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SINCE 2000
A Taste of Persia
 
Fully licenced restaurants.
Take away service available.
Party bookings and outside catering taken.

ABOUT US

ABOUT US

Authentic Taste of Persian Cuisine


The Cuisine of Persia is unique and forms the part of a rich cultural experience that has been evolving since Achaemenid times. The ideas of ancient physicians and philosophers aim to combine food and drink in a manner that is integral in maintaining strength in body and mind. Long before Weight watchers, these wise Persians concluded that a good diet did not involve an excess of fat, red meat, starch or alcohol.
The persian philosophy of food also indicates that to maintain a balanced diet 'hot' and 'cold' foods are eaten together. This is still widely adhered to. Yogurt, cheese, radishes and fresh green herbs are all 'cold' and are as common on Persian tables as salt and pepper is in the West. They act as a balance to meats and sweet dishes, which are both 'hot'.
The origins of many dishes are shrouded in its long history of more than three thousand years. Persian cuisine has had a remarkable influence on the cooking of many regions, from ancient Rome and Greece to Mogul India, the muslim world and the Ottoman Empire. Equally it has itself been influenced over the centuries, so that today, despite its alluring exotic air, the cuisine has a warm familiarity.
A Taste of Persia's food can be identified by its sumptuous rice dishes, its intriguing and delicate flavours, and its combination of herbs, saffron, fruits and nuts.

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A Taste of Persia, Newcastle by Jane Hall, The Journal

PERSIA sounds so exotic to me. My boyhood notion of what it was like came from images from the Arabian Nights merged in a luscious blend with camel caravans, date palm oases and the mysteries of the harem, best viewed through a gauzy film.

All this, of course, is hopelessly inaccurate and a horrible mishmash of cultures, but I’m happy in my ignorance. I set aside the grim contemporary facts about life in Iran, the modern-day name for Persia, and hold on tenaciously to my blissfully naive notions in a glorious celebration of this ancient culture.

It was with those pictures in mind that we decided to go to A Taste of Persia in Newcastle. One of the first things that struck me as I sat down, was the tapestry of Persia’s version of the Girl with the Pearl Earring, only this lovely young woman had a rich Bedouin-style head wrap and two very ornate gold earrings. Her sultry eyes gazed down on the room and the floating background music created just the right feel for a person who wants to bathe in idealised imagery.

The menu confirmed my views about Persian cuisine with dishes whose names were so musical they could have been lifted from any of the 1001 nights. We made our choices, were complimented by the affable waitress on our pronunciation and settled back with a couple of very non-Eastern beers to wait for the delights to flow.

Although it is the custom in Persia to have only one course, the restaurant went with local expectations and offered three. Our first ones of dolmeh and salad-e shirazi got things going very well. The dolmeh were five, dark green, glossy vine leaf parcels of minty rice glazed with herby oil dressing. They were piping hot and deeply satisfying. The salad brought together fresh, finely-diced cucumber, tomato and gentle onion with a fragrant dressing. This refreshing combination of summery ingredients created a contrast with the rich dishes that followed.

First up was a huge crispy naan bread sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds. It was so huge and fresh you could almost hear the seeds still popping. Next to it sat a plate of pretty white and saffron yellow rice. Both the naan and the rice were there for one purpose, to manage the rich sauce in the gormeh sabzi and delicious juices that trickled out of the lamb fillet and chicken breast in the bakhtiari. The gormeh sabzi may have only been a small dish in size, but the intensity of the herb and dried lime sauce surrounding the lamb and black-eyed beans gave it giant-like dimensions.

The bakhtiari was a very different, kebab-style dish with chunks of buttery chicken and the softest imaginable lamb alternating across the plate. Two huge roasted tomatoes, a wedge of lemon and spray of flat leaf parsley offered other taste combinations. It was so simple and yet so effective.

Desserts are not a big part of Persian food but the fig delight was just that. A small pool of creamed rice flour supported three baby figs and a walnut with sugar syrup and crushed pistachios scattered around. The baclava was a delicious diamond of crunchy, honey-coated pastry filled to the gunwales with crushed nuts and spices.

