Alounak

Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 4158
Address: 44 Westbourne Grove, London W2
Cuisine Type: Persian
nearest tube station Bayswater (CIRCLE, DISTRICT), Queensway (CENTRAL), Royal Oak (HAMMERSMITH & CITY)

This little restaurant is so popular that it was already full early on Friday evening so we had to queue, watching taftoon bread being made in the special oven by the door.

But it is not hard to see why this is one of the most popular eateries along a road that is saturated with restaurants. A mixed starter (£8.40) of Mirza Ghassemi (chargrilled aubergine, garlic and tomato), Halim Bademjam (mashed chargrilled aubergine, fried onion, herbs, garlic, butter beans and walnuts), Homous, Salad Olivieh (diced chicken breast, potatoes, boiled eggs, pickled cucumber, garden peas and olive oil), olives and mixed pickles arrived on a huge platter and was so rapidly devoured, every last speck mopped up with the freshly-made taftoon bread we saw being baked earlier, that we ordered another.

The staple mains are Persian kebabs, served with fragrant, fluffy rice. Whatever you order, from the skewers of lamb fillet, minced lamb or chicken, the meat is unbelievably tender and beautifully marinated and flavoured. There is a dish of the day for each day of the week. Friday?s Chelo Khoresh Ghormeh Sabzi (£7.20), comprising lamb, kidney beans and dried lemons cooked in a sauce of finely chopped fresh herbs, was tasty but I would recommend sticking to the kebabs.

Try the Iranian tea that comes in decorative pots and cups – its distinctive fragrance is particularly soothing after a satisfying meal.

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