"Hana should become a neighbourhood favourite "Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Hana in West Hampstead has been open just 10 days; the owners used to run Orkideh, an Iranian restaurant in Golders Green which is now under new management. The food there was, to use a cliché, “authentic”, in other words true to traditional recipes, rich in flavour and generously portioned, so we’re expecting more of the same here.
It bodes well, as we step in from the cold into a warm, subtly lit restaurant where the smells from the charcoal grill immediately make themselves known. The menu has typical dishes like spinach fried with yoghurt, smoky grilled aubergines, and main courses divided into stews, kebabs and seafood. Moreover the prices are keen, with starters for £3-£4 and mains costing from £8 upwards.
We start with koofteh berenjii, two large meatballs stuffed with split peas, rice and plums, the latter add a deliciously sour tang to the herby minced beef. The salad Olivieh, a variant of Russian salad, has the perfect balance of silky, creamy mayonnaise, briny gherkins, chicken and chopped egg, and every last morsel gets mopped up with hot flatbread.
Fessenjan is a stew made with pomegranate juice and ground walnuts, the sauce should be thick, nutty and rich, with a gentle bittersweet note, and it doesn’t disappoint. There are tender pieces of chicken that have absorbed the stew’s aroma, and heaps of fluffy basmati rice, tinted yellow with saffron.
A mixed kebab of lamb fillet and chicken (ghafgazi) has meat so good it doesn’t need any condiments, even the tasty homemade chilli sauce we’re brought. There is more saffron rice, and two plump grilled tomatoes.
For dessert there’s a fantastically gooey saffron ice cream with pistachios; other options are baghlava and mille feuille.
Like its predecessor, eating at Hana is an immensely pleasurable experience; this should become a local favourite.
Leila reviewed Hana Persian Restaurant on Mon 03 Dec 2012