The idea when eating in the Middle East is to have just enough and leave the table feeling replete but not overfull. We hit the mark squarely, felt very satisfied with what we’d had and knew that returning would be a good idea, so we could savour more Persian delights.

Address: 14 Marlborough Crescent, Newcastle Tel: (0191) 221-0088
Open: Monday-Saturday 12 noon-11pm
Where is it? Down the side of the Centre for Life.

First impressions: No frills cafe.
Welcome: Super – warm and helpful.
Style, design and furnishings: Arabic art and lanterns set the scene. Blue, red and gold fabric on upholstered divan seats. Blond wood chairs and tables. Mix of cafe and casbah.
Cuisine: Persian.
Wine: A bottle of Grolsch and a bottle of San Miguel, £5
Service: Friendly and attentive. The waitress had a delightful combination of natural charm and efficiency.
Value: Fantastic value at £30.80. You can’t eat better for less anywhere in the city centre.
Parking: On the street outside and in multi-storeys nearby.
Disabled facilities: Not accessible.

Date: 9 May 2008

A Taste Of Persia, Newcastle by Liz Lamb, Evening Chronicle

14 Marlborough Crescent, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EE
Tel: (0191) 221 0088
www.atasteofpersia.com

WHAT on earth is Persian food? my friend asked in puzzlement when I told her we were going to eat at one of Newcastle’s best-kept secrets.
I had no idea, but I’d heard encouraging things about A Taste of Persia.

The restaurant has been in the city since 2000 but it has relied on word of mouth rather than publicity and marketing drives to win its reputation for tasty and alternative dishes.

Excited by the thought of giving my tastebuds a new experience, we decided to drop in on the way to a concert at Metro Radio Arena on a quiet Tuesday evening.

For those not in the know, the restaurant would be easy to miss thanks to its unassuming exterior. Inside is pretty much the same.

Set over two floors, it is more like a cafe than a restaurant and there is nothing flash about this place.

Aside from the odd tapestry or decorative mirror the place is a tad dull, but thankfully the food is anything but.

Perusing the menu we found plenty of dishes that sounded divine.

Delights include Persian-style soup, chargrilled lamp chops, Persian stew and minced lamb served on a skewer.

My friend lives in Greece so she was pleased to see the inclusion of popular Greek dishes such as stuffed vine leaves and the famous Greek salad.

For starters we opted for a Persian-style naan, which is a much thinner bread than that used in Indian cuisine, on to which we scooped generous helpings of hummus.

The dip is not unlike the Greek version, but it definitely has a Persian twist.

We also sampled borani esfanaj, a yogurt dip with steamed spinach leaves, which was delicious and a good accompaniment.

For my main meal I tucked in to barg, which is thin slices of lamb fillet, chargrilled and presented on a skewer, with polow rice.

The meat was tender and slipped off the skewer with ease.

Unfortunately my friend’s sea bass arrived fried when she’d requested it grilled and she only managed a few mouthfuls before abandoning her meal in favour of a glass of wine.

Always a good option when your order is wrong.

We didn’t kick up a fuss but we were pleased when the waitress told us we would not be charged for the dish – a good example of excellent service.

There was no time for desserts but offerings include baklava, mango sorbet and traditional saffron and rosewater flavoured ice cream.

One of the best things about A Taste of Persia is that it is cheap.

Starters are priced at around £2 and mains are between £6 and £8.

But it is the food that really sells this place.

Though I’m still no expert on Persian cooking I’m a little more informed than I was before visiting here.

Apparently it dates back 3,000 years and has strongly influenced cooking in other cultures.

So, if you’d like to know more about dishes that influenced your favourite Greek or Indian dish, then this is a restaurant for you.

LIZ LAMB

OUR ORDER
STARTERS
Naan £1.50
Hummus £2
Borani Esfanaj £1.80
MAINS
BARG £8
DRINKS
Bottle of Frascati £13.95

Date: 11 January 2008

A Taste of Persia by Geoff Laws, The Journal

A Taste of Persia
14 Marlborough Crescent
Newcastle
Tel: (0191) 221-0088
Web: www.atasteofpersia.com
Open Monday-Saturday noon-11pm; Sunday 1pm-9pm

Some places you walk into and straightaway you know something good is going on.

