September 4, 2013 by Sarah Rippon
Just off the main stretch of West Hampstead bars and restaurants you’ll find Hana, a restaurant serving authentic Persian cuisine.
With two tables on the terrace and only a small selection of tables inside you’ll be lucky to find a table on a weekend evening. The atmosphere is relaxed and the service is spot on, it’s definitely a favourite for the local residents.
Sitting on the balcony with a glass of crisp white we enjoyed a selection of starters which included; Mast va Khair, Borani spinach, Mirza Ghassemi, Kashke Bademjan and Dezfouli salad. Translated this consisted of a choice of hot and cold ‘dips’ comprising thick yoghurt with fresh and dried mint, raisin, walnuts and cucumber; a thick yoghurt with pan fried baby spinach, fried onions and garlic; grilled smoked aubergines with free range eggs, tomato and garlic; grilled aubergine with dried mint, soured yoghurt, fried onions and walnuts; and a salad of fresh pomegranate, cucumbers, dried mint, angelica powder and lemon juice. These were accompanied by homemade organic brown and white flour flatbreads cooked in their own tandoor.
The flat bread was light and crispy, combined with the delicately flavoured yoghurts, teamed with the sweet and sour freshness of the pomegranate salad this made for the perfect starter.
It was difficult to choose a main course but not through lack of choice. I always find it hard to pick main courses in a Middle Eastern restaurant. There’s always the stew or skewers, chicken or lamb dilemma. I can’t make a decision at the best of times particularly when faced with a decent menu. On this occasion I went with skewers (because my partner ordered the stew). *Rule number one when eating out as a couple ensure you convince your other half to order your 2nd choice, it’s a win-win, food envy restrainer! Our main courses were Baghali Polow (slow cooked Lamb Shank served with herbed saffron rice and broad beans) and Momtaz (one skewer of marinated boneless chicken and one skewer of minced lamb served with saffron rice, salad and grilled tomato). As simple as they sound the meat was cooked to precision, the herbs and spices were perfectly blended and the rice couldn’t have been tastier.
With so many delightful sounding dishes on the menu which also includes specialities, seafood and vegetarian options, as well as the charcoal grill and Persian stews, we had to go back. We took our flatmates who enjoyed it just as much, particularly the sharing starter and mixed grill! Hana is definitely worth a visit or as in our case 4 (so far!)
*tip ask for the homemade chilli sauce to go alongside your skewers, its hot but has a hint of mint, delicious!
351 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1 LT