There is no secret that I love very much the Persian food, and although I took some cooking classes trying to learn its secrets, I am still (very) far away from preparing completely on my own a full delicious successful menu. For people like me, there are restaurants that could offer me not only inspiration, but also a traditional good meal. Recently, I had a long evening stop at Persepolis, situated mid-way to U-Bahn stations Nollendorfplatz and Kurfurstenstrasse. The place has many big tables, and also a separate place for smokers so theoretically you don't need a reservation in advance. The menu, extended on a couple of pages, is traditional, with an addition of Shiraz wines - but from California. The service is very fast and welcoming, ready to help you with information in case you don't know what you can expect on your dish.
As a started, it was not difficult to make a choice: dolmah berg, stuffed grape leaves with rice and herbs, on a plate with cucumber pickles, fresh tomatoes and olives covered in spices. Tasted together, it was an aromated combination, with fresh taste brought by the tomatoes at the room temperature, but found the stuffed grape leaves a bit too sour.
Luckily, I was able to cut the sourness with the help of the special yoghurt brought from the house. And it was not the usual plain yoghurt, but with added spices, pistachio and raisins. The flat bread was brought a bit warm, a very inspired choice. Dipping the dolmah into the yoghurt and tasting every bit with the force of all senses was a pleasant hobby for the following minutes.
As a drink, I decided for a very unusual saffron tea, which kept the perfume of my favourite spice, but with a very neutral taste, a good help for my next meal choice. The very quiet traditional music and the colourful walls, representing various historical episodes created a quiet ambiance for continuing the late dinner.
The traditional Persian cuisine uses a lot of meat, including lamb, but I was set for something exclusively vegetarian. One of my big disappointments in the kitchen by now is the failure to prepare a genuine Persian rice and thus, every time I am in a Persian restaurant, I know I should order it just hoping that by tasting it the knowledge of preparing it can be also transmitted.
This time, my choice was very generous and complex: green peek, saffron, raisins, onions, dates, on a bed of spicy tomato sauce and fried slices of eggplant. The oil was there too, although in moderate proportions. The diversity of tasted and the switch between sweet - or very sweet in the case of dates - and salty - like for the eggplant was sometimes surprising. When everything was too sweet, I had the spiced tomatoes to cut it. When I wanted something more nutritious, I had the peek.
But the portion was anyway huge - so no sweets this time for me - but was offered the possibility to take away the rests, for more enjoyment of the secrets of the Persian rice. Take-away is also possible for full menus at Persepolis.
With so many delicious moments spent there, I left trying to figure out when I will be able to offer myself another pleasant Persian meal. Most probably, a new review will come up soon!