Taste of Persia in Marlborough Crescent, Newcastle, is one of those. If you were to ask me what it was that gave that feeling, I'd struggle to answer.

It doesn't have a glitzy sign. The décor, while tasteful, is nothing special but - a biggish but - there is something in the atmosphere that creates a welcoming, relaxed warmth.

It's the je ne sais quoi factor, which I'll leave you to unravel.

So, here we are. It's early on Friday evening and already almost all the tables downstairs are full. Slim-hipped waiters slip easily between the chairs, balancing trays of drinks, steaming plates of saffron rice, shishlik and the like.

The hubbub of conversation and rippling music creates a rounded tone as our waiter, Mohammad, welcomes us and offers a table upstairs. Mohammad presents the menus and leaves us to contemplate. It's my first chance to take in what's happening here. The ochre walls with richly-patterned rugs, tapestries and decorative mirrors establish the cultural base. Banquettes, alternately upholstered in red and blue with gold stars, edge the room.

Modern wood tables with black inlay and functional chairs pull the traditional into the 21st Century. The cheerful waiters are chatting with customers, delivering and clearing plates, happy in their tasks. Maybe that's one of the elements, a general air of contentment. Who knows? Perhaps the food will give the answer and, with that in mind, we choose several sharing dishes to start.

A Persian-style nan as the vehicle for Kashk Bademjan, (roasted aubergine with creamy buttermilk, garlic and mint), and some Dolmeh. I think some freshening Greek salad with feta and black olives will add balancing contrast.

Mohammad advises us not to order any more as we will find this and our main dishes very filling. The few remaining tables fill, some for the second time.

Luckily, the bottle of Jacob's Creek Shiraz arrives. Jacob is a good old friend. His oaky smoked, well-rounded body always sets a deliciously mellow tone to the conversation. His deep, ruby fruitiness sits well with spicy, rich meats and sauces, so he is the perfect guest.

The starters arrive. Half a dozen Dolmeh, glistening with aromatic oil, snuggle on a dish. The deep green vine leaves wrap the sticky, minted rice, which holds faint traces of lemon and herbs. It's a firm favourite with herself and she is not disappointed.

The nan, a slender version of its Indian cousin, is fresh from the oven and its bubbled surface and bready crust cover the large dish. It's the perfect foil to the super-rich aubergine mix, a delicious bazaar of flavours.

The crisp salad refreshes the palate and everything does the disappearing trick - except the stalwart Jacob who keeps going.

The main course menu is heavily tilted towards lamb. It comes in stews, variously with beans, lime, aubergine or okra, and in chargrilled form, which is what I'm having tonight. A generous, plateful of tender lamb fillet. The deep, fat-rich meaty flavour gently rises through the pungent spices and reminds me how subtle and adaptable lamb is.

It is escorted by two, large roasted tomatoes, the red globes adding blobs of warming colour. A flurry of snowy Basmati, topped with a trail of saffron-coloured rice, curves along the outer edge of the dish. Simple and very satisfying.

My companion is enjoying Fesenjan, a chicken dish with pomegranate and walnut sauce with a hint of sweetness. She is intrigued by the complexity of flavours and delighted when Fesenjan materialises as a bowl of generous chunks of chicken in a chocolate brown sauce with a texture like liquid suede.

It is deliciously savoury with a thread of nutty sweetness. The same white-gold rice combination comes as standard and the whole thing works very well.

I glance around and I'm struck by the mix of diners. Groups of young people, older couples relaxing together, earnest students, friends and family. It's a cross-section of all ages and nations. A template for a happier world.

Moving on towards dessert, home-made Baklava is an obvious choice and Mint parfait carries on one of the flavour themes. Mohammad recommends mint tea with the Baklava and he is not wrong. The honey-sweet nuts and filo confection benefits from some respite for the taste buds and the tea provides that balance. The parfait is a concession to public demand for a range of desserts. It's all right but it's not from this kitchen and it shows.

Now, and this is the final bit of magic, if we take off Jacob's tab of almost £16, the bill for all this food and friendliness is only £30. How do they do it? I'll leave you to be the judge.

Date: 4 May 2005

A Taste Sensation

Taste of Persia has sat, completely unassumingly, for the last five years without any hoo-ha or fanfare, press releases or marketing.

