Simurgh

Tel: +44 (0)20 7240 7811
Address: 17 Garrick Street, London WC2E 9BL
Cuisine Type: Persian
nearest tube station Covent Garden (PICCADILLY)

When I met up with a vegetarian friend recently we decided to go to a Persian restaurant in Covent Garden – after all Middle Eastern food tends to be vegetarian-friendly. The menu, consisting of stews and char-grilled dishes, offered all we had hoped for with plenty of dips, salads and vegetable dishes as well as making use of Mediterranean ingredients such as Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar.

The restaurant itself is not particularly large and the décor is unintrusive. When the enigmatic waiter came to serve us, he was very keen to guide us through the menu, deterring me from ordering Lavash (Iranian flat bread), as it would not complement my starter, and commenting on the merits of each dish we chose. (Starters £1 – £5.95)

The hummus had a smooth, lemony flavour, making it light and tasty – a perfect accompaniment for the paper-thin flat bread. The falafel could have done with a few more spices, though. I chose rocket and fried haloumi served with balsamic vinegar as a starter. The cheese was slightly too greasy but the pepperiness of the rocket, combined with the sweet and sour of the vinegar, cut through the saltiness to create a well-balanced dish.

Main courses (£10.95 – £14.95) are all served with a large portion of salad and rice. I chose Platonic Fish – a whole deep fried trout served with pomegranate and walnut sauce, citrus fruit, lentil and saffron rice. Despite the exotic sound of the dish it was rather bland. The trout was well cooked but the sauce was too sweet and the rice had very little flavour. Even when liberally seasoned and doused in lemon juice the dish was uninspiring. Unfortunately my friend’s choice was no better. The lemon mushrooms she ordered were overcooked and slimy, while the sauce was too pungent.

However, just as we were finishing off our bottle of Sauvignon Semillon (wine £12.95 – £29.95) our sombre mood was transformed by the arrival of a belly dancer. She successfully made up for the food with a completely mesmerising act and managed to put a smile back on our faces. We still didn’t fancy trying out the desserts though (£3.50-£4.50).

The meal came to £56 and I was charged for the Lavash that I was persuaded not to order…

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