Tucked in a quiet street just a stone’s throw away from Edgware Road is Colbeh – a popular halal Persian restaurant in London. I’ve heard many good things about the place before but never really had a chance to make a visit until recently. As much as I enjoy Persian food, unfortunately, it’s rather a hit-and-miss situation in London. Having seen many bloggers vouching for Colbeh, whilst I wasn’t expecting an exceptional dining experience, I did have the expectation of it being good.
Colbeh London: No-Fuss Persian Restaurant
Colbeh London has been around since 2001 and has served many loyal customers throughout the years. At the entrance, you’d be greeted with a mosaic oven where the baker works away with freshly baked bread before reaching the small dining area. It is small but cosy if it’s quiet, with various traditional Persian arts adorning the restaurant walls, and a family-run vibe albeit slightly run-down. As for the menu, it is indifferent to other traditional Persian restaurants. You’ll find all the classics, from mezzes to meat grills, as well as traditional stews and the odd biryani options. All meats served are halal at Colbeh.
The Food: What We Ordered:
Date of visit: January 2022
Jujeh Kabab Bakhtiari (£14.90)
I typically opt for the Koobideh at Persian restaurants but was in the mood for chicken on the day. So I ended up with the Jujeh Kabab Bakhtiari, which is a marinated chargrilled whole baby chicken. You get to choose from either a side of rice or salad or bread – needless to say, I went with the rice.
At first sight, the chicken looked great and the portion was generous as well. But we very soon found out that it’s nothing special and a tad bit disappointing in flavour. Apart from the light chargrilled touch on the outside, the chicken was rather underseasoned. Despite describing on the menu to be in a spicy saffron sauce, there was hardly any spice, or flavour whatsoever. The accompanying rice was lightly buttery but also lacked flavour overall and the whole dish just didn’t really taste of anything.
Jujeh Kabab (£12.90)
As for the Jujeh Kabab, unfortunately, it was worse. If the baby chicken was underseasoned, this was just straight up bland. Not only was the chicken plain to taste but it was rather dry too. Same as the above, the rice lacked seasoning too so it was really not enjoyable. We fed it back to the staff and they just offered us some chilli sauce. Whilst it helped a bit, it just wasn’t up to standard. There really isn’t more to say about this dish apart from the utter disappointment we felt.
Persian Tea (£1.50) / Rose Tea (£2)
After the disappointing food, we decided to order some Persian tea and a cup of rose tea before leaving. The Persian tea was okay initially but has got an unpleasant aftertaste after a while and left our mouths feeling rather dry. Same for the rose tea and it lacked a delicate floral flavour. When both teas failed to save our distaste for the food, we decided it was our cue to leave seeing we couldn’t seem to enjoy anything there.
Perhaps long gone are the glorious days for Colbeh London as the food was nowhere near good during our visit. Or it could just be we were that unfortunate with our luck to have encountered such a bad day in the kitchen. For the quality of food received, that was not a reasonable price and not worth the money. As such, based on our experience, we simply could not recommend Colbeh despite what other people say.
Looking for other halal Persian restaurants in London? Check these out too:
All meats served are halal at Colbeh London.
Nearest station: Edgware Road