Yet, here, I enjoyed one of the best meals out in absolutely ages.

Why? Because the place lets the food take centre stage, rather than the lighting or napkins - and, nowadays, that's too rare for comfort.

OK, if you're an interiors junkie, you're definitely not going to get your fix here. There's nothing at all flash to look at; set over two floors, it's all very bog standard, with only the gilt samovar (which keeps the water hot for persian tea) lifting the room. But the food really is something else.

Metro Page 23 - Wednesday February 9, 2005
Essential guide to dining out

Date: 9 February 2005

Adventures in the East

It was Friday, and we couldn't be bothered to cook, so instead we headed to the Taste of Persia in the centre of Newcastle...(which has the best blue perspex chairs I've ever come across, and two rather fierce-looking goldfish crossly circulating in a bowl). I couldn't claim to be an expert on Persian food, but it was fantastic - huge flat breads, sprinkled with sesame seeds, herb and feta salad, an amazing aubergine and scrambled egg dip - and that was just for starters. If you're a fan of aromatic, subtle food then go try!

ExplodingChef
The weird and wonderful world of cooking

Date: 22 March 2004

A Taste of Persia, Living North, Winter 2003

Please don't tell George Dubya, but Living North's intrepid reviewers not only spent an evening in an ethnic restaurant of one of his named 'Axis of Terror' countries but also thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The 'Taste of Persia' is of course an Iranian restaurant of which there are not many in the North East, and more's the pitty if the excellence of the food on offer here is any guide.

Persian cuisine is famed for its delicate flavours, resulting from the subtle mix of herbs, fruits and saffron. Given its exotic reputation, Iranian food is surprisingly familiar, being based mainly on chargrilled

marinated lamb and chicken dishes and lightly spiced stews, all served with nan bread or rice. How ever, just to help those who might be a little nervous about trying something new, the twelve starter dishes, eight grill and eight stews on the menu are fully described and illustrated.

This is of course, most helpful, but my firm recommendation for two or more is to take one of the set meals.

The prices at 'A Taste of Persia' are in themselves enough to make one drool, averaging £2.00 for a starter, £6.00 for a stew and £7.00 for a grill, but the set dishes provide unbelievable value. A meal for four costs just £45.00, and for just above a tenner each you can each have all of the following dishes in positively gargantuan portions. For starters there is Mirza Ghasemi (an aubergine dip), Dolmeh (stuffed vine leaves) and Mast-o-khiar (Yoghurt dip with finely diced cucumber and mint), all served with a pillow of the lightest nan bread.
This is followed by six main courses comprising as much as you can eat of koobideh (the classic chargrilled skewered minced lamb), Barg (tender thin slices of chargrilled lamb fillet), Joojeh (marinated and chargrilled pieces of chicken), Ghormeh sabzi (the classic Persian stew of lamb, beans and lime), Gheymeh (a lamb variation with split peas) and Zeresh polow ba Morgh (a chicken stew) all served with the most delicate saffron scented fluffy rice.

If all of this hasn't filled you to bursting, there is Persian saffron ice-cream or various fruit sorbets flavoured with rose water to follow and , of course, Persian tea from a genuine samovar.

This is seriously good food, and Living North is clearly not alone in this view; 'A Taste of Persia' is increasingly being invited to cater for private functions.
Abdollah Dehaty (Buke), its proprietor, showed me an impressive list for the coming month, all as a result of word of mouth recommendation; indeed it was sampling 'A Taste of Persia' at a friend's birthday bash for 150 guests, which had prompted this visit to the restaurant.

It will not be the last. On a saturday night we were able to park directly outside the front door, ('A Taste of Persia' is located on Marlborough Crescent, directly opposite the Centre for Life), and a warm welcome awaited us with in from Buke and his friend staff. The decor is bright and modern with beech tables, chairs and flooring and the atmosphere is lively with a mix of nationalities. A touch of the exotic is provided by hubble-bubble pipes which can be brought to your table. I am a cofirmed anti-smoker, but even I have to admit that the waft of perfumed tobacco was really quite pleasant and complemented the excellent Italian wine and Peroni beer which we had with the meal.

