Beheshte Barin, I'm reliably told, translates from the Persian language (Farsi) into the English word "paradise." We met up with A’s sister and her boyfriend for a meal in Beheste Barin, a new Persian restaurant in London on Thursday night...and you know what... it was like a little bit of paradise in the middle of North London.
It had been a warm very rainy day and it was a lovely way to catch up for supper. Beheshte Barin has only been opened a couple of months and apparently already has queues of people lining up outside at weekends. It was still busy when we met up at 8:30 midweek, I had to wait ages for it to quieten down to take photographs.
It's traditionally decorated in a very quaint style with a really homely, cosy feel. As you walk through the door you're senses are immediately aroused by the sound of gentle Iranian music playing in the background and the trickle of running water from the little fountain that feeds the mosaic lined goldfish pond. Then the smell of fresh bread coming from the clay bread-oven hits you. One of the polite waiters dressed with paisley waistcoat ushers you to your seat...but you just want to look at everything...take it all in. From the huge low hung copper chandelier that casts an ambient glow throughout the room, to the brick sconces housing candlesticks and books and artefacts. I just wanted to touch everything!
Then, when the food came the Doogh, yoghurt drink arrived in a beautiful hand made pitcher accompanied by little cups. The waiters carried plates on trays fashioned out of beaten copper, the sugar bowls and tea warmer and desert bowls, too.
The food reminded me of mama bozorg, my lovely mother-in-law's cooking. She was the best cook ever, her food always tasted like it was made with love, as though lots of time and care had been taken. This was almost as good. The seasoning was spot on...and for me this was the best Persian restaurant food I've tasted to date...Do I always say that?
I can definitely recommend the Zereshk polo baa morgh Persian white rice with barberries served with chicken in a tomato sauce. The berries are tart and tangy in the mild white rice, the chicken cooked with tomato and saffron sauce melts in your mouth. Truly delicious. The others had various kebabs that were also mouth wateringly tender. Starters of Miza Ghasemi dip made with aubergines, tomatoes, eggs and lots of garlic as well as Mast Moosir creamy yoghurt with wild garlic are amazing with bread, fresh from the oven. Finally we had Faludeh, frozen sorbet made with thin rice noodles and rosewater, very refreshing but just a little too sweet for my palate and of course lots of tea whilst we talked away the evening making plans for backgammon marathons...the race is on...best get practising...
It was just perfect. we had an amazing time. Thanks so much S and T
Oh and I can't find a website to link to...they musn't have one yet, but whilst looking I found a lovely blog called "1 teaspoon love" written by a sweet Iranian girl called Sarah who lives in Chicago. So that's another blog I'm now addicted to reading.
So it was win, win...except for the road being closed on the way home and getting back to Oxford after 2am. Wish we'd accepted the invitation to stay over...