Friends of ours who share our love of Middle Eastern cuisine have been wanting for a long time to try Shiraz, Bristol’s only Persian restaurant in Hotwell Road.
The opportunity for the four of us to go there arose last weekend when Bristol and the rest of the country basked in glorious warm sunshine.
We arrived for our table at 8 pm on possibly the warmest evening of the year so far and the waitress offered us a table outside in the garden, which we gladly accepted. We didn’t want to miss a rare opportunity to eat al fresco in the evening in England.
Whilst there were other tables in the garden, ours was one of just two tables cosily positioned under an open-fronted marquee-like tent at the far end of the narrow garden.
We all thought the set menus looked interesting and particularly good value, so we ordered the set meal for a minimum of four people at £17.95 per person.
The starters were served Mezze style and were:-
- Hoummous – Pureed chick peas, garlic, fresh lemon juice and olive oil and familiar to any lover of Greek or Middle Eastern food. This seemed more delicate and mild tasting than many we have had previously. Great for mopping up with the bread.;
- Mast I khiar – Chopped cucumber and mint in home-made yoghurt. Quite like a raita really;
- Dolmeh – Vine leaves stuffed with rice and aromatic herbs. Known as Dolmades in Greek cuisine and served warm;
- Chicken wings – Coated in garlic and parsley dressing. Pleasant but unremarkable;
- Mirza ghassemi – Grilled aubergine, garlic, onion, egg and tomato. Another tasty warm starter that went well with the bread;
- Bread – lovely light flat bread and perfect for dipping into the Hoummous and the Mirza ghassemi.
Our mains were served on two serving platters for each couple; one contained four nicely-presented skewers of Koubideh and two of Jouheh. The other platter contained huge piles of saffron and boiled rice with salad.
The Koubideh kebabs are minced lamb similar to shish koftas and were subtly spiced and tender. The Jouheh is a skewer of filleted chicken marinated in onion, garlic, tomato, lemon juice and saffron. These were melt in the mouth and had a delightfully delicate but distinctive flavour.
We accompanied the main course with a couple of bottles of Los Gansos Shiraz Concho y Toro. This full bodied Chilean red delivered black fruits with spice and pepper that complemented the meal very well.
We finished with a selection of Persian baghlava & sweets that were moist and rich but didn’t have that cloying sweetness that we have sometimes found.
We all agreed it was a thoroughly enjoyable meal that was enhanced by being able to enjoy the atmosphere of eating outside. Mind you we didn’t get to see the belly dancer who was performing for diners inside!
Find Shiraz Persian Restaurant on the Bristol Bites Directory…
Review by Martin Boulton from www.foodwithdrink.co.uk