Many places will tell you that their cuisine is authentic, and Banu at The Colonnade’s Persian food is one of the most honest. Walking past Warwick Avenue the terrace upstairs is the first thing we saw and we knew we were in for a treat, with the summer breeze and delightful atmosphere only adding to the experience. We went down the stairs and found that the interior has no lack of grandeur, with a large space and exquisite décor.
The mezze platter featured Mast-O-Khair which is similar to tzakiki but creamier and I could not get enough of it – the mint and cucumber made it a perfect side to any dish or by itself. Alongside it was the classic chickpea hummus, baba ganoush and roasted red peppers. The starters were a grand feast taking inspiration from North Iran where the food is not too spicy. The most exquisite dish on the table was one that can’t be found elsewhere in London – ash soup. A dish to symbolise good fortune and success, we started our meal off with this delicious mint, vegetable and noodle soup. Its creamy richness comes from the yoghurt curd that only increases the pleasure. It’d be a hit for vegetarians and vegans.
Alongside was the chicken olivieh which featured diced chicken, potato and egg, mixed into a fresh olive oil mayonnaise. It was perfectly seasoned yet simple and I would have happily devoured an extra bowl of it. The kuku sabzi was one dish which was a great new discovery – a baked frittata of eggs and herbs giving the green healthy dish a light feel. No Persian meal can be a meal without the bread, an organic flatbread baked on site to go with each dish.
We managed to save space for mains which were traditional dishes of south Iran. Meats are definitely one of their specialities as well. We were treated to zereshk polo which was a juicy, spiced chicken, with a side of their classic saffron rice which can’t be missed. Together with it, the Colonnade Grill presented a range of succulent and flavoursome meats such as lamb chops, chicken skewers and lamb kebabs all grilled the way you’d do it at home.
A few smaller plates, although equally delicious, were gheimeh bademjan which was a great blend of aubergine and split peas, ghormeh sabzi which mixed lamb and spinach with strong spices, and bamieh which any okra fan would love.
At this point we were thoroughly fed, but there is always room for dessert. The chocolate fondant which is always my go-to, had the balance of a hot melting middle against the cold ice cream. The lemon cheesecake was evidence of real care as it had a great bake to it, with a solid biscuit base which paired together exceptionally. Last, though very far from least, were the homemade vanilla macarons. They were fluffy and delicate, which takes real craftsmanship.
Banu at The Colonnade gives its diners true care and beyond fantastic customer service. Our host took extra time to present each dish to us and ensured we were satisfied. The food is nothing short of great and homely, true to its roots and a rare find in London.
Banu at The Colonnade
2 Warrington Crescent, London, W9 1ER