|We Thought Rice Was Rather Nice|
Decor maybe understated but the food is anything but
When you do something you feel passionate about, it shows in the results and at Rice the proof of this fact is evident in the starters, the mains as well as the pudding.
Formerly La Mirage, an odd hybrid of French cuisine prepared by an Iranian, the small restaurant has been given a modest makeover and renamed ‘Rice - House of Kebab & Wrap’.
The new name, or what I first thought to be a brief description of the menu, does not come close to doing justice to the delights on offer within or advertise the fact that they are Iranian in origin. As I commented to my lunch date, had she not suggested we meet there I may well have not given it a second look.
Which most certainly would have been my loss. Open just a matter of days, Rice remains under the same ownership as La Mirage only now the Iranian proprietor is serving authentic Iranian food prepared by an Iranian chef.
The menu is still work in progress, currently being tested and tweaked, but the food is right on track.
Starters are priced from £3.50 from which my vegetarian companion ordered mezze of Koo Koo Sabzi - savoury omelette with mixed herbs, egg, walnut and red berries, Paneer-o-Sabzi, mixed fresh herbs, spring onion, radishes, feta cheese and walnuts. Kashke-o-Bademjan, sautéed aubergine, walnut, onion, garlic and broiled yoghurt and houmous and olives.
These dishes were all very much sums of their parts but with the parts being so fresh, delicious and so proficiently prepared each was a real delight.
However, for me the star of the show was my Sheerin Polo (£7.50) – steamed basmati rice mixed with shredded tangerine peel pistachio, almonds, sautéed red berries and saffron served with braised chicken so succulent it slide effortlessly off the bone, only to play second fiddle to the exotic flavours of the rice. Quite simply outstanding.
All this was accompanied by freshly prepared nan bread baked to order in a tanour and a generous glass of Corney & Barrow house white (£3.80); ok two glasses but we did have a lot to catch up on!.
Almost everything about Rice is understated; the name, the décor, even the proprietor! The food is anything but.
February 8, 2009