Monday, 2 January 2012

Safran, Leeds

Safran is one of a handful of Persian restaurants in West Yorkshire. It seems to be well thought of so a few friends and I went to give it a try when we met up between Christmas and New Year.

The menu is almost identical to that in every other Persian restaurant I've been to (which number about four). Think salads and dips with flat bread to start, then either kebabs or stews with buttery rice to follow.

As we were six we ordered everything to share. Two mixed platters of dips and bread followed by a mixed kebab for five plus a bonus kebab to make up the numbers. The dips were a mixed bag, yoghurt with shallots (mast-o-musir) was excellent as was a tomatoey one whose name escapes me.

The hummus wasn't great though, being a little bland with a slightly strange gluey texture. I'm probably a harsh critic when it comes to hummus these days though, having feasted on so much of the good stuff in the Middle East back in October. Everyone else seemed to think it was fine.

The bread, as expected, was outstanding. It always is in Persian restaurants. It's called taftoon, and is sort of like a very thin, light naan with a wonderful bubbled up crust. We ordered more.

The grilled meat was all decent stuff. I didn't get a photo of the super-kebab before the gannets descended, so you'll have to make do with the bonus kebab (we didn't get chips with the rest, we have some decorum). The kebab koobideh, minced lamb and beef, was best as there was plenty of fat in the mix so it was lovely and juicy.

All of the other cuts tasted fine, they were delicately seasoned but ever so slightly overcooked. We ordered extra tomato dip to lubricate things a little, which worked a treat with the meat and the sweet grilled onions that were also included on the platter.

Service was fine throughout, we just had the one waitress who was efficient and not the least bit fazed by our constant demands for bread, and sauces, and dips, and bottle openers, and glasses, and so on. Safran is unlicensed but you can bring your own and they don't charge for corkage. We paid £13 each including a decent tip. I'd like to return to give the stewed dishes a try.


Safran Persian Restaurant
81 Kirkgate

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