*header photo credits to Berenjak
The restaurant, Berenjak, pays tribute to Kian’s Iranian heritage and aims to reinterpret the classic hole-in-the-wall eateries in Tehran. Its interior definitely reflects that concept. Walking into the restaurant, it’s very busy and quite compact in space. There’s almost that dingy street vendor style – a bit dim in lighting, brick walls, a loud open kitchen lined with kitchen counter tables, and a couple of booths compactly lined against the wall. Nevertheless, there’re also hints of sophistication in there, especially with their marble and bronze tables and comfy sofa seats by the booths. In addition, if you walk further in, there’s a nice cosy dining space lined with Persian rugs and an earthy-toned decor.
To be frank, I did find the restaurant too loud at first (we were by the booths at the front). So I was hoping to get our table switched to the dining room at the back. However, that wasn’t successful since those tables at the back were designed for two people and we’re a group of three. Anyhow, as soon as food started to arrive, the food has definitely taken up all our attention for how good it was and we didn’t even mind the loudness for a single bit anymore!
The Food at Berenjak
As mentioned, Berenjak specialises in Persian cuisine. The menu features plenty of classic appetizer dishes, as well as a range of kebabs and side dishes. Chicken and lamb are halal.
Here is what we ordered:
Hummus (£5) & Sangak (£1.75)
To start with, we got some hummus and flatbread. Their hummus was made with black chickpeas, tahini, walnuts, and sumac. I enjoyed the seasoning and the additional texture coming from the crunchiness of the walnuts. It got an incredibly smooth texture as well and was simply a really good starter!
We wiped the hummus plate clean with two portions of Sangak, i.e. whole wheat flatbread baked on pebbles.
Grills: Barreh Kabab (£18) / Joojeh Kabab (£12.5) / Koobideh Kabab (£11.5)
Out of the three, the Barreh Kabab definitely stood out the most. In fact, I find it one of the most outstanding meat grill dishes I’ve had so far in London! It’s basically grilled lamb rump chunks that are marinated in chilli, tarragon and yoghurt. The meat was packed with so much flavour, accompanied by a beautiful crust on the outside and an incredibly tender and succulent texture on the inside. It was so juicy and simply a sensational dish.
As for the Joojeh Kabab (grilled chicken breasts marinated in saffron, lemon, yoghurt and tomato) and the Koobideh Kabab (minced lamb shoulder with onions and black pepper), both were great and juicy as well. Nonetheless, the Barreh Kabab has definitely stolen all the spotlight!
House Rice (£3)
To pair with all the meats, we ordered a side of House Rice to share as well. One thing I liked most about Persian food is rice! I just love a good saffron rice that’s topped with a good slab of butter.
The rice here at Berenjak also added in Tadig in their house rice, i.e. scorched rice that adds an extra crunchy texture. It was absolutely delightful and I just couldn’t stop refilling my plate with more rice!
Darlish Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich (£6)
Last but not least, we finished up our meat feast with Darlish’s signature Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich!
I’ve had Darlish’s Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich from their pop-up store in Covent Garden back in the summer. At first, I feared for it to be overly sweetened, but Darlish has hit that perfect balance and created this absolutely divine combo.
This one served at Berenjak’s was bigger than those sold at the pop-up. The baklava itself was as heavenly as I remembered. It was perfectly crispy and flakey, with so many layers in it that are laced with a fragrant syrup and little extra crunch from the pistachios. However, I did find the ice cream a bit too icy to start with. Nonetheless, it’s still an absolutely luscious and decadent treat to end the meal with!
London is no short of Persian restaurants but Berenjak has definitely stood out from the crowd and set the bar high. If you’re looking for a good quality grill in Soho, I couldn’t recommend Berenjak more. And please do not leave the place without trying that stunning Barreh Kabab!
Chicken and lamb are halal at Berenjak.
Nearest station: Leicester Square
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