You know how you get one of those small restaurants on a side street that you tend to drive past, think it looks interesting and then completely forget about its existence? So Colbeh is one of them. On a road just off Connaught Street, you would instantly forget about it – well that’s what I thought until we drove past it and saw a small queue of people. Of course, I had to stop and stand in the queue. If there’s a fuss concerning food, especially halal food, I’m there!
After hopping side to side due to the cold, we were allowed to wait inside in which we were also told it would be a ten to fifteen minute wait. The restaurant was busy, full of families and friends out for a casual Friday night dinner, and smelt like freshly baked house bread *drool*. We decided to stroll around the pretty Connaught Street to kill time and after ten minutes of me complaining about doing too much walking exercise, we headed back to the restaurant where we were seated quickly and handed the menus.
Just imagine eating creamy feta cheese squished between crusty, warm naan, crunchy walnuts, and some greens. It doesn’t sound appetising at first but after BW introduced me to it in Alounak, its now become a must order for me at every Persian restaurant. Maybe its just me but the minty, cheesy and crunchy flavour mixture really gets to me every time and I just can’t have enough!
This is a classic yoghurt dip mixed with crushed shallots, and tastes absolutely delicious with the naan and even the main meal! The slight kick comes from the shallots, which are onions, and gives the main dish that little bit of extra flavour.
The best part about the house naan is dunking it into several dips and instead of the standard humous, we decided to be adventurous and order the Mirza Ghasemi. This dish is made up of grilled aubergine all mushed up with tomato and egg. It doesn’t sound that appetising and in my honest opinion, wouldn’t be a dish that I would order again as I found it a bit too bland for my liking. However it did taste great when mixed with the mast-o-mousir – well what doesn’t taste great when mixed with mast-o-mousir!
I thought I would get out of my comfort zone of not eating chicken much and order the Joojeh Kabab. A skewer of boneless chicken breast chunks with a side of rice and a grilled tomato. The chicken came piping hot, soft and succulent. You could taste the charcoal and freshness of the pieces, until it got cold in which it became slightly dry. The rice was fluffy, and tasted so delicious with generous slabs of butter (note the plural!) and sprinkles of sumok.
Two skewers of grilled minced lamb served with hot rice and a grilled tomato. The lamb, just like the chicken, had the fresh chargrilled taste on its outer layer but a soft and tender inside. I consider Alounak to be the King of all Persian restaurants but Colbeh was slowly catching up to them in terms of their Koobideh which tasted just as fresh as Alounak’s.
The overall bill came to approximately £30 (not including service). I left the restaurant feeling full but not uncomfortable meaning plenty of room for dessert! The food was surprisingly good considering it was a small, unknown establishment on a side street in Central London. I never would have thought but this definitely reminded me that these small-scale, quiet restaurants can definitely outdo some of the bigger, well-known and expensive places! Yes, it isn’t as amazing as Alounak but it was definitely a good contender in the running. This is a perfect place to stop by if you’re in the area of Paddington and craving some good ol’ heart-warming and simple Persian food!
Halal status verified by restaurant
Address: 6 Porchester Place, London, W2 2BS
Telephone: 020 7706 4888
Nearest Station: Marble Arch
Parking: Free parking after 6:30pm outside the restaurant and in surrounding area