"Sparkly Iranian restaurant in Willesden"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
This restaurant, with its brightly decorated façade stands out on the otherwise barren Willesden High Road. Inside is a large, sparkly dining room, somewhat more glamorous than the surroundings would suggest, with glistening chandeliers and neatly arranged tables. It’s clearly not the ideal setting for a relaxing tete-a-tete, as the illuminations are more suitable for chatty groups of friends, however a nice touch is the partially exposed kitchen, making it possible to spy on the chef as he readies the food.
The menu is mostly Persian, with a small selection of Afghan dishes. Alcohol is not sold, instead doogh, a salty yoghurt and mint drink similar to Indian lassi is available. The salad olivieh is a rich potato salad with carrots, peas and chicken, smothered in mayonnaise and with chopped up gherkins adding brininess. Slices of baked aubergine in tomato are presented as a decent substitute for the spinach and yogurt dip, which sadly isn’t available; both starters are eaten with warm seeded flatbread.
The marinated chicken pieces on a skewer are lemony and flavoursome; the grilled lamb steak on the other hand is a little more bland but not wholly unsatisfying. Khoresh bamieh, a hearty slow-cooked stew of okra, lime juice and tomato is hungrily finished with a mountain of saffron rice. Desserts available include Persian ice cream and falloudeh, frozen thin noodles flavoured with rose water and sugar, however the generosity of the main courses means there is little room for anything other than a refreshing melon and strawberry platter.
With starters averaging £3 and most of the mains being under a tenner, The Rose Garden offers wholesome Persian cuisine at very affordable prices. Worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Leila reviewed The Rose Garden on Sat 12 Feb 2011