and ground walnuts and served with steamed rice - although we had ours with a salad - £9.75.
The delicious depths of flavours were even much more than the dish's ingredients promised, a real treat.
Although there are one or two vegetarian dishes on the menu, others can be made without meat and vice versa.
October 26, 2010