A Flavour Of Azerbaijan In Chiswick

New cafe Shafran has opened in Sutton Court road


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Shafran, a new cafe/gourmet shop run by a husband and wife team, has opened at 14a Sutton Court Road, in the premises formerly run by Badger & Earl.

Sabina and Mikayil Hasanli are both from Baku in Ajerbaijan and met each other while they were studying in the UK. They aim to bring some of the flavours of their home country to the cuisine at Shafran, as well as offering breakfasts, home-made cakes, breads, speciality coffee and gourmet sandwiches to take away or eat in.

interior of Shafran cafe

Shafran is the saffron flower central to the cuisine. All Azerbaijani meals at Shafran are oven-baked. They bake the Azerbaijani rice (pilau) with saffron in casserole dishes and offer three different selections ; saffron rice with sultanas, saffron rice with lentils and barberry, and saffron rice with dill. The stews on offer are a traditional Azerbaijani lamb stew with chestnuts, dried apricots, sultanas and dried yellow plum; a vegetarian stew with chestnuts, dried apricots, sultanas and dried yellow plum; and a chicken stew with mountain thyme from the Caucasus Mountains dales. Azerbaijani lamb shanks are slow-cooked in a casserole dish without any spices and seasoned with rock-salt and black pepper only until they are tender.

tea in a pot at shafran

Shafran also offers an unusual soup. Dovga is a hot soup made with a mix of greens (normally parsley, spinach, coriander and mint) and rice, simmered in Azerbaijani style yoghurt. Dovga is a very healthy soup, served normally hot in winter and cold in summer with a slice of bread. It is suitable for diabetics and excellent for a healthy diet.

"Because of premises licence limitations we do not serve hot food straight from the oven. We can only microwave our food. Saffron, a natural preservative, and the baking process ensure that the Azerbaijani pilau is fresh and delicious after heating up in a microwave. At Shafran we offer the Azerbaijani pilau for eat-in and take-away," they explain.

There are Azerbaijani pastries includig baklava with walnuts and cardamom, shaker-bura with hazelnuts and cardamom, sultana cakes and more. Sandwiches are prepared with ingredients from La Credenza, an artisan food distributor found in the Harrods Food Hall.

They are very proud of their coffee and describe it as "a balance of hazelnut, caramel and cocoa which makes for an unbeatable yet reliable espresso staple." They use organic milk and serve it with complimentary sáble almond cookies.

Azerbaijani loose leaf tea is also a first for Chiswick. This is black spring tea collected in the Talysh Mountains, Azerbaijan once in a year in May, picked before the sunrise to ensure the freshness of the most top leaves. The Azerbaijani spring tea has a distinct ruby colour and is served with a slice of lemon. They serve the spring tea in pots and sell by weight.

Sabina says the new cafe/gourmet shop is attracting a lot of attention with local people and they hope to build up a loyal clientele and good customer base.

January 12, 2018

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