We rounded our evening off by settling the world's problems with Buke, who joined us at our table. On second thoughts, perhaps President Bush should be told about 'A taste of Persia' and encouraged to take a break from T bone steaks and sample its delights. In this civilised and friendly environment he would find it difficult not to lose a few of his prejudices and make some new friends.

Living North, Winter 2003
Eating Out, A Taste of Persia

Date: 1 December 2003

A Taste of Persia, The Times Saturday October 19 2002

"A Taste of Persia"
Newcastle upon Tyne

Sunday morning is a fine time to explore the quays, bridges and Victorian buildings of Newcastle's city centre. There is no traffic. Every body has gone home. It is the morning after the night before.
A bar owner is hosing down the pavement outside his premises. I am assured that the Saturday-night revellers throwing up on the quayside are, in fact, clubbers from the Home Counties on cheap weekend deals.

These days real Geordies head to the coast, to Whitely Bay. The whole boozy cycle will wind up again on Sunday night, but at lunchtime it is hard to find anywhere open, let alone a party mood.

A notable exception is A Taste of Persia, since Sunday lunchtime is when Iranian families visit from as far afield as Manchester and Glasgow for a taste of home and noisily fill up both floors. Book it or be there when it opens at noon. It is fun, friendly, delicious, unusual and fantastic family value. The bar groans under the weight of CDs and videocassettes of Iranian music. There is a gilt samovar, hubble-bubble pipes, and a framed council minute from 1899 of the civic arrangements for the visit of the shah of Persia to Newcastle.

The excitable artwork is by one of their regulars, an English pensioner. The music is equally melodramatic. According to Margaret Shaida's award-wining book the legendary Cuisine of Persia, Iranian meals should be served with all the dishes simultaneously spread out for everyone to taste. We duly tasted, tried and swapped everything.

From the starter list (all under £2) came stuffed vine leaves, a yoghurt and cucumber dip similar to Indian raita and, best of all, kashk-e bademjan, a soft pate of aubergine, onions and kashk- dried buttermilk reconstituted with water to make a distinctive and lovely sour cream sauce. It was served with a large round pillow of fresh, warm nan bread. All vegetarian, all excellent.

The main courses are heavy, with stews cooked with dried lime, saffron and barberries and grilled meats, mainly lamb, all large servings and all under £7.

We had to try fesenjan, the famous Persian stew made with walnuts and pomegranate syrup, according to the menu. Its powerhouse sauce was thick and grainy from the walnuts and sweet from the pomegranate.. The chicken was almost incidental. Plain boiled rice neatly deflected the richness of the stew.

The lamb and potato stew was equally big-flavoured with tomato and onion. Our other rices were fine, speckled with dill, but it was hard to detect the promised broad beans.

Two char-grilled dishes completed the ensemble and were preferred by our daughter Eleaner. Chicken pieces marinated in saffron were tender and tasty, but were forgotten once she tried the minced lamb kebab. It was instantly claimed as her own and devoured with gusto.

She was less enthusiastic about sumac, the little dish of red granules made from the sumac shrub found across the Middle East, which is sprinkled on grilled meats for the sour trademark kick of Persian cuisine.

While Dad made an unnecessary spectacle of himself on a Hubble-bubble pipe (£2.50 for apple-scented charcoal, £1.25 when you soon give up), we had bastani, Persian-style ice-cream flavoured with saffron and pistachio and made with salep-dried orchid root that is used in Iran as a thickener to make it smooth and elastic. We finished with warming cups of fragrant Persian tea. They also do a French version of Persian wine by the bottle.

It is a family operation. The Dehatys came from North-western Iran in 1978. They ran a flourishing pizza joint across the road and this was to have been another, But Abdollah(Buke) and his chef couldn't resist cooking Iranian. The one sadness is that the new generation of Iranian refugees, even with main courses at £5.50, still can't afford a taste of Persia.

Jill Turton
A Taste of Persia
14 Marlborough Crescent,
Newcastle upon Tyne
0191-2210088
Price: £42 for four

Date: 19 October 2002
 
 
 

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Please fill out our on-line form or alternatively, give us a call on 0191 2210088 for city centre branch or 0191 2818181 for Jesmond.